Northern Nights

Kluane National Park and Reserve

Kluane's Annual Dark Sky Festival

September 15 - 17, 2023

Location: Kathleen Lake Campground and Day Use Area

Yukon’s only Dark Sky Festival takes place in late September at Mät’àtäna Män (Kathleen Lake), in Kluane National Park and Reserve. This is the seventh annual Northern Nights Festival to celebrate the return of the dark sky. As the midnight sun fades away, it becomes the perfect time to gaze up and marvel at the infinite night sky. Join Parks Canada, the Yukon Astronomical Society, Junction Arts & Music, and Yukon Words this September as we welcome the return of Northern Nights!

Festival goers can attend a variety of events including stargazing, writing/astronomy/art/beading workshops, bat house building, live music, campfire talks, traditional stories, crafts and activities for kids, and yoga.

Camping is available nearby at Kathleen Lake Campground.

Registration will be required for some workshops. Registration for workshops will open on Tuesday, September 5th.

For more information or to register for the workshops contact Parks Canada at 1-867-634-7207.

Schedule of events

Friday September 15, 2023

6pm to 6:45pm – Parks Canada Campfire Talk – The Dark Night (outside)

Join Parks Canada staff to chat about light and dark skies, and the importance of the night sky to Kluane’s wildlife, including bats! Free.

7pm to 7:45pm - Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Dugout Canoe Presentation with Jai Reid and John Fingland (outside)

Join Jai Reid and John Fingland on the shore of Kathleen Lake/Mät’àtäna Män to learn about the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Dugout Canoe. Free.

8pm to 10pm - Open Mic – Everyone is a Star (shelter)

We all have talents – at Northern Nights, everybody is a star! Share a song, a poem, or a story at the Northern Nights open mic inside the day use shelter at Mät’àtäna Män (Kathleen Lake). Free.

10pm to 11pm – Guided Astronomy Walk with the Yukon Astronomical Society (outside)

The stars have a story to tell. Join the Yukon Astronomical Society staff for a short, guided walk along Mät’àtäna Män (Kathleen Lake) to discover some of the wonders of the night sky. Free.

10:30pm to midnight - Star Gazing with the Yukon Astronomical Society (outside)

Bring a camping chair and a cozy blanket and learn about the stars and planets that surround us. The Yukon Astronomical Society will be on hand equipped with high powered telescopes to explore space and everything it has to offer. Free.

Saturday September 16, 2023

10am to 1pm - Beaded Orange T-Shirt Pin Workshop with Shelby Jackson (shelter)

Join artist Shelby Jackson in making Orange T-Shirt pins as you learn the respected art of beading during this three-hour workshop. All supplies provided. Registration required. Free.

11am to 12:30pm – Cosmic Kids Crafts with Parks Canada (outside)

Hey kids – join us to make some crafts! We will be making glow in dark crafts for the Parka Parade! Night sky creations will be ongoing for young night sky enthusiasts in the wall tent.  Free.

12pm to 2pm - "You’re a Poet and Deep Down You Know It" Workshop with Joanna Lilley (outside)

Do you love writing and wish you did more of it? Do you find that putting pen to paper, fingers to keyboard or voice to sound recorder can help you make sense of what’s going on in life? Would you like to have a go at poetry but are not sure where to start? Perhaps it’s time at last to pay attention to your inner poet.

This two-hour, in-person workshop is for anyone who’d like to spend a couple of hours finding out more about poetry, picking up some writing tips and trying out some on-the-spot writing. It’s especially geared to beginners, and we’ll spend some time outdoors connecting with the world around us to get the creative juices going. Free.

1pm to 4pm – Create a Night Sky with Christine Koch (shelter)

Join Kluane National Park and Reserve Artist in Residence Christine Koch to create your own night sky and participate in an amazing Northern Nights collaborative art project!

Christine is a Newfoundland-based painter and printmaker who sources her inspiration and imagery from the natural world.  In 1998 she was one of the inaugural artists of the Gros Morne National Park Artist in Residence Program. Her recent work focusses on glacial environments, both terrestrial and marine, and other environments at risk.

Drop-in until supplies last. Adults and Kids 6 years and older (Age 6 -12 require adult participation). Free.

1pm to 4pm - Bat House Building with Parks Canada (wall tent)

By installing a bat house on your property, you can give bats a safe place to live while benefiting from their insect control services. In this workshop you will assemble a bat house that is tailored to meet the needs of Little Brown Bats in Yukon’s cool climate. All of the pieces and tools are provided. Parks Canada woodworking enthusiasts will help you to properly assemble your bat house and knowledgeable staff will tell you more about these amazing little nighttime creatures! Registration required. Free.

2pm to 3pm - Introduction to the Yatao/Handpan with Prabh Singh (outside)

The adventurous, musical, and joyful Prabh Singh is originally from the state of Five Rivers (Punjab) in India, where diverse cultures can be found along with kindness. Four years ago, at the age of 18 years, Prabh came to Canada to explore a different view of life and ended up in Yukon in 2021.

Prabh Singh says, “People in Yukon are unique and filled with enthusiasm, and love. Moreover, learning about the indigenous drumming culture helps me to keep connected to my own roots through my instruments. The soil and mountains of Yukon remind me of my home and have something unique which creates a special connection when I play Tabla (finger drums), Yatao (handpan), djembe, and classical string instruments. I look forward to sharing my mystic beats with the people of Kluane.” Free.

4pm to 4:45pm – Parka Parade! (outside)

Bring your glowing cosmic kids crafts (and glowing personality) and join Parka for a parade. Everyone is welcome. Free.

5pm to 5:45pm – Musical Performance by Remy Rodden (shelter)

Eco-singer Remy Rodden—a bilingual, rich-voiced teacher and biologist – is committed to helping children learn about nature. He's a clever songwriter, deeply concerned about the environment, and his wholly entertaining show ignites both the young and the young at heart! Free.

6pm to 7pm – DINNER BREAK

Take a break to grab some dinner before the evening festivities!

7pm to 7:40pm – Barn Dance with Fiddleheads Yukon (shelter)

The Fiddleheads are excited to bring their family friendly barn dance to the Northern Nights Festival! Expect a lively mix of dances that work for all ages/abilities and get everyone on the dance floor, all accompanied by a great band of fiddlers! Free.

8pm to 9pm – Musical Performance by Diyet (shelter)

Diyet was born in a tent and spent her childhood on the ancestral lands of the Kluane First Nation people in Canada’s Yukon Territory. She is an alternative country, folk, roots and traditional songwriter with catchy melodies and stories deeply rooted in her Indigenous world view and northern life. Diyet sings in both English and Southern Tutchone (her native language) and plays bass guitar. Backed by her husband and collaborator, Robert van Lieshout (acoustic guitar, drums & percussion), this dynamic duo has a sound that can fill a big stage or capture an intimate room! Free.

9:15pm to 10pm – Lifecycle of the Stars Presentation with Yukon Astronomical Society (shelter)

Stars form, last for a time, then 'die', but not every star does this the same way. Join this presentation from Christa Van Laerhoven to learn what happens within stars over their 'life' and the different ways in which they 'die'.

10:30pm to midnight - Star Gazing with the Yukon Astronomical Society (outside)

Didn’t get to see the stars the first night? You might get lucky on the second night. The Yukon Astronomical Society will be on hand to show us some constellations and planets through their incredible high powered telescopes.  Free.

Sunday September 17, 2023

9am to 10am – Northern Nights Yoga (shelter)

Join yoga teacher Amber Berard-Althouse to welcome the Fall equinox and the return of the Northern Nights with this gentle flow. Bring your yoga mat. Everyone is welcome. Free.

10am to 11am - Bannock and Storytelling with John Fingland (outside)

Join John Fingland around the campfire as he makes bannock and shares stories about Champagne and Aishihik First Nations history and culture! Free.

11am to 1pm - Art Booklet Workshop with Christine Koch (outside)

Create your own Kluane themed accordion folded booklet with Kluane National Park and Reserve Artist in Residence Christine Koch. Fill it with sketches, words, collages and more. Drop-in until supplies last. Adults and Kids 8 years and older (Age 8 -12 require adult participation). Free.

1pm to 2:30pm - Poetry Reading and Ginko Walk with Kathy Munro (outside)

This event will begin with a reading at 1 pm, followed by a ginko, or haiku walk, at Kathleen Lake - this is a walk in nature to inspire the writing of poetry - it will be a wonderful, active, creative way to end the weekend of events. Free.

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