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DarkSky Recognizes Mexico’s First Urban Night Sky Place

DarkSky Recognizes Mexico’s First Urban Night Sky Place

QUERETARO, Mexico — Parque Ecológico Joya-La Barreta recreational park near Querétaro, México, was recognized as an Urban Night Sky Place by DarkSky International. This certification is a significant achievement for this region as Querétaro is a rapidly growing city due to its aerospace industry and high quality of life. This effort is an opportunity to engage the public about the negative impacts of light pollution on wildlife biodiversity and ecosystems. Local authorities fully support this certification, undertaken by the astrotourism agency Astronite, a technical consultant.

Joya-La Barreta is located 270 kilometers northwest of Mexico City, between Querétaro and San Miguel de Allende, two historically significant colonial cities. Both cities are popular tourist destinations, welcoming millions of visitors annually.

“This certification is a significant accomplishment and represents a unique opportunity for visitors and residents to engage with nature and view the wonders of the night sky within an urban setting. Site administrators, staff, and advocates have worked hard to demonstrate their commitment to the protection of nature and education about best lighting practices and the importance of natural darkness. They have set an example that will resonate with visitors and residents alike. With such high visibility due to their location, this site has the potential to educate thousands of visitors annually about the importance of dark sky conservation and best lighting practices,” remarked Amber Harrison, Dark Sky Places Program Manager.

Joya-La Barreta offers camping, biking, and many other outdoor recreational activities. It is managed directly by the public Institute of Ecology of Querétaro City, which is committed to outreach and conservation, in collaboration with the universities of the region–the Autonomous University of Querétaro and the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

“We used to see the stars every night, but the city is erasing them… [it is] good to have this park to remind us that we risk losing them.” – José Luis Rubio, local sub-delegate of “La Barreta” town.

“We hope these educational activities will give new hope to our youth through productive learning.” – Lorena Rubio, local leader of “La Barreta” town.

“We welcome to the people who come to see the stars, since this activity is better for society than most of the activities done by other nighttime visitors.” – Adán, landmark ranger.

Astronite and the Querétaro State Government will continue to initiate a regional campaign (#CielosQueretanos) to raise awareness about light pollution in the metropolitan area and the surrounding towns and vineyards, and the Querétaro Tourism Direction will begin the construction of the astronomical observatory in 2024.

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Discussion (1 comments)

    Glenn Sweitzer October 5, 2023 / 10:03 am

    Great step toward opening night skies for visual inspection, enjoyment, and education!

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