Another Opportunity to Make a Difference: Firefly Watch
I feel like this must be the hundredth time I’ve thanked Rambling Woods’ Michelle on this blog, but she well deserves it. My latest huge thank you to her is for bringing an awareness of Firefly Watch to her blog readers. Firefly Watch is a program from the Museum of Science in Boston, MA which asks for citizen scientist volunteers (note: you don’t actually have to be a scientist – just interested in learning and helping out) to collect data on fireflies in their area.
The program reflects the concerns of the scientists behind it – that fireflies might be disappearing from our landscape. To find out if this is the case, they are amassing data from all over the country as thousands of volunteers spend 10 minutes once a week to count and monitor fireflies in their local area.
My Oldest son was really excited to help out, so we went out the other night on our first firefly expedition. I’ve said before that insects aren’t really my thing, so I learned a bit about fireflies while learning how to properly collect data for the project. What’s even more fun, is that once we went out to look for them it was really exciting to not just find the critters, but to recognize different species by their different illumination colors and flash patterns. There it is my complete nature geekiness. Yes, I got excited by identifying different firefly species. That’s what I do.
While watching for fireflies, we also saw several very large bats. My best guess was that they were either Red or Hoary bats based on their size; it was too dark to discern color, so that’s the closest I got. We spent about 15 minutes total watching fireflies and bats, and then it was bedtime (for my Oldest, anyway). He stayed up long enough to watch me input the data and notes we collected into the Firefly Watch site.
Firefly Watch is accepting observations throughout the summer, so you can still join up. And if fireflies aren’t your thing (I won’t judge you, but really…) check out Michelle’s resource for other citizen science projects.