By: Andrea Klaphake, Interpretive Ranger at Franconia Notch State Park
It was in a flash that I found inspiration to teach others about fireflies. It happened while I was in Castleton, Vermont, at my Certified Interpretive Guide training. On my way back to my cabin while at my training I was faced with the flashing light of a familiar time: childhood. I remembered how magical it was to see these glowing creatures. I remembered seeing tons of fireflies at home as a child and it had been a while since I’d seen one…. As a matter of fact, I could barely remember the last time I’d seen one. And so began research on the little beetles that light up the edges of fields, swamps, and groves.
My research on fireflies led to narrowing it down to a region: New England; to see if they were common or not. I was amazed at what was already being done to help document these delicate creatures! The Boston Museum of Science is conducting a Firefly Watch for all of New England. There are claims that there aren’t as many fireflies around like there “use” to be. Luckily, I stumbled upon this website http://mos.org/fireflywatch. The opportunities for citizens to document fireflies that they see or don’t see in their neighborhood or surrounding habitats is as easy as a click of a button to download the easy to read worksheet.
Since the end of June, I’ve discovered many things about fireflies; as well as where to best view them in Franconia Notch State Park. I have developed a program on fireflies called: Firefly Fireworks. I’ve taken numerous families and shared with them simple steps they can take to be observers of the night.
Another thing to keep in mind is that fireflies are best viewed with limited light or a trick is to use blue light. The fireflies can’t see the color blue. This can easily be done by using blue finger nail polish over an old flashlight. This ensures that the fireflies won’t be disturbed in their natural habitat.
While I have only lived in Franconia Notch for just over a month, it’s amazing how easily I was able to become passionate about this area and its dazzling, little creatures that float silently through the darkness looking for their potential mates.
If you’ve never seen a firefly, come and check out my program Firefly Fireworks on August 3rd, 24th, and 31st!