dark sky parkI recently visited The Headlands, an International Dark Sky Park west of Mackinaw City, Michigan, on the shore of Lake Michigan.

A dark sky park is an area set aside for night-sky viewing and is away from man-made lighting so that the night sky is clear. You can see so many more stars and night-sky features without artificial lighting nearby.

Although there are beautiful hiking trails in the woods for use in the daytime in The Headlands, its main feature is the large, open space created for night-time viewing.

The open space is a few acres of grassy area surrounded by woods on three sides and Lake Michigan on the fourth. As you lie on your blanket and look up at the night sky, you can view so many stars that it looks as though someone tossed salt granules onto a black canvas. You might even see some shooting stars.

You can read about other International Dark Sky Parks here.

Create a New Park Middle School Writing Prompt -- Dark Sky Parks are far away from artificial lighting so that visitors can enjoy the night sky without any interference. Develop your own park. What will be its focus?Now it’s your turn: You are in charge of creating a new park. What will be its main feature? What will it be focused on? What will people do there that they may not be able to do at other parks?

Write a letter to a donor to convince him or her to back your plan. In this letter, explain some of the features of the park and some of the benefits that visitors to your new park will enjoy.

Copyright © 2015 by Sharon Watson
Original image copyright © 2015 by Sharon Watson

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