As our part of the world warms up and wildlife returns, we can do something simple to help: minimize outdoor nighttime light. A growing body of scientific research reveals that artificial light can confuse, harm and potentially kill insects and migratory birds.

Cheap, efficient LEDs have made it possible to light up the night for low costs. Holiday lighting may be OK, because most insects are dormant and migratory birds are down south. Now that it’s spring, it’s time to put those lights away. Some lighting is necessary for safety but the darker we can make our yards and streets, the better.

Remember that we share our environment with millions of species. The small act of turning off a light can make a huge difference for a bird or butterfly. The less light pollution, the more we can enjoy nature’s original light show: the stars and planets!

Lights that shine upward and “cold-color-temperature” lights with energy in the blue part of the spectrum are especially detrimental. If possible, avoid upward-facing lights at the bases of trees or buildings.

Here are a few sources for anyone who wants to learn more:

The Mount Rainier Green Team meets on the second Monday of each month. Visit or email