Photo Credit: "Meteor Maiden" by PJ Lenahan

Beautify Cambria’s first annual “Savor the Stars” fundraiser last Saturday attracted attendees from Cambria and beyond the region for an evening of stargazing, learning about the cosmos, and enjoying celestial-themed food and drinks. “It was definitely the event of the year,” said Cambria resident Julia Stanert.  “We are thrilled that so many people came out to support us,” said Beautify Cambria (BCA) president Claudia Harmon Worthen. “People are beginning to realize what a precious resource we have in the night sky and that we must take action to preserve and restore it.”

     The event featured a silent auction, with proceeds going toward BCA’s Dark Skies initiative, which aims to secure certification for Cambria as an International Dark Sky Community.  “Certification keeps you on your toes,” noted Worthen. “You have to be vigilant about maintaining the lowest possible levels of light pollution.”  To achieve that in Cambria’s business district, BCA is establishing a fund to help downtown businesses upgrade to Dark Sky-friendly lighting.  Said Worthen, “We’d like to thank everyone who attended Savor the Stars for helping make the fund possible.”

     The evening included a big-screen slideshow of some of the most stunning objects in the cosmos, high-resolution photos taken by local amateur astronomers, live viewing of our neighboring planets through powerful telescopes, and a tour of the night sky.  “Many had never seen the Moon, Jupiter or Saturn through a telescope before,” said Dave Majors, a local amateur astronomer.  “Jupiter in particular generated the ‘wows’ when people saw the cloud bands and moons they had only seen in pictures.” Amateur astronomer Scott Beer had a similar experience, listening to people “ooh and aah when they for the first time looked at objects that they always knew existed, and then walking down the hill commenting about ‘Oh my god, we need a telescope!’”

     “We had an amazing team,” said Worthen.  “I’d like to thank presenters Bryan Cogdell, Peter Bressler, Dave Majors, and Catherine Ryan Hyde; photo contributors TJ Lenahan, Paul Wilson, Norm Hammond and Phil Klein; and volunteers Scott Beer, Chantal Donahue, Paul Wilson, Mary Powers, Ron Easley, Harry Farmer, Lucille Bosco, Cindy Gustafson, Ronnie Barry, Linda Haskins, Clint Parsons, and more. And a special thank you to Scott McMillan!”