Lights Out Las Cruces---Work Page
Since the MVAS Proclamation was presented to the City Council and County Commission, the committee has been communicating regularly. We have taken a night’s ride around town looking for aberrant lighting that distracts birds from their mission and in too many cases can lead to their death. Meeting with the Las Cruces City Codes Enforcement representative informed the group how city light codes are enforced. Letters to other local cities have been sent to their governments to check for activity there and to check for interest in a regional Lights Out campaign.
The main goal for the committee now is to raise public awareness of the risks to birds during their biannual migrations. It has been shown that when people are aware of what they can do to help, good things happen. The main contribution we can all make is to control our own night lighting. The steps are easy and most of the time they save us money. A quick list follows:
Do an audit of your home lighting and follow best practices:
• Don’t overlight with excessively bright lights. Use only the minimum number of lumens needed for the application.
• Make sure outside lights aim down and are well-shielded (using full cut-off fixtures) so that they don’t create light trespass or glare.
• Turn off your outdoor lights when not in use or install motion sensors
• When converting outdoor lights to LED, choose “warm” color temperature bulbs (3,000 Kelvins or less).
If you are a building manager or business owner, make sure your night lighting is in compliance with city or county codes and that you do all you can to minimize nighttime glare.
In the coming months, the committee will have a booth at the Las Cruces Saturday Market to inform a broader audience of our mission. We would like to coordinate with others in las Cruces and elsewhere in southern New Mexico to maximize our impact on all the stray lighting that imperils birds at night.
References of interest to individuals and communities interested in Lights Out initiatives:
National Audubon Society: Migratory Bird Initiative | Audubon In this reference, National Audubon Society makes its case for the public to emphasize the dangers inherent in bird migration in a world that is so dramatically changed from when migratory behavior first became an embedded instinct. Light pollution is a big problem with some easy solutions that can help the birds.
International Dark Sky Organization: darksky.org. This website is totally devoted to addressing the problem of excessive night lighting. There are many sections of interest. Check out the Lighting Section if you are addressing your outdoor lights.
Lights Out Flagstaff | City of Flagstaff Official Website (az.gov). This is a reference that shows what a community can do to address night lighting effectively, city-wide. While Flagstaff was the first city to do so, there are now many urban centers that have joined the Lights Out Community.
Lights Out Texas – Texan By Nature This website is a very user-friendly source of information for individuals that are new to this movement and has some great ideas for visitors interested in becoming part of the team.
For individuals interested in the Lights Out las Cruces initiative, we invite you to join Mesilla Valley Audubon Society and become a member of our Lights Out committee. If you would rather not join MVAS (and that is OK), and you have some suggestions or observations you would like to share, or if you would like to be on a mailing list to keep posted on our progress, we invite you to fill out the form below. In advance, thank you very much.
If you are a member of another organization that might be interested in working with Mesilla Valley Audubon Society, please let us know via the contact form. If you are a building owner or manager and have responses to this material, we would be very interested in hearing from you as well. We are all in this together.