Catching fireflies ... overrated! Count them, contribute to research
Tuesday, August 4, 2009 - 19:09
The summertime tradition of catching lightning bugs and sealing them in mason jars is old news. Why lock up our neon-butted friends when we can learn about their illuminating greatness? Save those jars for canning tomatoes, sweet relish and strawberry jam, and grab a pen and paper.
The Museum of Science, Tufts University and Fitchburg State College are collecting "data related to firefly geographic distribution." Or, in other words, learning if populations have decreased, increased or stayed them same in their habitats. Scientists still wonder about the influences of the bugs' glowing phenomenon. Contributed data will help them understand the impact from light pollution and pesticides.
I read about the data collection in my local newspaper. The article was encouraging kids to get outside after dinner instead of settling for the old video games. I told my campers about the program, and some were genuinely excited about it. The gamers unfortunately rolled their eyes, but I'm hoping that their video game/internet-savvy skills will encourage them to register their habitat area (their backyard) and enter their data.
As for me, well, I've got my clipboard by the back porch and I'm counting down the minutes until dusk. What’s my biggest concern? What if I count the same firefly twice?! Their flashes are deceiving, and where do fireflies go during the day? Peace love and joy.
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