Poor, neglected blog.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve sat down to write something in the last couple of weeks and drawn a blank. I really hate it when I get writer’s block but, let’s face it, I’ve been a little distracted lately.
The Jasper Dark Sky Correspondent contest has pretty much taken over my life. When the people running it decided to extend it to today last Sunday I upgraded to full red alert obsession mode. It should almost go without say by now that I’ve really got my heart set on this. Like, so much so that I’ve actually had people ask me if I’ll be okay if Candice and I don’t win.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be hella disappointed. Between the two of use we’ve worked just about every social media tool at our disposal and spread the word near and far. We’ve rallied our friends, family and complete strangers to get involved and their support shows in the votes. But at the end of the day all I can do is take a breath and remind myself that we worked hard, did our part to raise awareness and the rest is out of our control.
It makes sense that they would want to extend the contest. After all, the ultimate point behind a campaign like this is to raise awareness and profile for the event itself. So, as the contest comes to a close, let me tell you 5 cool things that you should know about this year’s Jasper Dark Sky Festival:
1. Jasper National Park received its Dark Sky Preserve designation in March of 2011, which means that this is the 3rd year for the Festival. Being a Dark Sky Preserve means that the Park is responsible for maintaining and protecting its dark skies from light pollution. You can learn more about the Preserve and what it does here.
2. Have you ever tried taking a photo of a beautiful starry night? I have and it was awful. Professional astrophotographer (how cool does that sound?) Yuichi Takasaka will be running a workshops throughout the festival to show participants how to capture great images of the stars. This guy is a master (his images have been used by the likes of NASA and National Geographic). Check out this incredible time-lapse video he took above Sugar Lake in BC:
3. Speaking of interesting guests, other stars that will be participating in the Festival include Jay Ingram, formerly of Discovery Channel’s “Daily Planet” (I used to watch him on there all the time!); David Levy, who has discovered over 23 comets (WHAT?); and science journalist and children’s author Peter McMahon (think CTV, Canada Geographic, Discovery Channel and more!)
4. Among a lot of very cool events throughout the festival (there’s a planetarium! And you’ll get to build bottle rockets! SCIENCE!) there is also a lecture series on Saturday for the serious nerds in attendance (*cough* Candice and I *cough cough*). Talks will cover everything from comets to aliens and everything in between. I love that they’re doing this because there is so much to learn from an event like this. Education is a big part of building awareness!
5. While it probably goes without saying, the biggest (and in my opinion, most exciting) part for the festival will be the amply opportunities for stargazing, both day and night! Experts and astronomers will be on hand to help show attendees the best spots to see the stars and answer questions. There will even be storytelling and First Nations drumming to bring the whole experience together. What an amazing way to experience some real, natural dark sky!
The Jasper Dark Sky Festival runs from October 25th to 27th and you can get all the details here.
Think that Candice and I deserve to be the Star Social Media Correspondents for the event? Click here to watch our video and vote before the end of the day!