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Elk Island National Park

2014 Calendar of Events

Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve Annual Star Party
“The Brighter Side of Night” Star Party

Sunday August 31, 2014

Aurora Borealis and Ursa Major over Elk Island National Park

Elk Island National Park is a founding member of the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve, a designation given to areas that work to manage light sources in order to preserve views of the night sky. On Sunday, August 31st, Elk Island will host the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve 9th annual event, celebrating the wonders of the night sky. Join us for a celestial celebration of culture, community and conservation!

The Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve anniversary will feature special astronomy presentations and public stargazing with Royal Astronomical Society of Canada volunteers. Watch this page for a schedule of events and guest speakers.

The Main Stage

BISON WILL RISE AGAIN The Musical (NEW this summer)


Bibi the Bison sings in Bison Will Rise Again: The Musical at Elk Island National Park.
© Parks Canada

Canada's Bison Musical! Come and see Bibi Bison's debut as songstress and star of the plains as Queen of the Herd! Join Parks Canada interpreters for a live performance celebrating how Elk Island National Park contributed to the survival of plains bison.

The Misery Mountain Boys perform live in Elk Island National Park 
© Janet and Jon Giles

The Misery Mountain Boys

15:00 – 18:00

Founded on the shores of the Mighty Peace River in 2011, the Misery Mountain Boys combine solid musicianship with good, honest music that stems from a simpler time. With steady rhythms, hot breaks, and tight harmonies, the group stays true to old time tradition, however often takes their bluegrass instrumentation to more creative places, and unexpected genres. 

Astronomy Field

Solar Astronomy

15:00 – 20:00

Join Royal Astronomical Society volunteer astronomers in the astronomy field and see the sun like you’ve never seen it before. Volunteers will be using a variety of specialized filters and telescopes to gaze at our planet’s closest star, the sun.

Star Gazing

21:30 – 23:00

Dedicated Royal Astronomical Society volunteer astronomers continue the star gazing fun into the night. See the wonders of the universe and learn about the cosmos in the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve.

Programs and Activities

The Great Northern Discovery Dome

14:00 – 18:00

Wood Buffalo National Park aurora
© Parks Canada / John David McKinnon

Wood Buffalo National Park's Great Northern Discover Dome will take you on a 360 degree journey through the stars with a special stop at the World's Largest Dark Sky Preserve.

Extra Planetary Fun!

14:00 – 16:00

Join the Alberta Science Network in the solar tent and throw your ideas into the mix. Create a new family of exo-planets around an imaginary star and learn some facts about known extra-solar planets along the way.

Solar System Race


How well do you know the planets in your own neighborhood in Space? How fast can you run? Join a team by signing visiting the Extra Planetary Fun exhibit between 2 – 3:30pm and signing up for the Solar system race! Then take a run at the Solar System Races for kids (6-12 yrs.) at 4:00 pm.

Indigenous Crafts and Knowledge Display

Indigenousness programming in the Teepee at Elk Island National Park
© Parks Canada

15:30– 18:00

I bet your boots would look better beaded! Try your hand at Aboriginal crafts. Materials Provided. While you are crafting Parks Canada staff will share traditional knowledge about how aboriginal people used plants for medicine and food and what steps were taken by aboriginal people to prepare for winter.

Face Painting and Yard Games

14:00 – 16:00

Face painting and classic yard games like sack races and bean bag toss round out the afternoon events at the at the Brighter Side of night Star Party.

Red Light Flashlight Making

20:00 – 22:30

Convert your ordinary flashlight into a red light flashlight. Bright white light can interfere with night vision and astronomy activities. By adding a red filter you your flashlight your evening astronomy activities will be a lot more enjoyable.

Special Guest Presentations

Solar Astronomy with Stephen Ramsden


Join special guest and solar astronomy expert Stephen Ramsden on the astronomy field as he displays the latest in solar viewing technology and shares tips and techniques for safely viewing the sun.

Astotin Theatre Guest Speakers

Beaver Hills Preserve Partner Presentations


Join some of the Dark Sky Preserve partners as they share stories about what goes on after dark in their part of the Beaver Hills.

Key Note Speaker:
Solar Astronomy with Stephen Ramsden 


What’s hot on the sun this summer? Everything!
Join our special guest, solar astronomy expert and founder of the Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project, Stephen Ramsden and discover the latest in solar current events. Stephen Ramsden Holds professional titles in astrophysics, nuclear propulsion, aviation safety, heliophysics, air traffic control, meteorology, and advanced STEM education. Ramsden’s lectures cover the importance of science education in the community and the physics, features and imaging/observing methods used in modern Solar Astronomy.

Exo-Planets with Dr. Stefan Cartledge PHD


Discover new worlds and explore the universe with Dr. Stefan Cartledge PHD. Stefan Cartledge received his PHD in Astrophysics from the Northwestern University. Dr. Cartledge has taught at MacEwan University for the last 5 years.

Member Displays

14:00 – 18:00

Enjoy displays from and chat with a number of the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve member organizations. Displays at this year’s anniversary event include Elk Island National Park, Miquelon Lake Provincial Park, Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, Strathcona Wilderness Centre and The Beaver Hills Initiative.