National Park Service? It's a natural resource of course! Its mission is the protection of the scenery, nocturnal wildlife habitat and cultural connection to the night sky.
The national parks are diverse and special places. The night sky in our urban lives has left the national parks as the last refuges to see a sky full of stars. National parks are dedicated to preserving the night sky as a natural resource that needs to be protected from the impact of improper outdoor lighting that causes light pollution.
National park night sky programs are NOT star parties! Volunteers and Sky Rangers tie their night sky with the unique aspects of the park they work in. Park observing programs include solar, constellation lore, naked eye, binocular, telescope, and yes a star party with a local club. Other park programs can include nocturnal wildlife hikes, full moon hikes, and native/cultural sky lore.
This page is dedicated to providing Park Rangers and their amateur astronomer volunteers notes, training and resources to produce high quality park observing programs.
The Blog for this website: http://nightskyparks.blogspot.com/
The Astronomy Group Online forum just for Rangers and NPS AstroVIPs (log-in account required) for the NPS Volunteers-In-Parks Network.
The AstroVIPs Google Group online group, click here. Request an invite, if it does not prompt you as an invited member.
Online Interpretation Training:
National Park Service - What is Interpretation?
Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands, Indiana University - Free online NPS training or pay for Continuing Education Units (CE's).
National Association for Interpretation - Resource Page
Night Sky Planners & Links:
NASA Night Sky Network - Evening Planner
Educational Resource Links:
Download the pdf with helpful links here.
TAS Favorite Sky Objects, by Ray Stinson
General Talk on Light Pollution Impacts on Parks, by Chad Moore
This site is maintained by dedicated volunteers who work in conjunction with the NPS Night Sky Program office.