Starry Skies Articles

The Starry Skies Initiative celebrates the night sky over the Apostle Islands and seeks ways to protect the view for generations to come. Securing Dark Sky Park status for the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is one of the goals. Find basic information about the Initiative here.

Celebrate the northern lights by giving back to the night sky

Celebrate the northern lights by giving back to the night sky

They were beautiful, one of the greatest aurora displays in decades with the sun sending at least five immense CME’s (coronal mass ejections) streaming towards the earth, creating a G5 Auroral Storm that made the northern lights visible to a wider swath of the world than we have seen in decades.Northern lights over the Apostle Islands - Jeff Rennicke photosThe sky danced. Not just over the Apostle Islands but as far south as Florida and Texas here in the U.S. and around the world. They shone over the battlefield in Ukraine. The sky glowed pink in Tyrol, Austria. Airline passengers looked out...

Faces of Friends: artisan Kate Clark supports starry skies

Faces of Friends: artisan Kate Clark supports starry skies

You don’t have to look far to enjoy the beauty of the night sky in the Apostle Islands, just look up. When Friends wanted a design to depict that beauty for our Starry Skies Initiative, we didn’t have to look far either. We turned to Penny Print Studio, a local boutique, print shop, artisan studio, and creative hub located right on Bayfield’s Manypenny Avenue established in 2022 by Friends supporters Kate and Abe Clark.Penny Print Studio in BayfieldWorking with local artist Kara Fleming and doing the printing by hand and right on site, Penny Print designed a unique, one-of-a-kind logo for...

Dark Sky Week: from the first lighthouse beacon to the starry skies of today and beyond

Dark Sky Week: from the first lighthouse beacon to the starry skies of today and beyond

Michigan Island Lighthouse - 1913 - NPS photoThe first brilliant beam pierced the ink black skies over the Apostle Islands like a lightning bolt. The year was 1856, when the first keeper lighted the lamp atop the original Michigan Island lighthouse for the first time. In the years that followed, keepers lit a constellation of new lights on Long, Raspberry, Outer, Sand, Devils and Michigan Islands.All of the light stations built in the late 1800s and early 1900s were designed to help mariners navigate their way around the Apostle Islands while avoiding dangerous shoals in the dark of night....

How you can celebrate International Dark Sky Week in and around the Apostle Islands

How you can celebrate International Dark Sky Week in and around the Apostle Islands

International Dark Sky Week draws worldwide attention to light pollution, promotes simple solutions and celebrates the irreplaceable beauty of a natural night. High school student Jennifer Barlow started International Dark Sky Week (IDSW) in 2003. In explaining why she founded the event, Barlow said, “I want people to be able to see the wonder of the night sky without the effects of light pollution. The universe is our view into our past and our vision into the future. I want to help preserve its wonder.”Here are some ways you can discover the nightGet outside at night with friends and...

Canoecopia 2024 includes presentations on protecting our Starry Skies, paddling the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Canoecopia 2024 includes presentations on protecting our Starry Skies, paddling the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

If paddling the spectacular sea caves in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is on your bucket list, we invite you to see us at Canoecopia in Madison, Wisconsin, March 8-10, 2024. This annual event includes more than 100 educational presentations and clinics on kayaking, canoeing and related topics, including presentations by Friends Executive Director Jeff Rennicke and Ranger Steve Ballou of the National Park Service. You'll also be able to learn from the experts what gear you need to safely explore the islands.Alliant Energy Center1919 Alliant Energy WayEvent host Rutabaga Paddlesports...

Reading the sacred skies: new book offered by Friends

Reading the sacred skies: new book offered by Friends

Since long before books, humans have turned to the night sky to read portends, seek beauty and meaning, and to find their place in the universe. A new book, now offered on the Friends’ website, speaks to both the human connection to the night sky and hopes for its protection.Spirits Dancing: The Night Sky, Indigenous Knowledge, & Living Connections to the Cosmos features the photography of Travis Novitsky and text by Annette S. Lee. Novitsky, a member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, uses his lens to capture the awe and wonder of the northern lights. Lee, both an...

Bayfield’s Carnegie Library embraces dark sky protection with planned lighting changes

Bayfield’s Carnegie Library embraces dark sky protection with planned lighting changes

Teresa Weber, Library DirectorBayfield Carnegie Library’s motto is “A compass for curious minds.” One of the primary goals of library director Teresa Weber is to enlighten the public. Right now, Teresa is also trying to “enlighten” the walkways leading to the library without negatively impacting the dark skies over the city. Teresa recently spoke with Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore board member Neil Howk about this upcoming project. Neil also serves on the library board.Neil: What do you know about the history of the lamp poles presently at the library?Teresa: I have some...

Stories that capture the wonder and the possibilities of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are most-read in 2023

Stories that capture the wonder and the possibilities of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are most-read in 2023

As we raise a glass to embrace the new year, we look back fondly on the momentus year that was 2023 for Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and for the park we love. Thanks to your support, hard work by a growing team of passionate volunteers and by the Friends leadership team, we have a lot to celebrate. With your support we helped more people discover the islands, learn about them, and work to protect them than ever before. We set a record for membership, did more outreach trips, more programs, and successfully completed the largest initiative in our organization’s history:...

Treasures of the night: Friends to focus on protecting the night sky over the Apostle Islands in 2024 and beyond

Treasures of the night: Friends to focus on protecting the night sky over the Apostle Islands in 2024 and beyond

It begins with a faint glimmer, just a hint of brightness on the northern horizon, then builds, rising like an aria. Soon, the night sky is glowing green and red, dancing with light, shimmering like diamonds. The aurora is out. The northern lights are gleaming above the Apostle Islands. Aurora over Honeymoon Rock - Jeff Rennicke photo“To watch the white sail of a full moon gliding across the stars or see the brushstroke of the Milky Way or the flicker of northern lights painting the night sky is to witness one of true the wonders of the world, a gift of nature,” says Jeff Rennicke, Executive...

Northern lights celebrated during 6th annual Aurora Summit at Red Cliff

Northern lights celebrated during 6th annual Aurora Summit at Red Cliff

The weekend of November 3-5th saw one of North America’s largest displays of aurora borealis (northern lights) this year, visible as far south as Colorado. While clouds obscured the display in the Apostle Islands, even cloudy skies could not dampen the enthusiasm of the several hundred skywatchers gathered at the Legendary Waters Resort in Red Cliff for Aurora Summit 23.“The Aurora Chasers knocked it out of this world over the weekend at Aurora Summit 23,” said Melissa Kaelin, co-founder of the Aurora Summit, and author of Below the 45th Parallel: The Beginners Guide to Chasing the Aurora in...