We are thrilled with the turnout for our Dark Skies earthLINES Online Chat last night, 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 last night with interest in responsible street lighting and the preservation of dark skies. 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.

How would you prefer to see Santa Fe: the warm amber lights of the cathedral or the cool white lights in the foreground?

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 as New Mexico’s first International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association. A 2016 honoree of the Santa Fe Conservation Trust’s 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, 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 and was instrumental in starting SFCT’s Night Sky Program. 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.

Watch the video now on YouTube!


SFCT depends on the generosity of the community to fund our work.  SFCT partners with our community to keep northern New Mexico’s living lands and people flourishing together.  We protect environmentally significant landscapes, ignite people’s passion for nature and enable the continual regeneration of our healthy place.  If you believe in our mission, please make a donation today!