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Acadian Skies & Mi'kmaq Lands receives Education and Diffusion of the Astronomy award

At the Deep Sky Eye Observatory in Quinan. Brenda Levy Tate Photo
At the Deep Sky Eye Observatory in Quinan. Brenda Levy Tate Photo - Contributed

Night sky efforts shine through

QUINAN, N.S. —

Acadian Skies & Mi'kmaq Lands, located in Argyle, Clare and Yarmouth municipalities, has won the Education and Diffusion of the Astronomy award in the Starlight Foundation’s first International Starlight Awards.
Richard Lyness, a resident of Pubnico, accepted the award on the island of Menorca, in Spain, on behalf of recipients on Nov. 29. 

Joana Febrer, mayor of Ferrerias, Spain, with Richard Lyness from Pubnico, who accepted the Starlight Foundation’s Education and Diffusion of the Astronomy award on behalf of the Acadian Skies & Mi ́k Maq Lands.
Joana Febrer, mayor of Ferrerias, Spain, with Richard Lyness from Pubnico, who accepted the Starlight Foundation’s Education and Diffusion of the Astronomy award on behalf of the Acadian Skies & Mi ́k Maq Lands.


The award is a trophy designed by an artist from the Canary Islands – Alejandro Sureda – created from “natural elements of the islands, inspired in the fusion of sky, sea and land.”
Hundreds of visitors to Deep Sky Eye Observatory in Quinan receive an education during their sky-watching sessions on how they can help preserve the Starlight Tourism Destination and Starlight Reserve designations held by this region. 

The Starlight Foundation’s Education and Diffusion of the Astronomy award is a trophy designed by an artist from the Canary Islands - Alejandro Sureda – created from “natural elements of the islands, inspired in the fusion of sky, sea and land.”
The Starlight Foundation’s Education and Diffusion of the Astronomy award is a trophy designed by an artist from the Canary Islands - Alejandro Sureda – created from “natural elements of the islands, inspired in the fusion of sky, sea and land.”


Tim Doucette, president of La Société Touristique Bon Temps d'Argyle and owner of the observatory in Quinan, continually reminds others of the importance of protecting this region’s night skies against light pollution. 
He’s made presentations to local councils and even persuaded a large automobile dealership to address light pollution from its car lot. 

Tim Doucette, president of La Société Touristique Bon Temps d'Argyle and owner of Deep Sky Eye Observatory in Quinan.
Tim Doucette, president of La Société Touristique Bon Temps d'Argyle and owner of Deep Sky Eye Observatory in Quinan.
Tim Doucette, president of La Société Touristique Bon Temps d'Argyle and owner of Deep Sky Eye Observatory in Quinan.


The Starlight Foundation award is largely due to the work done by Doucette and his observatory, the Société Touristique Bon Temps d'Argyle and the Starlight Development committee, which Doucette chairs and directs. In addition, the Yarmouth & Acadian Shores Tourism Association continually promotes astrotourism in this region.
Doucette is providing the Municipality of Argyle with information on how to reduce light pollution that may be used in the revamping of its land-use bylaws.
“We’re winning awards for our region because of our night sky. It's a luxurious natural resource that not everyone has.  We cannot ignore light pollution any longer. It’s our responsibility to protect it for generations to come,” says Doucette.
In 2014, South West Nova Scotia (municipalities of Argyle, Clare, Yarmouth) became the first Starlight Tourist Destination & Reserve in North America and only the fourth in the world to receive both designations. The area was named Acadian Skies & Mi'kmaq Lands and the designations were awarded by the UNESCO-backed Starlight Foundation. Since then, astronomy tourism is a sector that the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores Tourism Association has pursued.
In 2018, AirBNB recognized Yarmouth & Acadian Shores as a trending astrotourism destination leading to strong growth in travel.
Doucette says this year’s season at the Deep Sky Eye observatory was busy. It was the first year for a new cabin and sky-bubble tents that enabled guests a unique overnight experience of sky-watching. 

A skybubble at the Deep Sky Eye Observatory in Quinan.
A skybubble at the Deep Sky Eye Observatory in Quinan.


“It was crazy. Next year we’re looking at getting some help,” he said.
“We had over 700 guests this summer. We’re almost doubling every year.”

In addition to the good news from the Starlight Foundation, Doucette also received a Crystal Tourism award from the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia.
The award recognizes a new tourism business in Nova Scotia that has demonstrated notable achievements in areas such as: business growth/economic impact, excellence in customer service, innovation and a quality focus in the operation.

Timothy Doucette also received a Crystal Tourism award from the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia. The award recognizes a new tourism business in Nova Scotia that has demonstrated notable achievements in areas such as: business growth/economic impact, excellence in customer service, innovation and a quality focus in the operation.
Timothy Doucette also received a Crystal Tourism award from the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia. The award recognizes a new tourism business in Nova Scotia that has demonstrated notable achievements in areas such as: business growth/economic impact, excellence in customer service, innovation and a quality focus in the operation.

 

More info

The Starlight Foundation, located in Tenerife, Spain, is dedicated to the protection and conservation of the night skies, as an important scientific, cultural, environmental and tourist resource.
To learn more about the Acadian Skies & Mi'kmaq Lands use this link 
 

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