Story 12: The Beauty of Dark Sky Places

In the this episode of Inside, Out & About we explore the beauty of Dark Sky Places with Ashley Wilson the director of conservation for the International Dark Sky Association (IDA). Last year, the IDA named the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Palos Preserves as the largest Urban Night Sky Place in the world.

Friends’ Executive Director Margaret Frisbie discusses the harmful effects of light pollution with Wilson, particularly for wildlife such as migratory birds and sea turtles whose hatchlings “can get confused about how to get back to the water” by too much light on beachfronts. Wilson also outlines types of light and light pollution such as skyglow – the brightening of the night sky over inhabited areas. The IDA reports that 80 percent of the world’s population lives under light polluted skies. Wilson also talks about steps people can take to reduce outdoor light pollution.

The Palos Preserves is part of the largest area of protected natural land in Cook County, encompassing 6,662 acres. Overall, the Forest Preserves of Cook County, with nearly 70,000 acres, is one of the oldest and largest forest preserve districts in the United States.