As the official nonprofit partner to the National Park Service for the Santa Monica Mountains, the Santa Monica Mountains Fund is a Southern California-based not-for-profit entity committed to supporting the National Park Service and the California State Parks in their missions to provide for resource protection, wildlife preservation and public enjoyment of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Those eager to learn about one of this nation’s most significant yet often-overlooked national parks will find much to love here, while absorbing all there is to know about the Santa Monica Mountains Fund’s efforts to help ensure its continued existence for the appreciation of present and future generations.

What will also be quickly discovered by those learning about the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Areaare the myriad of exciting events, programs and happenings provided by some 39 cooperating agencies and nonprofit organizations that truly make this venue special – among them the free Night Sky Festival, set to return to this beautiful backdrop on Saturday, July 22 with a roster of summertime events near Woodland Hills. Indeed, with the new moon set to illuminate the Southern California sky that evening, the Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower nearing its peak and the total solar eclipse scheduled for next month, the National Park Service is expecting quite the show for this year’s Night Sky festivities.

Approximately 15 telescopes will be pointed at the other planetary bodies we share the Milky Way Galaxy with, while fun and educational children’s activities will engross the entire family in fun, including a chance for some lucky attendee to become a Night Sky Junior Ranger and door prizes for the first 100 visitors. The Festival will also feature a presentation on preserving the night sky by Dr. Travis Longcore, a recognized expert in the environmental and ecological effects of night lighting, an area of expertise that encompasses studying avian collisions with structures, attraction of insects to lights and the disruption of behavioral and physiological processes across species. As an assistant professor of Architecture, Spatial Sciences and Biological Sciences at USC, Dr. Longcore will be an element at the Night Sky Festival that is poised to keep the crowd attentive and inquisitive.

“For those who have ever looked up at the night sky and wondered about what’s above – or beyond – us, the Night Sky Festival offers the chance to experience the night sky with astronomers and discover the vast expanse beyondEarth,” states Charlotte Parry, executive director of the Santa Monica Mountains Fund“Attendees are encouraged to bring a red lens flashlight to help preserve our night vision throughout one of the most exciting events near Woodland Hills.”

The event is scheduled to run from 7:30 to 10:30 PM at Paramount Ranch, 2903 Cornell Road in Agoura, the evening kicking off with kid’s activities from 7:30 to 9:00 PM and then going on to include Native American Night Sky Stories by Hupa native Kat High from 7:30 to 8:30 PM, Preserving the Night Sky: A Presentation by Dr. Travis Longcore from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM and telescope viewing from 8:30 PM to 10:00 PM. Parking and entrance cost to one of the most educational events near Woodland Hills is free.

For more information about the 2017 Night Sky Festival visit|night-sky-festival|1078.

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