About the Montana IDA Chapter
The Montana Chapter of the International Dark Sky Association works to protect Montana’s heritage of star-filled night skies. The chapter is an all-volunteer, educational group working with businesses, towns, municipalities, groups and individuals to keep our rural night skies dark and full of stars, and to help Montanans tackle light pollution issues in our towns and cities.
Staff & Board of Directors
We are currently seeking general IDA members for positions as Board Members and Regional Coordinators from unrepresented regions of Montana. Please email us from the ‘Contact Us’ page if you or someone you know might be interested.
Board Member (Polson)
Sarah is a wildlife biologist with a Master’s degree in Biology from Kansas State University. Originally from Maryland, and having lived in Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Indiana, she is happy to have finally landed in Montana. As the Resource Conservationist for Lake County Conservation District, she delivers education and outreach to the community on conservation-related topics and assists with implementation of conservation practices throughout the county. Through the Conservation District and IDA, Sarah hopes to raise awareness of the detrimental impacts of nighttime outdoor lighting on migratory birds and the ways we can minimize those impacts. Her outdoor activities have typically taken place in daylight but she is eager to take advantage of Montana’s dark skies as a fledgling stargazer.
Board Member (Helena)
now Lee Rademaker is a park ranger in Glacier National Park where he presents traditional ranger programs and night sky programs to park visitors. He is also the Astronomy Coordinator for the park and manages the park’s new Dusty Star Observatory in St. Mary. Since becoming involved early in the process to help make Glacier an International Dark Sky Park, Lee has been part of the park’s continued push to grow the park’s astronomy program and expand visitors’ awareness of the dark sky preservation movement. He has a BS and MS from the University of Montana in the field of Recreation Resource Management and has spent the last 12 years educating the public about national parks and other protected areas. Lee is now expanding his role to include communicating the importance of fighting light pollution across the entire state.
Board Member (Ekalaka)
Sabre Moore is Executive Director for the Carter County Museum in Ekalaka. Her work focuses on developing collaborative partnerships for educational projects with Carter County Public Schools, Museum of the Rockies and Montana State Parks. Sabre was born and raised on a sheep and cattle ranch and is co-owner of Moore & Moore Livestock, LLC. She has a B.A. in History from Montana State University and a M.A. in Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management from Johns Hopkins University. Sabre enjoys hiking with her dog Carter at the nearby Medicine Rocks State Park, stargazing, and using museum objects to teach science and history to visitors from all over the world.
Board Member (Missoula)
Diane Friend earned a B.A. in Astronomy and Mathematics from San Diego State University and an M.S. in Geology from the University of Montana. After several years working in solar physics at the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, CO, she discovered the joy of teaching and public outreach at Williams College, MA, and has been deeply involved in astronomy education ever since. A Lecturer at the University of Montana since 1990, Diane enjoyed hosting open house nights at the Blue Mountain Observatory as well as giving astronomy, and celestial navigation talks with organizations such as the Montana Natural History Center, Traveler’s Rest State Park, the U.S. Forest Service, the Glacier Institute.
Jessica Evans Shaw
Communications and Social Media Director (Kalispell)
Jessica grew up on an 80-acre farm in the Ozarks where she fell in love with the night sky. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree from Missouri State University, she moved to Austin TX to continue her nonprofit-based career in fundraising and marketing. After 12 years of event planning, trendsetting, writing, branding and two stepping, she moved to Montana in 2016 with her husband John. When she isn’t making magic on social media, Jessica enjoys hiking and tea, and she is currently taking packing classes so she can travel deeper into the woods to see more stars. Jessica currently works at the Hockaday Museum of Art, is a board member of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation, a member of Montana Fish Wildlife and Park’s Citizen Advisory Council, and a volunteer graphic designer for the Backcountry Horsemen of the Flathead. A passionate storyteller, collaborator, and advocate for Dark Skies, Jessica believes that fighting light pollution is essential to keeping one of the very best things about Montana available to everyone, for generations to come.
Board member (Helena)
Ryan Hannahoe is the Executive Director of the Montana Learning Center, at Canyon Ferry Lake, where he founded the Mike & Lynn Rice Astronomical Park for Science & the Arts. The MLC’s astronomy program serves thousands of students and teachers each year in Montana. Ryan grew up in Pennsylvania and got hooked on astronomy at an early age. In high school, he was a part of the team that put the first fully remote controllable telescope on the Internet for students and teachers to use. While in college, Ryan worked for NASA on the James Webb Space Telescope mission, the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. Ryan is an avid night-sky photographer, and his work has been featured by NASA and the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Magazine.
Jim Rogers is a bipedal hominid living on the 3rd rock from the sun that is whirling around a monster black hole that is spinning at nearly the speed of light. He is a trained geologist, a geographer, and an educator who taught astronomy while Pluto was still a planet. Jim joined the Montana Chapter because he is troubled by the fact that one-third of humanity can no longer see the Milky Way.
Board Member (Columbia Falls)
A member of IDA since 1999, Bill spent most of the last two decades living in the Australian outback under extremely dark skies. Now retired and living in western Montana after a career in aerospace/defense, Bill wants to bring the benefits of dark skies to the Big Sky state. His astronomy hobby and membership in the International Occultation Timing Association have taken him on volunteer trips to Arizona, Texas, Florida, Argentina, and Senegal.
Board Co-Chair (Kalispell)
Mark Paulson has been interested in astronomy since he was eight years old. He attended the University of Washington in Seattle, majoring in Astrophysics, and moved to Montana’s Flathead Valley with his wife and daughter in 1978. A shared passion for the night sky led Mark and a few other local amateur astronomers to form the Big Sky Astronomy Club in the summer of 2000. Over the years, the club’s public outreach activities have allowed thousands of residents and visitors to view the night sky through club members’ telescopes. Mark currently serves as the club’s President and chairs its Board of Directors.
Board Chair (Kila)
John Ashley is an award-winning journalist, educator and wildlife biologist who lives at the end of the road, literally, where it’s peaceful and very dark. His book, “Glacier National Park After Dark” is dark sky education disguised as a coffee table book, and he published it as a small part in the group effort to designate Waterton-Glacier International Dark Sky Park, Montana’s first and (so far) only DSP. John travels the state giving dark sky educational programs and capturing photographs of Montana’s wildlife, wild lands and wild skies.
2019 Montana Dark Sky Conference (Canyon Ferry, Montana)
Thanks to the speakers who brought informative and thought-provoking programs and the audience for its enthusiastic participation, and to the Montana Learning Center for hosting us in such a beautiful location last October. Watch in the spring for information about our 2020 Montana Dark Sky Conference!
2019 IDA Annual General Meeting (Tucson, Arizona)
Three Montana IDA members attended and one gave a program at the International Dark Sky Association’s General Meeting of approximately 200 dark sky advocates from around the world, in November. The 2020 meeting will be in San Antonio, Texas.