DARK SKY COALITION
A Dark Sky Organization
The purpose of the Western Slope Dark Sky Coalition (Coalition) is coordinating, collaborating with, and assisting citizen-sponsored groups and Federal, county, and local governments with the intent of preserving the increasingly rare dark, star-filled sky of the Western Slope of Colorado. The main method used by the Coalition is by lawful ordinances (Towns and Cities) and Land Use Codes (Towns, Cities, and Counties). From this basis, the Coalition will then encourage local citizen groups to apply for a Dark Place (Community, Reserve, Sanctuary, Park, or City) designation.
WHO WE ARE
The Western Slope Dark Sky Coalition (Coalition) was formed in April 2021 with the purpose of coordinating, collaborating with, and assisting citizen-sponsored groups and Federal, county, and local governments with the intent of preserving the increasingly rare dark, star-filled sky of the Western Slope of Colorado.
WHAT WE DO
Members of the Coalition have successfully applied for IDA designation for two of the 5 Dark Sky Communities in Colorado. One of them is a Joint Community designation of the two towns of Nucla and Naturita and the other is Norwood, the second Community in the State and the first on the Western Slope.
HOW WE DO IT
The main method used by the Coalition is by lawful ordinances (Towns and Cities) and Land Use Codes (Towns, Cities, and Counties). Collaborative and cooperative interaction with Federal and State land managers is also part of this method. The Colorado Chapter of IDA and IDA Headquarters are working with State legislation and Federal legislation to direct land managers to specific Dark Sky policies.
SMART LIGHTING PRINCPLES
- Light only what you need
- Use energy efficient bulbs
- Lower intensity to safe levels
- Shield light to direct them down not sideways
- Light only where you need it
- Choose warm light colors
FISCAL POLICY OVERVIEW
READ MORE: COALITION BY LAWS
1. The fiscal year for the Coalition is 1 January to 31 December. This conforms to the 501c3 agreement with the IRS.
2. Coalition is the fiscal sponsor of members who do not have 501c3 status but would want it. For instance, Ridgway is happy with their 501c3 status. We should invite them to join, though.
3. Each member will have its own fiscal policy that should include its fiscal relationship with the Coalition via a Contract (see Appendix). They will have a separate bank account. They will be able to obtain funding via proposals, donations, and fundraising.
4. All proposals should be coordinated by the Coalition to avoid competition among members.
5. The Coalition can obtain funding from proposals, donations, and fundraising.
6. The Coalition, at its discretion, can fund Member organizations.
7. The Contract will require that Members submit their financial reports to the Coalition on a semi-annual basis. The final report, due January 15th in the next fiscal year, is what will be used to report to the IRS via form N-990.
ARTICLE XII: PROPOSAL POLICY
To Coordinate Grant Proposals for effective funding for the Coalition and Members
In order to keep good relations among Members and Funding/Granting Agencies (FGA), we should coordinate all proposals to FGA.
If the Coalition and Members go out on their own, it is likely they will: a) compete against one another and/or b) overwhelm an FGA with multiple requests which they can easily see are
coming from the same group. Both outcomes are detrimental to the Coalition’s goal to preserve the night sky. It should be noted that the Coalition intends to have a Special Fund to help
Members with particular needs, for instance to cover emergency or “short-fuse” situations, as approved by the Coalition Board of Directors (CBOD). This Fund can be funded by grants from
FGAs. Additionally, as covered in Policy Pt. #1 below, Members can make specific proposal requests through the Coalition.
1. The Coalition can coordinate with a Member to include a Member’s requests on a specific grant proposal by the Coalition. Members can contribute to the proposal writing.
2. If a Member makes a funding request through a Coalition proposal, it is free to ask for a review of the proposal before it is submitted. Any changes must be agreed upon by both parties. Each Coalition proposal shall be approved by the CBOD.
3. The Coalition website will have a folder that will show all FGAs available for funding the Coalition and its Members. If the CBOD or a Member Board of Directors (MBOD) want to propose to one of them or ask for a permanent slot, the MBOD should contact the CBOD to let them know and it should be indicated on this folder spreadsheet. The CBOD at a regular meeting will accept or reject a request. A MBOD representative is welcome to attend the CBOD meeting to make its case by requesting a place on the meeting agenda. The CBOD will decide by the next monthly meeting and may request additional information from the MBOD. If the request is rejected, the CBOD will immediately contact the Executive of that MBOD with the decision and the reason why it was decided. Appeals can be made in a timely way to the CBOD for review of the decision.
4. Each Member will submit a separate budget request to the proposal submitted by the Coalition. The proposal budget sheet will show this breakdown of Member budget and Coalition budget. Funds will be disbursed to the Member by the Coalition in accordance with the budget request. If the final grant is less than requested, each budget can be adjusted by the Member to reach the proportional reduction of all requests to meet the final grant amount.
TYPES OF DARK SKY PLACES
- International Dark Sky Communities:
Communities are legally organized cities and towns that adopt quality outdoor lighting ordinances and undertake efforts to educate residents about the importance of dark skies.
- International Dark Sky Reserves:
Reserves consist of a dark “core” zone surrounded by a populated periphery where policy controls are enacted to protect the darkness of the core.
- International Dark Sky Parks:
Parks are publicly- or privately-owned spaces protected for natural conservation that implement good outdoor lighting and provide dark sky programs for visitors.
- International Dark Sky Sanctuaries:
Sanctuaries are the most remote (and often darkest) places in the world whose conservation state is most fragile.