April 29, 2021     6:30pm

Roundtable Discussion on Responsible Lighting for Santa Fe – Free Event

Thank all the participants for a lovely chat!

Here’s the Recording:


We are thrilled with the turnout for our Dark Skies earthLINES Online Chat on April 29, 2021, which featured Sam Finn, Peter Lipscomb, Francois-Marie Patorni, and Terry Smith.  What discussion!  We are so grateful for their time, expertise and passion for lighting that is healthy for humans (and critters)!

We also sincerely thank all those that tuned in and took part with interest in responsible street lighting and the preservation of dark skies. Questions from the public and answers from the panelists have been compiled here:


We hope you will visit the websites below to get the facts and to lend your voice to the City of Santa Fe.



Please visit our website at https://sfct.org/dark-skies/ to learn more about SFCT’s efforts to educate about, and preserve our beloved dark night skies.

Feel free to share with anyone who missed the Chat or might be interested.


Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe. Photo by Eric Saltmarsh.


About the Participants

Lee Samuel (Sam) Finn is a retired astrophysicist. He earned his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics from the California Institute of Technology in 1987. He taught at Cornell University and Northwestern University, then in 1998 he moved to Penn State as a professor in a joint appointment in the Physics and Astronomy and Astrophysics departments. In 2001 he was named the first Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Physics Frontier Center for Gravitational Physics. He was the founding Chief Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences, and also specialty section editor for the journal’s Cosmology section.

François-Marie Patorni, a French-American living in Santa Fe, completed his post-graduate studies in France and earned his MBA from the Wharton School in Philadelphia. He embarked on a career at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., that over decades took him to most parts of the world. Author of the French in New Mexico and an advocate for public policy reform, Patorni remains active in local and international issues. As a member of several astronomy organizations, he sees preserving the night skies as an integral part of environmental stewardship.

Peter Lipscomb began his education and advocacy for sensible lighting practices nearly two decades ago. During that time, he has backed legislative actions on the state level, supported outdoor lighting ordinance efforts in Clayton and Union County, Rio Arriba County, and Taos and Taos County. As former Night Sky Program Director for the New Mexico Heritage Preservation Alliance, he compiled the nomination packet to designate Clayton Lake State Park New Mexico’s first International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association. A 2016 honoree of the Stewart Udall award, today he serves as Cerrillos Hills State park manager and conducts guided night sky tours for residents and visitors to New Mexico as owner of Astronomy Adventures.

Moderated by Terry Smith, who is a long time Santa Fe resident who, along with his wife Susan Munroe, practiced real estate until their retirement in 2018.  During that time, Terry served for three years as board chair of the  Santa Fe Conservation Trust.  Terry served for many years as a senior policy and congressional relations staff member of the National Governors’ Association in Washington, DC before becoming the founding director of the State of Florida’s DC office.


Past SFCT Online Chats:


March 31, 2021

Join these two outspoken NM conservation advocates, activists, and change-makers as they discuss answers to the questions below and to your questions as well!

  • We are facing a global extinction crisis. How are humans impacting this loss and what will humankind lose if it continues?
  • Specifically, what is the toll on native wildlife due to climate change, human behavior, and loss of habitat?
  • How do we ensure outdoor equity and create a new generation of conservationists to protect the web of life we know as nature?

What is rewilding, how does it fit in the global 30 x 30 initiative, and how important are local conservation efforts to the bigger picture?

Laura Paskus & Bill deBuys

DECEMBER 9, 2020   ∙   6:30PM

See full recording below:

We are proud to bring together two distinguished environmental writers for an online and up-front conversation about what climate change really means in New Mexico – one of the fastest warming states in the country!  Stories about places we know and love. What is happening in nature, on our local lands and in our state, and what is not happening to counteract the impact and why.

Laura Paskus, whose new book, At the Precipice: New Mexico’s Changing Climate, was just published by UNM Press.  Leading the discussion will be Bill deBuys, author of A Great Aridness, Climate Change and the Future of the Southwest.  Bill was one of the founders of SFCT!