Help Us Be a Steward of Our Night Skies!

Light pollution impacts wildlife, human health, energy, safety, and our night sky.

eagle nebula dark skies

Picture: Eagle Nebula Picture by local resident, Chuck Smith

How You Can Help to Protect Our Dark Skies…

Light pollution affects everybody! The good news is that light pollution, unlike many other forms of pollution, is reversible and each one of us can make a difference. Here are a few easy, practical solutions to combat light pollution locally, nationally, and internationally.

  1. Check the outdoor lighting around your home.

Is it really needed? If not, turn it off! If so, make sure that it’s fully shielded. That means that it’s directing light down on the ground where it’s needed and not up in the sky where it’s not. Bad (unshielded) lighting wastes energy, money and creates unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions.


  1. Talk to your neighbors.

Often folks with bad outdoor lighting just don’t know that it’s a problem. The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) has lots of public outreach materials that you can use to help your community learn why good outdoor lighting is so important, including a guide on how to talk to your neighbors and a new IDA brochure that you can be download or mailed to you.


  1. Become a citizen scientist and help measure light pollution in your community using mobile apps or just your eyes.

No experience necessary! The data that you collect is used by scientists across the globe to better understand the levels and implications of light pollution.


  1. Become a member or supporter of IDA and/or your local community group.

IDA members and supporters are the heart of the organization.  By becoming a member or supporter, you’ll be part of the global family working to protect night skies.


  1. Spread the word to your social media network – starting with sharing the importance of protecting the night sky.

Encourage your friends and family to see the value in our dark skies. Everyone can make a difference! The challenge is getting people to invest in the issue and take action. Anything that you can do to raise public awareness can help.

For more information and to obtain materials on protecting our dark skies, visit the International Dark-Sky Association.

“By darkness the stars are revealed.”

– Evette Carter

Valley County Astronomical Society

If you are a star gazer, interested in our night skies, interested in enhancing and sharing “humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe,” and/or are just a plain ole’ star geezer, please come to our next meeting of the society. Valley County Astronomical Society meetings are scheduled for the fourth Monday of every month from April-October at 5:30 at the Cascade Cultural Arts Center.

To receive program or outing information, please join our email list by contacting Shauna Arnold at or 208-634-6906.

ring nebula dark skies page

Our Team:

  • Provides educational outreach and activity booths
  • Conducts dark sky viewings
  • Organizes Star Parties!
  • Works diligently to protect our dark skies
ring nebula dark skies page

Picture: Ring Nebula Picture by local resident, Chuck Smith

Regional Efforts to Protect
Our Dark Skies as Our Community Grows

We All Play a Role!

The City of Cascade and Valley County have adopted lighting ordinances to protect our dark skies.  In doing so, new developments are required to comply with these standards to ensure our skies remain dark.

For example, a 2022 major housing development along the North Fork of the Payette River is mandated to meet the City of Cascade lighting requirements and will help to minimize the impact of light pollution in our community. 

Additionally, Perpetua Resources (formally Midas Gold) hired a Dark Skies expert to identify opportunities for the company to use dark skies best practices while also protecting worker safety. The smart lighting principles were laid out in the Dark Skies Report, and these will guide the company as they advance the project design.


Furthermore, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation’s Lake Cascade State Park is also doing their part to protect our dark skies.  The park’s visitor center was constructed with exterior lighting that meets Valley County’s Dark Sky ordinance.  Exterior building lights are shielded and placed under roof eaves and parking lot lights are also shielded and controlled with timers.  The lighting fixtures can be shut off to accommodate dark sky event/activities.

Stargazing in Idaho and Educational Outreach

Click here for more information about viewing the dark skies in Idaho! 

Central Idaho Dark
Sky Reserve

America’s First Gold-Tier International
Dark Sky Reserve

Craters of the Moon
National Monument

International Dark Sky Park

Bruneau Dunes

College of Southern Idaho
The Centennial Observatory

College of Idaho

Whittenberger Planetarium and
portable planetarium