Feature Friday: Australasian Dark Sky Alliance Youth Ambassador Program
This Feature Friday, I’m thrilled to introduce you to another of our awesome student-led projects!
They’ve designed a 12-month program, that starts with educating ambassadors on light pollution, astronomy, ecology and science communication (education valued at $1,200). Ambassadors will then be paired with a mentor who will help them create a campaign for ADSA. They’ll work with Alliance’s board members and volunteers to bring their project to life!
Youth Ambassadors will be guided in their leadership and public speaking skills, gain insight and experience within a recognised charity organisation, and most importantly, they will be creating a campaign to spread awareness on light pollution. The program is for 18-25 year olds who want to make a difference in the world around them by fighting against light pollution.
Light pollution is the world’s fastest growing pollutant. It’s contaminating the beauty of the night sky and is harming our fragile natural ecosystems and human health. But unlike other forms of pollution, the effects of light pollution are easy to stop, and even reverse.
“Light pollution has always been something at the back of my mind, especially growing up in the rural Australia and moving to the big city to study. And I was like ‘where have all the stars gone?'”, says Matteo, one of our students on the project. “But honestly, when I was doing some brief research on each topic and I stumbled across this video – Where Are the Stars? See How Light Pollution Affects Night Skies – literal goosebumps. To think that the beauty of the cosmos is just sitting above our heads, and we are none the wiser. It is criminal. When I saw this video, and released that even in rural Australia that we are missing out… So all in all, I thought it was a beautiful and inspiring cause to get behind. Hopefully more people will come to realise just how stunning the night sky can be.
My group and I all come from diverse backgrounds – biomedical science, environments, mathematics. But at crux of what we do, what is the point if we can’t share our knowledge to the public – the audience who will hopefully, in the long term, benefit from our contributions. We stand by firmly by our subject’s creed: ‘Science isn’t finished until it’s communicated” – Sir Mark Walport’ ” Matteo says.
Our awesome students have done everything from creating the structure of the program, to launching the website for the program and managing the promotional campaign. We’re so proud of all their hard work!
The application process for the Youth Ambassador Program kicks off with a free information session next Friday the 16th of October from 1:30pm AEDT. If you’re 18-25 years old, and have a passion for environmental science, register here!
– Written by Rosie Arnold