You can participate in the National Firefly Count and help save a really cool bug!
Fortunately, I can still see a decent number of fireflies in my backyard. However, I notice that their numbers are dwindling year by year. I did not make a formal count like the one that I am doing currently, but I recall witnessing a greater population of these insects last year in my very own backyard.
In my neighborhood, we are currently witnessing a new building development. That probably explains one of the reasons for fewer fireflies.
Fireflies are the most interesting creatures. They represent a totally unique form of life, that can naturally generate light emissions using their own biological tools. It is also very strange that fireflies cannot see certain shades of light.
The first challenge that I had to encounter before participating in this project, was to figure-out an ideal location to perform a firefly count on a consistent basis. Given the fact, that our lawn needs regular fertilizers, weekly lawn mowing, and sometimes pesticides, I chose an area in my backyard a little away from the lawn. I designated this as my “count-point.” It is a point where I can stand-still and make a count of all visible fireflies.
The second challenge that I had to face was to make sure that the area at the time of count is devoid of any uncontrolled light. For example, car-lights on the street, building-lights, and the street lights.
After I took care of these little issues, the firefly count has become a great fun activity. Me and my sister get ready with our blue acetate covered lights and jars to go out and do the weekly count. (Sometimes, she surpasses me in the count-game, but nevertheless it is a lot of fun).
On my first week of counting, I saw 18 of them in 10 seconds. My sister saw 20. However, I estimate that there were probably about a hundred blinking lights from the fireflies in my one-acre backyard at that moment.
Read more about the count and how to participate on Scholastic News Online.