Firefly Watch

Solar light in the back yard ©Janet AllenSolar light in our pretty dark yard

We've noticed that fireflies don't seem to be as common as they were when we were young. What a shame. They make summer nights so magical!

I've participated in Firefly Watch, a project of the Boston Museum of Science, most years since it started. The website has a lot of information about fireflies—things I hadn't known before.

It's been interesting looking for fireflies, and if we hadn't been collecting this data I doubt we would have been outside noticing them.

We didn't always see fireflies on our count nights, but we were delighted when we did. As with all citizen science projects, it's just as important, if not more important, to send in results showing that there were no fireflies present.

A real bonus is that it makes us more observant about the habitat in our neighborhood, including how many lights there are. The number of streetlights shining into the yard is one of the pieces of data collected since scientists suspect it may be a problem for fireflies, which after all depend on light for finding mates.