Our guest speaker for September’s program is a friend of mine, Deborah Castro.  I met Deborah last year when I started working at CVS in Austin.  Deborah is a Family Nurse Practitioner at the Minute Clinic within CVS.  She treats patients and helps guide them with their health needs. We got to talking one day and I told Deb about the New Neighbors of Greater Round Rock and she told me about the group she is involved with, Travis County Friends of the Night Sky.  It sounded so interesting I asked if she could speak to us about the program.  Thankfully, she agreed.

Deborah grew up in South Texas, and then moved to North Carolina, where she received her BSN in nursing and then her Masters FNP from Texas Tech Health Sciences.  She has been nursing for a total of 32 years.  When she is not at work, Deborah loves the outdoors and she is an avid gardener and bird watcher.  She’s been involved with the International Dark Sky Association and an advocate since 2015. 

Since Deborah told me about these groups that advocate for light conservation and the environmental impacts of lights in cities and towns across the country, I’ve been intrigued.  I learned that many people visit International dark sky places to see amazing night sky visibility and spectacular views of stars.  We are lucky here in Texas to have seven dark sky communities designated for stargazing with the darkest and clearest views of the night sky.

“Dark sky communities are cities that have received the designation from the International Dark Sky Association because the towns actively work to preserve visibility of the night sky in their area by implementing quality outdoor lighting ordinances and spreading dark sky education.” (Resource: Hearst Community Newspaper staff writer, Sana Ameer) 

Dark sky communities in Texas include Bee Cave, Blanco, Dripping Springs,  Fredericksburg, Horseshoe Bay, Lakewood Village and Wimberly Valley, all in Central Texas! 

But it’s not just about looking up and seeing shooting stars and the Milky Way.  Providing darker skies helps migrating birds and other species to utilize their natural abilities and instincts.  Deborah will tell us all about it at the September 14th General Membership Meeting and luncheon.  We hope to see you there! 

Find out more here from the KXAN weather blog: https://www.kxan.com/weather/weather-blog/central-texas-home-to-all-5-of-states-dark-sky-communities/