Weekly column by Kāpiti's Greater Wellington Regional Council representative Penny Gaylor.

Suddenly it's August, my birthday month, but more excitingly the days are getting that little bit longer and I've been noticing darkness falling ever so slightly later.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the annual Biosecurity Week held at the end of July.

And this week a new tac again.

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Greater Wellington Regional Council has created a series of Dark Sky events over the hill in the Wainuiomata Recreation Area to celebrate and emphasise the importance of protecting our night skies and biodiversity.

As one of our GWRC park rangers recently observed, light pollution is a very real threat to native species, and it's important the new generation values the crucial role of night-time ecosystems.

Like many I'm sure, I hadn't appreciated that artificial light disrupts ecosystems by affecting species' reproduction cycles, feeding behaviours, sleep, navigational abilities and safety from predators.

I recall that when we had conversations on the Kāpiti Coast about light spill from the new expressway there was mainly the focus on the impact on human residents - not necessarily our animal residents.

The four Dark Skies events are in partnership with Wellington Astronomical Society, and will cover a range of activities from star gazing, night-time photography and insights into Māori astronomy.

Last week, the first event Night Time Mysteries was held at the Wainuiomata-Orongorongo water collection area's focusing on the forest at night, water history and the conservation under way for North Island brown kiwi, which is carried out by Remutaka Conservation Trust.

The next event will be on Saturday, August 22, from 6pm-8pm.

For more information on Greater Wellington's next Dark Sky event visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/1418037441720575/, or to learn about the Dark Sky initiative https://www.darksky.org/.

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