For more information about USC CLS, Goats and Bird Counts, download our current newsletter: Fall 2014 Newsletter
Current Issues: Light Pollution
Boyce Mayview Park has become one of the most successful stories of conservation in Upper St. Clair, as well as a fantastic resource for our community with the Community and Recreation Center, many hiking trails, and The Outdoor Classroom. USC CLS is proud to have been a voice in the process that has allowed the Master Plan to come to life on the 450 acre site. However, while the development of the site into an accessible and popular park has been inspiring, it is important to consider the effects that any development have on the natural spaces nearby. One of the main issues that comes into play with any developed space is light pollution. As of July 1, 2013, Upper St. Clair Township has approved temporary lighting for the ball fields at Boyce Mayview Park, including the Miracle Field.
USC CLS understands the appeal of lighting the fields for evening ball games with bright, stadium-style lighting in the park. However, USC CLS is hoping to eliminate any unnecessary use of these lights in order to minimize the effects that light pollution will have on not only the habitats in Boyce Mayview Park, but also the wildlife and people living in surrounding areas.
What is light pollution and why is it a concern? Light pollution can be described as the often disruptive impact of artificial light on both the darkness of the night sky and the light-related biological rhythms of life in the lighted area. As stated in a 2008 National Geographic report on light pollution, “Ill-designed lighting washes out the darkness of night and radically alters the light levels—and light rhythms—to which many forms of life, including ourselves, have adapted. Wherever human light spills into the natural world, some aspect of life—migration, reproduction, feeding—is affected.” You are likely already familiar with the effects of light pollution if you have ever compared the view of the night sky in a city to a rural area. However, the effects of light pollution are not limited to cities; the type of lighting proposed for the athletic fields at Boyce Mayview Park would bring the same negative outcomes of light pollution to the surrounding areas in USC. We are calling for a sensible plan for the management of these lights, including exploring options such as timers and pay per use similar to the successful setup of the township tennis bubbles.
Below are some useful links to learn more about light pollution, including the website of the International Dark Sky Association.
Looking to get involved? Volunteer with us!There are many volunteer opportunities with USC CLS. Are you a student in need of service hours? Are you retired and looking for a way to stay active and involved in the community? Do you have special skills that you could use to assist a small community group? Do you simply love the great outdoors? No matter what your interests, USC CLS can use your help! We are a friendly, passionate community and would love to have you on board. Please contact us at email@example.com for more information.
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