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Turn off the Lights for Dark Sky Week in Southampton

Residents asked to reduce the nighttime lighting they use and take time to view the stars.

The Southampton Town Board voted last week for the town to observe International Dark Sky Week, beginning Friday and continuing through April 11.

The Town Board resolution stated that the starry night sky is a valuable resource that is part of Southampton's cultural and natural heritage, just like the town's farm and beach vistas, and clear night skies are part of the rural character Southampton seeks to preserve.

"During this time period, town residents, businesses and visitors are encouraged to learn more about reducing light pollution and to enjoy stargazing on clear nights," the environmental advocacy nonprofit Group for the East End stated.

Group for the East End points out that the Town Board adopted an outdoor lighting code in 2009 to reduce light pollution in an effort to preserve the view of the nighttime sky and mitigate environmental issues caused by light pollution. "Eastern Long Island is one of the few places on Long Island with a clearly visible Milky Way," according to the group.

"The Town Board recognized the environmental importance of reducing light pollution, which can have a damaging effect on local plant and animal species that rely on a night cycle," said Jenn Hartnagel, a senior environmental advocate for the Group for the East End and a member of the Southampton Town Dark Sky Advisory Committee.

The group further states that reducing light pollution also helps conserve energy, makes road safer by reducing glare, and improves quality of life by preventing light trespass from one neighbor's property to another.

"We appreciate the Town Board's support of International Dark Sky Week, which will help the committee focus attention on the problems caused by light pollution and on the town regulations that help curtail outdoor lighting that is excessive, misdirected or unnecessary," said Gail Clyma, the chairperson of the Dark Sky Advisory Committee.

For more information, visit www.southamptontownny.gov/darkskies.

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