Lights out, Farmington Hills

City to participate in Earth Hour 2015

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published March 18, 2015

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FARMINGTON HILLS — Time to turn off the lights, Farmington Hills, and get ready for Earth Hour 2015.

“It is a great use of time. It gets you outside and gets you to see things you can’t necessarily see when the lights are on,” said Nate Geinzer, assistant to the Farmington Hills city manager.

During Earth Hour 2015, all nonessential indoor and outdoor lighting on city-owned property will be off from 8:30-9:30 p.m. March 28. City officials said this year’s event is particularly important because Farmington Hills  — along with Farmington and Farmington Public Schools — is competing for the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize. The national competition leads the community toward reducing energy usage and focusing on sustainable practices, according to a press release. 

The Farmington Hills Special Services Division has planned “One Starry Night” to recognize Earth Hour  from 7:30-9:30 p.m. March 28 at the Nature Center in Heritage Park. Participants will turn off lights and venture outside to explore the cosmos. Local astronomers will explain the planets, the stars and the phases of the moon, with a telescope set up to view the starry night sky, Farmington Hills Nature Center Supervisor Ashlie Smith said of the fourth annual event.

“We’ve done the event in celebration with Earth Hour,” Smith said. “Initially, it started because we wanted to have something fun for folks to do, and it would be really fun for people to get outside and do some observations.”

Children can create a star craft to take home, and Smith said local astronomers will bring their telescopes to watch the night sky.

“(We) thought it was a cool way to educate people about (Earth Hour),” Smith said. “It is a great way for folks to learn more about Earth Hour.”

In addition to looking up, attendees can trek through Heritage Park listening for nocturnal animals during a short night hike.

Earth Hour, an international event sponsored by the World Wildlife Federation, is “designed to express global solidarity in the commitment to controlling climate change,” according to a press release. Earth Hour 2015 will take place starting at 8:30 p.m. local time. 

Major U.S. cities participating include Washington, D.C.; Chicago; New York; and Las Vegas, according to the press release. 

Earth Hour started in Sydney in 2007, when people at 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. The act of turning off the lights has since expanded into a global movement, with more than 1 billion supporters in 162 countries turning off their lights for Earth Hour 2015. 

Geinzer said “every little piece adds up,” and turning off the lights is part of that during Earth Hour. 

He added that although the city might not be able to see the energy results in its aggregate data, “every action creates a benefit.”

“That is the whole point of Earth Hour, really,” he said. “When you think about the billions of people on our planet, if you can get even a fraction of those people to turn off their lights, electronics for an hour, (it) can make a significant savings.”

“One Starry Night” is for people ages 5 and older. The fee is $5 per person, or $15 for a family of four. 

Register at recregfhgov.com or at the Costick Center, 28600 W. 11 Mile Road,  from 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and until 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.

A celebration for Earth Day will take place from 5-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 22 at Heritage Park.  This annual event will feature a concert by children’s musician Joe Reilly, whose albums include “Children of the Earth” and “Let’s Go Outside.”

For more information about Earth Hour, visit www.earthhou rus.org.

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