The International Dark Sky Association established the International Dark Sky Places Program in 2001 to recognize excellent stewardship of the night sky.
IDSP designations are based on a showing of stringent outdoor lighting standards and innovative community outreach.
An IDSP designation helps enhance the visibility of the designated locations and foster increased tourism and local economic activity.
There are five possible designations:
The International Dark Sky Community designation would be the one applicable to Nantucket (island-wide) if it were able to meet the program's standards.
An International Dark Sky Community is defined by IDA as "a town, city, municipality or other legally organized community that has shown exceptional dedication to the preservation of the night sky through the implementation and enforcement of a quality outdoor lighting ordinance, dark sky education and citizen support of dark skies."
To qualify for this designation, a community must show:
Nantucket is definitely a potential candidate for the International Dark Sky Community designation, but a number of things would have to happen before it could qualify.
First, while Nantucket has a pretty good dark sky outdoor lighting ordinance (Chapter 102 of the Nantucket Code), it probably would need to be updated to meet the minimum standards specified by IDA -- which means building enough support in the year-round Nantucket community for an amendment to be passed at an annual Town Meeting.
Second, all the outdoor lighting owned by the Town that doesn't meet those minimum standards (Nantucket public schools?) would need to be identified and the Town would need to be convinced to bring all of it into compliance.
Third, the Town would need to be convinced to demonstrate its commitment to our dark skies through publications and public service announcements.
Fourth, community organizations on Nantucket such as the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, and the Nantucket Civic League would need to be convinced to demonstrate their support. (The light pollution in March 2021 sponsored by the Nantucket Civic League is a good start!)
Fifth, success in light pollution control would have to be demonstrated, perhaps by showing the renovation of some homes to bring them into compliance with the minimum standards specified by IDA.
And, finally, a program would have to be established to take sky quality measurements all over the island. That's the easy part!
LET US KNOW WHICH OF THESE YOU WOULD LIKE TO HELP WITH!