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For the more information about natural sounds and night skies in the National Park Service, please visit

Global Explorers Night Skies Student Contest

night sky at Arches National Park
Night sky at Arches National Park. NPS Photo.

The National Park Service works closely with the nonprofit group Global Explorers to help increase awareness and understanding of the night sky as well as soundscapes. The Global Explorers - Natural Sounds and Night Skies Partnership creates opportunities for youth stewardship and engagement through its academy program and expeditions. The partnership introduces young people, including youth from underserved communities or with physical challenges, who may never have visited national parks, to travel and experience these natural treasures not just as visitors but as scientists and explorers. Through Global Explorers, youth learn about the importance of natural sounds and night skies, instilling in them a lifelong passion for environmental sustainability and stewardship.

One component of this exciting collaboration is the second annual Night Skies Contest. 72 photo and essay entries were submitted by students aged 12-21 in response to the question, "What do you think about when you look into the night sky?" Public voting by 11,500 unique web visitors determined the four winners.

To view this year's winning entries and learn more about how you can get involved, please visit!

The Day the Lights Went Out is Global Explorers' evocative parable on the loss of the night sky. The introspective two-minute video was inspired by the organization’s experience taking young people into parks to experience starry nights, some for the first time. Watch the video below.