In August, we checked out the Julian Natural Wonderfest, an event focused on connecting with and learning about nature and the dark sky. Julian is a designated Dark Sky town, which means it tries to limit the amount of light pollution at night. The result is a community that embraces and supports the dark sky. So dark, in fact, you can see the Milky Way with the naked eye on a clear night. That’s no small feat in Southern California where Los Angeles light pollution ranges 270 miles.

The event started in the late afternoon with tons of animals to see and learn about. We saw opossums, hawks, foxes, snakes, turtles, owls, and Mexican grey wolves (which they are trying to reintroduce into the Southern California ecosystem). We even got to feed the opossum! We also learned a lot about the natural habitats of many of these animals and how our actions can greatly impact their lives.

Once the sun gave us a beautiful sunset, a band played followed by a interactive star tutorial with a local star enthusiast and a high-powered laser pointer. We were able to see the Milky Way, Sagittarius and the Big Dipper just to name a few. The best part is that we now know where we can go to take some night photography shots.

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