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DarkSky Award Winners 2023

November 13, 2023

Each year, DarkSky International recognizes and awards the incredible achievements of individuals, groups, and communities who are committed to our mission of preserving nighttime environments around the world. Their hard work and dedication informs global communities about the negative impacts of light pollution, supports and strengthens our network of advocates, and inspires us all to keep up the fight to reverse the growing trends of light pollution and save the natural night.


Crawford Hunter Lifetime Achievement Award:
Nancy Clanton

Nancy Clanton is a trailblazing advocate for dark skies in the lighting industry, notably serving as the chair of the IES RP-33 Lighting for Exterior Environments Committee. Her contributions include shaping global lighting standards, championing the inclusion of light pollution credits in LEED and WELL Building systems, and leaving a lasting legacy through extensive presentations, academic involvement, and mentorship in support of dark sky preservation.


Bob Gent Community Leadership Award:
Starry Skies North

Awarded for their advocacy of DarkSky principles – gaining significant recognition and support in their community, leading to notable reductions in light pollution, especially that from the Essentia building in Duluth, MN. “The difference is day and night!”


Galileo Award:
John Barentine

Awarded for his significant contributions to reducing light pollution, John Barentine has been a dedicated researcher for DarkSky International since 2016, covering topics such as LEO object impact, post-COVID space policy, and legal frameworks for light pollution regulation. His work, including the report “Artificial Light at Night: State of the Science 2022,” has advanced our understanding of light pollution’s environmental and astronomical effects.


The Dr. Arthur Hoag and William T. Robinson Award:
Michel Deromme

Awarded for his dedicated and passionate dark sky advocacy spanning 20 years – Michel has been a transformative force in raising awareness of light pollution in France. His expertise, optimism, and humility has not only contributed to preserving the night but has also inspired and empowered others to become advocates for the cause.


Dark Sky Place of the Year Award:
Wimberley Valley

Awarded for their enthusiastic and successful efforts to keep the stars shining bright in the Lone Star State. Wimberley is a small river valley community located between two of Texas’ largest and fastest growing cities. Through education, marketing, and a robust community outreach program, they have built a community that treasures the night sky, further preserving their “little bit of heaven” for generations to come.


Rising Star Awards

Ashley Garcia & Quiana Lorenzo

Awarded for their impactful work at the Adler Planetarium, Ashley and Quiana’s “Little Village Night Sky” exhibit educates thousands of museum goers about light pollution and it’s impact on Chicago communities, especially Mexican and Mexican-American neighborhoods. They actively engaged their community to promote their exhibit and raised general awareness of the dark sky movement.

Bonnie Peng

Awarded for her outstanding work raising awareness about light pollution in her South Jersey community. From establishing an astronomy club, conducting research, to co-hosting a light pollution podcast, Bonnie has demonstrated exceptional dedication to the dark sky movement and STEM education.

Don Wong

Awarded for his remarkable dedication and innovative contributions, this high school student from Los Angeles founded the Hidden Skies Foundation, designed and executed a pioneering UAV-SQM system for measuring and mapping light pollution, and continues to actively engage with various dark sky initiatives. His efforts have significantly advanced the cause of preserving dark skies throughout Southern California.


Dark Sky Defender Awards

Zach Kolp

Awarded for his impactful leadership, Zach played a pivotal role in establishing and managing DarkSky Kenya. His strategic guidance led to a successful launch event during International Dark Sky Week, recruitment of conservancies for International Dark Sky Place designations, and the exploration of partnerships to advance the conservation of dark skies in Kenya.

Xia Guo

Awarded for her unwavering dedication and pioneering efforts, Xia Guo has been a leading advocate for dark skies in China for over a decade. Her work includes translating dark sky documents into Chinese, publishing numerous articles, delivering lectures, and actively promoting dark sky protection through her role as Secretary General of the Chinese Planetarium Society.

Landon Bannister

Awarded for his dedicated work in Tasmania, Landon Bannister, president of DarkSky Tasmania, has been instrumental in promoting the dark sky movement in the region. Under his leadership, DarkSky Tasmania has made significant progress in their efforts to establish an International Dark Sky Sanctuary, emphasizing the importance of preserving the night sky and working with local and Aboriginal Tasmanian communities.

Mario Di Sora

Awarded for his decades-long commitment to combating light pollution in Italy, he has played a pivotal role in shaping regional laws and promoting practical solutions. Additionally, his leadership as the President of the Italian Amateur-Astronomers Union highlights his enduring dedication to advancing dark sky initiatives throughout Europe.

Babak Tafreshi

Awarded for his dedication to promoting dark skies and raising awareness about the detrimental effects of light pollution on wildlife and human health. Babak has consistently practiced and advocated for DarkSky International lighting recommendations in various settings, from classrooms and webinars to National Geographic audiences. His unwavering commitment and dedication make him a true champion for the cause of preserving the night.

Matías Rodríguez – Brigada de Cielos Oscuros de la Comuna de Vicuña, Elqui Valley, Chile

Matías is a journalist for the Vicuña Tourism Corporation. Through his dedication and hard work, Matías has communicated the importance of dark sky principles to locals and visitors alike through articles, social media posts, and traditional media. Matías and Brigada de Cielos Oscuros de la Comuna de Vicuña have raised awareness for dark sky principles throughout Chile.

We congratulate and thank all of our nominees and winners!

Want to nominate a person or organization for next year’s awards cycle?
The nomination window for 2024 will open in May.

More information available here

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