The Norwood Dark Sky Group loves Wright’s Mesa for its own unique reasons: the dark, wide sky and the opportunities that it naturally offers the town for study, tourism and more.
On a mission to preserve what Norwood Dark Sky officials say is one of the town’s greatest resources, the organization is interested in making sure the night sky remains available for future generations as a place for viewing the solar system, galaxies and more.
Made up of a collective of scholarly men in the area, the board includes people like CU professor Dr. Bob Grossman, astronomy buff Creighton Wood, CU sophomore Brady Barkemeyer and more.
The group also has the support of Colorado astronomy experts like David Elmore and Val Svwarc, who also believe Norwood is where it’s at in terms of darkness and the ability to view the outer space.
In the last few years, officials from the Norwood Dark Sky Group obtained nonprofit status under the Pinhead Institute, a Smithsonian affiliate in Telluride dedicated to science education.
Yes, the Dark Sky Group holds star-gazing parties with high-powered telescopes. They like to keep up with what constellations are visible during different parts of the year, and they have taken a very unique and quite complex photo of the Andromeda Galaxy from Norwood.
(A copy of that will be presented to the Lone Cone Library in the next few weeks.)
But they have more in the works. Wood is in the process of unveiling an observatory station at his ranch outside of Norwood, something that will no doubt further the group along.
And, officials also want the organization to be involved in the community. They want the public to care as much as they do about the dark sky and its opportunity.
The Dark Sky Group has made it a priority to educate the community through monthly columns that members write in the local newspaper, The Norwood Post. They want to educate people on the negative effects over-lighting their properties with respect to the environment, their own finances, their personal security and more.
Their columns also share history, folklore and a heavenly outlook so that people can understand what it is they are actually seeing in the heavens throughout different seasons.
Additionally, the group supports San Miguel Power Association in implementing LED lights for town to reduce light pollution. That’s something that will eventually help the group to meet the International Dark Sky Certification requirements — a status they think will be great for putting Norwood on the map and making sure the town doesn’t lose what it already has.
And, the Dark Sky Group through its nonprofit status is willing to help people make the switch to LED lights on their own residential properties.
Officials believe that there are other people who value what Wright’s Mesa has to offer — so much so that they’d be willing to visit, stay and study the stars in Norwood, creating yet another source of tourism and adding an additional piece of diversity to the town’s economy.
The international certification, they hope, will happen sooner than later.