Sleeping Bear Dunes host “Night Sky Navigators” workshop

From staff reports

Thanks to grant funding from the National Park Foundation’s Open Outdoors for Kids initiative, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is expanding night sky educational programming with a teacher workshop and a series of night sky themed daytime events open to both local schools and the public.

On Saturday, Aug. 19, a ranger-led “Night Sky Navigator” teacher workshop will be held at the Dune Climb from 4-6 p.m. Educators will receive training on classroom lessons and conduct a lighting audit. Rangers will also share information on field trip options for the September event series. Participants will be served a light dinner, a stipend, and can earn two State Continuing Education Clock Hours for completing the workshop. Interested educators should email Drea Weiner, MiSTEM Network Regional Director of Northwest Education Services at to sign up.

Attention 4th and 5th grade teachers: Looking to meet Michigan Science Standards while also giving your students a hands-on experience they will never forget? Sign up for a ranger-led “Night Sky Navigators” field trip to the National Lakeshore. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day from Wednesday, Sept. 20, until Saturday, Sept. 23. The first three days (Sept. 20-22) are reserved for schools to register field trips, while the last day (Sept. 23) will be open to the public. Interested schools should contact the National Lakeshore’s Education Team at Reimbursement for bus transportation is available and will be awarded based on predetermined selective criteria. For those interested in participating in the public-facing event on Saturday, Sept. 23, look for the “Bear Force One” mobile visitor center van on the grass in front of the Dune Climb. Rangers there will have workbooks that correspond with the stations and additional information participants will need to get started.

Starry night skies and natural darkness are important components of the special places the National Park Service (NPS) protects. NPS sites hold some of the last remaining harbors of darkness and provide an excellent opportunity to experience this endangered resource. For more information on the Open Outdoors for Kids initiative, visit

All night sky programs offered by the National Lakeshore are free. Participants need only purchase the park entrance pass or have an annual pass displayed in their vehicle to join in the fun. Programs will be cancelled in the case of thunder and/or heavy rain.