News & Events

OCA launches Best Burb in the Southwest campaign

Following on the heels of CBC Radio’s Best of the ‘Burbs contest in May and June, which saw Oakridge selected as the best community in the southwest quadrant of Calgary, the Oakridge Community Association (OCA) is launching a campaign this summer to capitalize on the recognition.

Throughout the summer months, the (OCA) will be distributing “Best Burb in the Southwest” stickers to all neighbourhood businesses to proudly display in their windows and doorways.

As well, CBC Radio gift bags will be contested out to winners at community events throughout July and August, including the OCA’s Annual Stampede Breakfast on July 10th and the Oakridge Community Garden’s Open Garden on July 23rd, to name a few. These gift bags contain a variety of items, including CBC-branded t-shirts, water bottles, bandanas, stickers, buttons, portable fans, and sunglasses.

To enter the contest, Oakridge residents are asked to fill out postcards describing why they think Oakridge is the best community in southwest Calgary. Winning entries will be pushing on OCA social media channels throughout the summer months.

Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society applying to become a “Nocturnal Preserve”

The Weaselhead/Glenmore Park Preservation Society is applying to become a “Nocturnal Preserve.” This is a designation given by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) to areas where night-time light levels are low enough to support the nocturnal behaviours of local wildlife. This will protect the community’s enjoyment of the outdoors at night as well. The most recent nighttime light readings indicate that the park is on the threshold of the RASC’s night-time illumination level limit. We need the help of our “buffer zone” communities (Oakridge and Lakeview) to bring the “core zone” (the Weaselhead) below the illumination threshold and become Calgary’s first dark sky community.

Why is maintaining a dark sky so important? For the approximately 3.7 billion years life has existed on earth, composition of the atmosphere, global temperatures, and geological formations have changed dramatically, but earth’s daily cycle of light and darkness has remained constant. The introduction of artificial light at night (ALAN) is changing billions of years of adaptation, and we are just starting to understand how important these periods of darkness are to us and the species we share our illuminated spaces with.

In humans, even low levels of ALAN can disrupt our body’s ability to regulate the hormones and immune functions we need to stay healthy. This can lead to increased risk of developing cancer, autoimmune, and infectious diseases.1

As you might imagine, the impact of ALAN on wildlife can be harmful as well. Prey are not able to hide from predators as easily in illuminated spaces. Birds and insects that use the stars to navigate become disoriented and migration routes are altered. ALAN may also be a major contributor to the decline in moth populations, which are important nocturnal pollinators.2 The behaviours of our beloved robin are being disturbed, with birds singing earlier and louder resulting in changes to breeding behaviour and energy expenditure.3 Artificial light affects the behaviour of bats by delaying or preventing their evening emergence from roosts. Some bats will avoid hunting in illuminated areas (which attract insects) resulting in less food for bats, and more mosquitos for us!4 And it’s not just our urban wildlife that is affected by light pollution – city sky glow can be as bright as the full moon up to 100 km away.

How can you help? Go for a nighttime stroll and make some observations: How bright is the moon compared to your neighbourhood lighting? What wildlife do you see or hear? What feelings or memories does the night sky evoke for you? Consider the impact of your home’s lighting and what changes you could make. Some easy modifications include:

  • Only have lights on when needed: consider installing a motion sensor or timer
  • Direct light fixtures downwards instead of up or shield light to prevent it illuminating where not needed
  • Change outdoor lights to bulbs that emit a warmer spectrum of light instead of blue/white light
 

Look for more DIY solutions to light abatement on our website and Facebook page. We hope to see you at our upcoming “night sky” events where you can learn about the wildlife that’s up and about while we’re asleep. We hope will join us to create Calgary’s first dark sky community and the first urban nocturnal preserve in Canada.

References

  1. Roberts, Joan E. “Light and Dark and Human Health.” Environmental Impact of Light Pollution and Its Abatement, 2012, www.rasc.ca/lpa-special-issue.
  2. Macgregor, Calum J. “Pollination by Nocturnal Lepidoptera, and the Effects of Light Pollution: a Review.” Ecological Entomology, 2014.
  3. Miller, Mark W. “Apparent Effects of Light Pollution on Singing Behavior of American RobinsThe .” The Condor, 2006.
  4. “Threats to Bats – Lighting.” Bat Conservation Trust, www.bats.org.uk/about-bats/threats-to-bats/lighting.

 

Oakridge News provided by the Oakridge Monitor

The Oakridge Monitor is a blog updated regularly to report on news and events within the community of Oakridge. The Monitor can be found at www.oakridgemonitor.com or you can access it through the RSS feed below.

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