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Region to host dark sky conference

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By Joseph Gartly
Dumfries and West

GALLOWAY and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere is to be the location for Europe's first ever Dark Sky Park conference.

The event, being held 20-22 September 2017, will bring together some of the world’s top dark sky experts with the aim of promoting rural development, tourism and tackling light pollution issues.
Forest Enterprise Scotland’s visitor services manager Keith Muir said: “Galloway Forest Park was the first area in Europe to achieve Dark Sky Park status and we are keen to share our experience and learn from others by being the first in Europe to host such a major conference.
“This is really good news for putting the south west of Scotland on the map as an international stargazing destination.”
Astronomers, town planners, lighting specialists, environmentalist and academics will attend the international conference at the Cally Palace Hotel to discuss the benefits that Dark Sky status can bring.
The conference is being organised by Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere, the International Dark Sky Association and Forest Enterprise Scotland, which manages the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park.
Forming the heart of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere, the Galloway Forest Park is equal in size to about 75,000 football pitches and was designated Dark Sky Status back in November 2009.

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