This presentation is part of the Cape Perpetua Speaker Series, hosted by the Cape Perpetua Collaborative.

For billions of years, night on Earth was lit only by the moon and stars, and life evolved under regular cycles of bright days and dark nights. All that has changed in the last 130 years, and night on this planet is now liberally colonized with artificial light. This has dire ecological consequences for plants, birds, fish, amphibians, mammals and other wildlife. Light at night also impacts human health, safety and culture. In this talk, we will delve into the importance of darkness for nocturnal wildlife, from migrating birds to sea turtles to intertidal invertebrates and nesting seabirds. We will explore some of the night’s wondrous mysteries and the local and international effort to preserve dark skies in both cities and wild places, from deserts to coastlines.

Mary Coolidge is Audubon’s BirdSafe Campaign Coordinator, working with architects, planners, designers and residents to reduce hazards for birds in the built environment while meeting other design, building performance and climate change objectives. She is dedicated to improving efforts to make urban environments more hospitable to wildlife, to helping connect people to nature and place, and to fall in love with the deep mysteries of the night. Mary splits her time between Portland Audubon and Oregon’s California Condor breeding program.


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