Firefly day (tomorrow) this Saturday!

The Boston Museum of Science is sponsoring Firefly Day this Saturday at 9:00 am to kick off another summer of Firefly Watch, a citizen science project dedicated to tracking the appearance of fireflies throughout the summer months.  Throughout the day, visitors to the museum can learn more about fireflies, meet the team of scientists sponsoring this citizen science opportunity, and watch their kids march in the Firefly Parade!

Spotting fireflies on warm summer nights mesmerizes all of us each year, but the population of fireflies seems to be dwindling with each summer.  Firefly Watch is a citizen science project that hopes to understand where fireflies live and thrive.  This information can be used to create habitats to promote firefly survival.  To learn more about fireflies, get started by checking out the wealth of information found on the museum’s webpage or this post by Backyard Nature.  This is a great project for families to do together after a summer BBQ or before bedtime.

Even if you can’t make the event this Saturday in Boston, participating is really easy.  After signing up and describing your habitat (backyard or local park) online, simply go outside once a week for 10 minutes and record observations about any fireflies that you see (or don’t see).  There were not many participants signed up in the West Coast last year (see map), so I encourage all of my neighbors on the other side of the United States to make this a national effort this summer by signing up today.

Thanks to Jamie Harmon for the use of his wonderful photo.  You can check out his photography here.

Statistics from previous years:  In 2008, there were 526 habitats that reported firefly sightings, as opposed to 147 that did not.  (797 habitats that signed up did not collect data – I hope this improves this year!)

PROJECT SNAPSHOT:

  • Topics: fireflies, extinction
  • Location: at home or close to home
  • Duration: 10 minutes once per week
  • Cost: free or low cost
  • Gear: no equipment needed
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy
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