Carrickalinga becomes Australia’s first Dark Sky Community

Carrickalinga has officially been recognised as the first Dark Sky Community in Australia by DarkSky International.

Jun 12, 2024, updated Jun 12, 2024
Aurora Australis from Forktree Project, Carrickalinga. Photo: The Backyard Universe

Aurora Australis from Forktree Project, Carrickalinga. Photo: The Backyard Universe

The Carrickalinga Ratepayers Association has been collaborating with the District Council of Yankalilla since 2021 to educate the community, raise funds for projects and monitor sky quality to receive accreditation from DarkSky International.

DarkSky International was founded in 2001 as a global network of volunteers working towards reducing light pollution around the world.

The Carrickalinga Lookout at night. Photo: The Backyard Universe

Light pollution is unnecessary light that impacts wildlife, humans, the environment and sky views.

President of Carrickalinga Ratepayers Association Amy Gebhardt said she is excited by becoming Australia’s first Dark Sky Community.

“The preservation of our night skies not only protects the awe that comes in looking up at the dazzling stars, but importantly it protects First Nations cosmology, the health of our wildlife and the many cultural stories of the stars,” she said.

Carricklinga is the first place to be named a Dark Sky Community in Australia, however, other Dark Sky places exist around the country including the River Murray and Arkaroola in South Australia, the Jump-Up in Queensland and Warrumbungle in New South Wales.

Carrickalinga DarkSky Community Project Lead Sheryn Pitman said light pollution has some of the harshest impacts on nocturnal animals.

“We’re talking about interrupting feeding behaviours, predator-prey relationships, reproductive behaviours, the physiology of some nocturnal animals and the production of the hormones that enable them to function,” she said.

InDaily in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Commonly impacted animal behaviour from light pollution includes newly hatched turtles and migrating birds confusing man-made light as the moon and getting lost.

As part of the five-year plan to reduce light pollution, 36 of the 38 streetlights within the community will be changed to become compliant with DarkSky International standards, a project that has been years in the making.

The brightness and colour of the lights will also be changed to ensure reduced light pollution without compromising safety for drivers.

The residents of Carrickalinga will directly benefit from being a Dark Sky Community, with light pollution often affecting people’s sleep.

“The streetlights will essentially be targeted so that they don’t spill upwards into the sky and into people’s windows,” Pitman said.

“I think the biggest difference to the houses around [the streetlights] is that it won’t be as brightly lit.”

Light pollution can impact people’s sleep by reducing how much melatonin, a hormone humans produce in response to darkness that aids with sleep, is produced.

The first meeting post-accreditation will be held on 30 June to plan ways to continue to reduce light pollution, educate the wider community and raise funds for projects.

Pitman hopes to use their experience and knowledge to help other communities become DarkSky International accredited.

“We’d really like to start working with nearby communities and others,” she said.

“Once we’ve done this work on getting the lighting plan, there is no reason why that can’t then assist other communities to adjust their lighting infrastructure.”

Topics: darksky
Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InDaily.
All rights reserved.