Fall for the Dark – September eNewsletter
Autumn adventures, Brian’s #myparkstory, Stars Over Katahdin registration, be a Junior Ranger Night Explorer, and more…
When was the last time you stood outside at night and looked up at the sky? Many of us do not have a view of the stars from home, trapped in the bubbles of light cast by industry, street lamps, and illuminated windows. Away from city lights, the dark can make us uneasy, but for countless animals considering their fall migrations, long dark nights are essential for safety and travel success. As humans, looking into the vast universe, we can find comfort in spotting familiar constellations, and awe while contemplating our place in the glowing band that is our galaxy. Today, 80% of Americans cannot see the Milky Way.
Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument was designated as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary in 2020 for its stunningly dark skies. With this designation comes an obligation to protect this exceptional natural resource. Your membership support has been crucial in raising awareness, educating the public, and supporting research.
Fall is the perfect time to plan a dark sky trip! Rangers are hosting a series of Night Sky programs in and near the national monument, the bugs are (mostly) gone, and the sun is setting earlier each day! Friends is especially excited for our 10th annual Stars Over Katahdin, a family event open to all on Saturday, October 14th (read all about it below).
From a peaceful solo snowshoe to an off-script camping adventure with two boys, Executive Director Brian Hinrichs has packed a variety of iconic Katahdin Woods and Waters experiences since joining the team. Check out Brian’s park story this month, spanning the seasons and many of our favorite activities (including identifying moose poop).
Fall fun with Katahdin Learning Project
This season, KLP is excited to expand programs into the community and offer programs in Island Falls, Medway and Millinocket in addition to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. Education Coordinator Elise shared: “We will be expanding our water quality citizen science project by testing water at three different locations in the Katahdin region. Students will connect the water that flows through their communities to health, environment, and culture.”
KLP saw tremendous success with the Katahdin Region Outdoor Collaborative (KROC) summer day and overnight programs for middle schoolers and will keep the adventures going this fall! KLP, Outdoor Sport Institute, Katahdin Gear Library, and Katahdin Area Trails will offer a day hike and an overnight camping opportunity for youth this October. Attention local families – registration will open soon! Reach out to email@example.com with questions.
Welcome to Isabelle Jandreau, who will be working with KLP during our fall programs in her role as a KROC Fellow. Isabelle is from northern Maine and recently graduated with a degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism from the University of Maine. Last summer, she interned with Outdoor Sport Institute and got to know the KLP team through collaborative programs–which made Isabelle the perfect choice to be selected in an innovative pilot program hosted as a fellowship at OSI. The KROC fellow works with various organizations – strengthening programmatic collaborations and adding shared capacity around the Katahdin Region. Isabelle dove in this month (although hopefully not literally) by leading a kayak workshop with students from Stearns High School in Millinocket.
Stars Over Katahdin
On October 14th, Friends will gather with the National Park Service, expert astronomers, and our community to celebrate the darkest skies East of the Mississippi River. The free event will run from noon to 10 p.m. and feature safe guided viewing of a partial solar eclipse, family activities, food from Oak Creek Smokery, campfire chats, and – of course – night sky viewing. Learn more and visit the registration page here.
- Bookmark the NPS Katahdin Woods and Waters event calendar! Events ongoing through this month and next month include “Night Skies: Bright Futures” with Ranger John and opportunities to earn a Junior Ranger Night Sky Explorer patch.
- Don’t put your camping gear away yet. Crisp mornings, mist on the river, crackling campfires and no bugs… fall might be our favorite time to camp! Make a reservation to camp in Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument before the season ends at recreation.gov.
- Don’t run Millinocket for what you get; run Millinocket for what you give! – the Millinocket Marathon and Half is on December 2nd. Get this one off your bucket list along with two Friends’ staffers (we said it, so it’s happening!) this year.
- Science-to-action: Lights Out – “Every spring and fall, billions of birds migrate through the US…[contending] with a dramatically increasing but still largely unrecognized threat: light pollution.” Learn more about bird migration and follow along in real time with your custom Migration Dashboard and other tools at BirdCast.
Thank you to two of our Hathorn level sponsors: Bangor Savings Bank and Maine Audubon! From supporting community businesses to protecting our state’s wildlife, these two Friends support our work financially and in the community.
—This blog post was adapted from an email transmitted on September 27, 2023. Sign up for our email list at friendsofkww.org/signup