Bird Refuge to host a stargazing event

Bryce Passey, an Environmental Education Specialist at the federal facility, holds a poster made to let the public know about a star gazing event at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge with musician Connor Youngblood. Youngblood was inspired by a previous trip to the Bird Refuge and wrote some music that fits the area.

The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, just outside of Brigham City, will host a Stargazing Music & Dark Skies event on Saturday, June 22. The evening will include a 7 p.m. social hour with Conner Youngblood, a musician who will perform that evening at the Visitor Center.

Tennessee-born musician Conner Youngblood spent five days filming and birding at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Utah last year. Photo: Trevor Paulhus for Audubon Magazine

“We have cluster activities,” Kathi Stopher of the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge said.

We are hoping for really good turn out and good weather for amateur stargazers and anybody else who wants to have a dark sky.

At 8 p.m., the nature-inspired music of Connor Youngblood will be playing at the visitor center auditorium. He performs indie nature-inspired music. He will perform until the star gazing at nine.

Bryce Passey, an Environmental Education Specialist at the federal facility, said Youngblood had been there before and was inspired by the place.

“He fell in love with the Bird Refuge,” Passey said. “And we all fell in love with him.”

Youngblood’s music combines lyrics and sounds to paint a vivid picture that is ambient, yet still focused. His productions results in a sound bigger than your typical singer / songwriter. Youngblood combines influences, from bluegrass to hip-hop, with very eclectic instrumentation. Youngblood has carved out his own niche.

He released his sophomore “EP the Generation of Lift” in the Fall of 2015. Youngblood self-produces his music with a five-track compilation, showing his ability as a songwriter and his musical skills and knowledge of roughly 30 instruments over the course of its 18-minute run time.

When he came to the refuge before, Youngblood was inspired to write some original music.

“His music seems to complement what we are doing,” Stopher said. “This is our first dark skies event. We’ve invited the Salt Lake Astronomy Society and Leo T. Starwatcher.”

Starwatcher is known for telling stories about the constellations.

“We want to be a part of bringing an awareness of Dark Skies,” she said. “This is the very first for the refuge, and for me.”

There are 14 places in Utah certified Dark Sky places.

I would like to get the Bird Refuge registered as a Dark Skies place,” Stopher said. “We are far enough out of Brigham City that there is no light pollution.”

Dark Skies Places have their  own kind of tourism.

After the concert, those in attendance can leave the visitor center and gather at the viewing tower, some 12 miles away. Plan on bringing lawn chairs, binoculars or telescopes.

There will be a star gazing event at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, just outside of Brigham City. The evening will include a 7 p.m. social hour with musician Conner Youngblood, who will perform that evening at the Visitor Center.

“We will have telescopes set up for people to use if they don’t have their own,” Passey said.

“We are incredibly excited to have this activity,” Stopher said. “It’s a lot darker when you get away from the city lights.”

The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge Visitor Center is located at 2155 West Forest Street (one quarter mile west of I-15, exit 363) in Brigham City, Utah.

The event is sponsored by the Friends of Bear River Refuge and Box Elder County Tourism.

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