International Dark-Sky Association’s Mission
- Advocate for the protection of the night sky
- Educate the public and policymakers about night sky conservation
- Promote environmentally responsible outdoor lighting
- Empower the public with the tools and resources to help bring back the night
About the IDA Utah Chapter
The Utah Chapter of the International Dark-Sky Association works to protect Utah’s heritage of star-filled night skies. The chapter is an all-volunteer, educational group working with businesses, towns, municipalities, groups and individuals to keep our rural night skies dark and full of stars, and to help Utahns tackle light pollution issues in our towns and cities.
board of directors
The IDA Utah Board of Directors is an all-volunteer group of dedicated night sky defenders.
Aaron Dekeyzer is excited and honored to lead the Board. Since becoming a member of the IDA at the 2018 Annual General Meeting, Aaron has worked diligently toward the formation of the Board, and with local municipalities for appropriate lighting ordinances and overlay zones. Aaron serves as the Chair of the Sandy City Sustainability Focus Group, where he collected resident survey data on streetlights that he presented at the 68th UN Civil Society Conference. He also serves as the Board President of the Utah Society for Environmental Education and teaches ecological principles in elementary schools. Aaron is passionate about dark skies and believes in the IDA mission “to preserve and protect the nighttime environment and our heritage of dark skies through environmentally responsible outdoor lighting.” Aaron has a Masters Degree in Transpersonal Ecopsychology and a certificate in Smart City Design and Technology from MIT. He is a Realtor® with Living Wasatch at Equity Real Estate and holds the GREEN Designation from the National Association of Realtors®. He likes to get away from the buzz of the city and spend quality time with his family camping, hiking, exploring, and stargazing. Aaron is an amateur astrophotographer and also enjoys bird watching, playing games like chess and go, and rocking out to concerts in gardens.
Jess Cleeves holds a Master’s of Teaching from Stanford University and a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Utah. As a secondary science teacher for over a decade, Jess earned National Board Certification to support her students in Title 1, Title 3, and Title 6 classrooms in California, Colorado, and Utah. While Jess is proud of the number of protected dark-sky places in Utah, her focus is towards replicable, urban-centric natural night campaigns rooted in ecological equity and broad social inclusion. Currently the Associate Director for Equitable Instruction and Clinical Support at the University of Utah’s Center for Science and Mathematics Education, Jess brings her longstanding commitment to connecting underserved communities to the natural world to her work on the IDA Board of Directors. Jess’ skills in grant and project management, curriculum and instructional design, and community organizing have supported her leadership in the Utah IDA chapter as well as on the IDA Board of Directors.
Secretary & Membership Coordinator
Meg Osswald is a native Utahn passionate about preserving Utah’s unique natural wonders to ensure their existence for current and future generations. She graduated from S.J. Quinney College of Law with a Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Westminster College. In her day job as Assistant Attorney General, Meg practices environmental law relating to environmental regulatory compliance and environmental enforcement on behalf of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. Meg is enthusiastic about applying her skills to the unrelated yet also very important task of furthering the Utah IDA Chapter’s mission to protect Utah’s dark skies.
Treasurer & Outreach Coordinator
Cooper Farr is the Director of Conservation at Tracy Aviary, where she coordinates Tracy Aviary’s many avian conservation initiatives, allocates grants through Tracy Aviary’s Conservation Fund program, and implements a number of community science projects throughout Salt Lake County. Cooper has been dedicated to protecting the night sky throughout her time at the Aviary, and is especially passionate about engaging the community in research and local actions. She currently runs a community science research program studying the impact of light pollution on migratory birds in Salt Lake City, UT, and leads Lights Out Salt Lake: a strategic campaign to keep the city’s skies darker during spring and fall to help protect migratory birds.
Anil Seth, University of Utah Physics & Astronomy Department
Duke Johnson, Clark Planetarium
Devaki Ananda Murch, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance
Cassidy Jones, National Parks Conservation Association
Heidi Hoven, National Audubon Society
Curtis MacDonald, Utah Valley Astronomy Club
Wayne Washer, Salt Lake Astronomical Society
Crystal White, Dead Horse State Park
Ryan Andreasen, Dark Sky Layton
Vellachi Ganesan, Spectrum Engineers