[Illustration by Wikipedia artist Sanu N]

This week is International Dark Sky Week, so let’s celebrate by exploring Moab’s beautiful night sky! Dark skies mean that you can see the stars and other things in space really well.

The night sky has been the source of stories and inspiration throughout history. The ancient Greeks called one group of stars Orion, the name of a great warrior, since they thought they made the shape of a man with a sword. You can see this constellation in the sky here, can you find it tonight?

Creating and telling stories is a great way to learn about your family and your community: what do they find funny? What inspires them?

Here’s a great way to tell some stories with your community under the night sky just using some low-tech creativity.

Constellation Exploration (45 minutes)

Wait until dark and then invite your family or community outside. Don’t forget to put away the cellphones!

Encourage everyone to forget everything they know about stars. Can you look at the night sky as a canvas of mysterious little points of light, like you’ve never seen it before? People throughout history have been clustering stars together in constellations and using those shapes to tell stories. Stories about love, war, creation, friendship, spirituality and morals have all been illustrated through characters found among the stars.

Find a shape in the stars that reminds you of something. Is there a group of stars that looks like a bear? A heart? Take 20 minutes to come up with your own constellation and a story that goes with it.

Share your stories with your community. If you created a field journal with the Youth Garden Project in last week’s column, take some time and write your story down there. Feel free to illustrate your story!

When you’re done sharing your story or writing it in your journal think about how it felt to tell your own story. Did you know that people have been using the night sky as a source for entertainment for thousands of years? How did it feel to be part of such an old storytelling tradition?

If you would like to share your story send it to education@cfimoab.org and we will share it on our social media!

If you’re looking for more journal prompts or activities to do outside visit www.cfimoab.org/coyotescorner and remember that outside is always open!

Create your own constellation stories