Meet the Dark Sky Park Program Director


Mary Stewart Adams is a star lore historian, storyteller and author who has been immersed in the history of star knowledge for over 30 years.

Program Director and Star Lore Historian Mary Stewart Adams can also be heard each week on Interlochen Public Radio

Mary led the initiative that achieved International Dark Sky Park designation for Emmet County’s Headlands property in May 2011, and has since served as its Program Director. The Headlands was one of only six such parks in the U.S. at the time of designation, and one of only nine in the world! Further, Mary contributed her efforts to the successful passage of legislation by the State of Michigan to protect natural darkness in several state parks, and she also served for several years on the International Dark Sky Places Committee of the International Dark Sky Association, protecting and stewarding natural darkness throughout the world.

Mary travels extensively teaching a humanities-based approach about the night sky and has received numerous honors for her work with Emmet County, including the 2006 and 2012 Gary R Williams Dark Sky Advocate of the Year Award, the International Dark Sky Association’s Dark Sky Defender Award, and the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council’s Environmentalist of the Year Award.

In addition to joining Mary for lively and interactive programming under the starry skies at Headlands, you can hear her weekly radio program “The Storyteller’s Night Sky” each Monday on Interlochen Public Radio. You can also join Mary for one of her night sky cruises along the Straits of Mackinac with Shepler’s Ferry Service. Working from the storyteller’s perspective to protect and access the night sky is Mary’s way of safeguarding the very vital necessity of rich human imaginations, because, as Mary puts it: “Knowing the night sky through the humanities supports gracefully living with the Earth.” Join Mary under the stars to celebrate the fundamental happiness that results from learning the history, the art, the science, and the poetry of the stars.

Mary makes her home with her four children under the starry skies of Harbor Springs, Michigan. She can be reached at (231) 348-1713 or email

The Cheboygan Tribune recently sang the praises of our Program Director in a nice article (July 2017), which you can find by following this link!