October is Night Sky Month in Kendall County
Local Night Sky Month celebrations kicked off with a full Harvest Moon on October 1, and it will end with a full Hunter’s Moon on Halloween night.
Local city and county officials, along with the Boerne Independent School District, have made proclamations declaring October Night Sky Month, and Ed Rogers of Kendall County Friends of the Night Sky spoke at each of the three declarations about what Night Sky Month means in Kendall County.
“In the big scheme of things, what we’ve come to celebrate today won’t cost much for each of us, won’t change the way we live our lives, won’t cost you any votes,” Rogers said. “But it will speak to a quality of life that brought us all across Kendall County.”
The KCFNS group has some in-person and remote activities planned for the month, but its primary goal is to educate people about what they can do to protect and claim back the blanket of stars that cover Kendall County. Rogers said one of the easiest things individuals can do is learn about night-sky compliant light bulbs and shields that can be installed on every home. The shields help direct light downward, which directs light to where it needs to be and keeps it from trespassing on other people’s property.
“Beyond that it will impact hundreds of species of birds that migrate along this great U.S. central flyway across our Hill Country twice a year,” Rogers said. “It will also benefit our abundant wildlife that grace our streams, valleys and woodlands year-round that make living in our countryside just a little more alluring through our sense of nature.”
The group had planned star parties and in-person events, but once COVID-19 hit it had to adjust plans. Still, it partnered with other local business owners and dark sky enthusiasts to host virtual and a few in-person ways to celebrate.
Local author Amy Jackson conducted a live reading of her book, “Cassandra and the Night Sky,” at the Patrick Heath Public Library, and the video is posted on the Kendall County Friends of the Night Sky Facebook page. The library staff put together a special selection of night sky books for people to check out, and the KCFNS group also collaborated with BISD to get information to students and families who would like to participate in Night Sky Month activities.
On Oct. 15, the group will partner with the Cibolo Nature Center for its “Thirst for Nature” series, and the group has an in-person, but socially distanced and outdoor, event planned that will draw visitors’ attention to the stars.
Then on Oct. 17, when the new moon means no moon, the group is calling for lights out in the entire county for the best chance at getting a peek at the galaxy overhead. For just one night, the KCFNS is asking everyone in Kendall County to turn off their outdoor lights and take time to gaze up at the stars. Local restaurants have agreed to host candlelight dinners after dark, and Rogers said he will have a list of participating restaurants posted on the group’s Facebook page soon.
The Cibolo Creek Brewery has created a signature Kendall County Friends of the Night Sky brew to serve at the group’s Howl at the Moon Night on Halloween. The galaxy beer will be unveiled on Halloween night, and the dark, spar kly stout was brewed with Galaxy and Southern Star hops and silver edible glitter that swirls in the brew like space dust. General Manager of Brewing Operations Ty Wolosin said he also gave the recipe to the Dodging Duck and Tusculum Brewery in case they wanted to participate.
The group also is posting night-sky-themed activities and crafts on their Facebook page for families to try at home throughout the month.
“On behalf of all our fellow citizens who still can wander into their backyards and porches every evening to marvel at the beauty of the night sky, we want to say thank you,” Rogers said.
He also thanked the Kendall County Commissioners Court for the dark sky initiative it signed in January proclaiming support for the group’s mission to preserve the night sky.
“But most of all, it will help preserve the notions of science and discovery for every child who has gazed into our night sky and exclaimed, ‘What is that?’ when they see the Milky Way for the first time, just like we all did,” Rogers said. “Oh, and just one more thing. Thank you for helping us turn Boerne and Kendall County into the best little night sky town in Texas.”