Harry P. "Chip" Harrison, operations manager of the Hills Creek State Park Complex, and his wife, Maxine Harrison, director of the Cherry Springs State Park Dark-Sky Fund Association, received an award on Sept. 6 for their "steadfast adherence and active promotion of the principles of responsible outdoor lighting at Cherry Springs State Park."
The award was given by the Pennsylvania Outdoor Lighting Council.
"The Harrisons have established and enforced standards in the park for low levels of glare-free lighting that operates only when needed," according to a news release from the council. "They have worked with local legislators to get lighting ordinances passed and provided educational materials for use by residents and businesses in the vicinity. Their efforts were recently recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association in designating the park as a Gold Tier International Dark-Sky Park, the first to be so designated in the U.S."
Harry P. “Chip” Harrison and his wife, Maxine, show the plaque they have received from the Pennsylvania Outdoor Lighting Council in recognition of their work at Cherry Springs State Park. At the park, which is known for its unusually dark skies, Maxine Harrison serves at director of the park’s Dark-Sky Fund Association. Chip is operations manager of the Hills Creek State Park complex.
Stargazers and astronomers gather at Cherry Springs State Park to view the unusually dark skies, which are said to be among the least light-polluted skies in the East Coast.
"Thousands of astronomers come to visit Cherry Springs and, in the course of their visit, they spend money buying gas, groceries, lodging and dining dollars in the area, all because we are committed to keeping the dark night sky just that dark," Maxine Harrison said.
The Pennsylvania Outdoor Lighting Council, Pennsylvania Section of the International Dark-Sky Association, is a not-for-profit volunteer organization. Its aim is not only to protect the night sky but also to promote the use of energy-efficient lighting and protect the citizens of Pennsylvania and its natural environment from the negative consequences of bad lighting.
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The International Dark-Sky Association, based in Phoenix, Ariz., has more than 11,000 members worldwide.