Stepping outside to watch fireflies light up the night sky—an annual summer ritual that can now give scientists important insight into whether firefly populations are shrinking or growing, their geographic distribution, and what environmental factors are affecting them. Mass Audubon joined with scientists from Tufts University to create Firefly Watch, a citizen science project that you can be a part of! It’s easy to participate, all you must do is pick a location (it can be your backyard or favorite park) that you will visit once a week, spend 10 minutes observing the night sky for fireflies (or lack thereof), and then report your observations here. It’s that simple! However, it’s recommended that you print out and familiarize yourself with the firefly watch observation form before heading outside so you know exactly what to look for. In fact, fireflies have three different flashing patterns that Mass Audubon wants you to watch for. (See visual chart here.)
Visit the Mass Audubon website for different resources related to fireflies or if you have any other questions about the Firefly Watch project.