Helper City Works Toward Becoming a Dark Sky Community


Helper City Press Release

“The true joy of a moonlit night is something we no longer understand. Only the men of old, when there were no lights, could understand the true joy of a moonlit night.” –Yasunari Kawabata, Palm-of-the-Hand Stories

Helper City desires to be a dark sky community and improve the environment of the constituents and visitors in a logical, thoughtful manner. The quote above reflects our ever-growing concern of protecting dark skies so moonlight is something we all have an opportunity to enjoy. We are embracing an opportunity to protect our heritage and minimize light pollution, protect citizens from light encroachment and protect the natural environment.

Recently, Helper has undergone significant infrastructural improvements, updating all water and sewer lines throughout the city thanks to a $22 million grant. The city is also host to projects and programs that add economic diversity and activities for the community and we are hopeful to add “Dark Sky Community” to our growing list.

The city has been hard at work with the International Dark Sky Association regarding steps to protect dark sky environments. This effort has been underway in Helper City since its introduction to the Helper Revitalization Community Group in 2017.

Although young in our efforts, we have quickly achieved traction within the community on many levels. During that same time frame, a group of local dark sky enthusiasts decided in support of dark skies to create a club, which is free and available to locals and guests. They organized and selected equipment based on the library grant Helper City won in support of equipment for dark sky viewing. This included purchasing iPads as well as books and telescopes for the club. Once the equipment arrived, this group started organizing events as dictated by the skies themselves.

Helper City has been extremely fortunate in building strategic partnerships, which have assisted us on this dark sky journey. As a rural community without a multitude of resources available to us, we are excited to communicate a budding partnership with the University of Utah.

Helper City is excited to work with leaders Vellachi Ganesan and Kate Magargal, who will lead a team of 25 students to Helper the weekend of Feb. 21-23. During their time onsite, they will conduct light readings, provide light reporting to the city for ongoing improvement and conduct a community engagement event. They will obviously be working at night and are incorporating drones to assist in capturing lighting information.

The community and surrounding areas are invited to meet and join the dark skies students on Saturday, Feb. 22 at Gallery Untitled from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. They will present on various topics for 30 or so minutes, take a small break, and then continue to the next one. This will provide the students an opportunity to engage the public, answer questions about dark skies and hone their presentation skills and understanding. Their focus is to engage in dialogue regarding the importance of dark skies and efforts surrounding them. This will also serve to educate the community in a more in-depth fashion regarding this effort.

Helper City is both honored and proud to have this opportunity to work with the university and will work hard to maintain this incredibly strategic relationship for not only today’s dark skies, but tomorrow’s as well.

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