Kids Can Help Museums Count Fireflies

Kim Conte

Do you remember catching fireflies—a.k.a. lightning bugs—as a kid?

If you're feeling warm feelings of nostalgia wash over you, then get your kids involved in looking for fireflies this summer as part of a national project aimed at tracking the cute little flashing insects.

Some bug experts think fireflies are disappearing. But the truth is that scientists don't know much at all about these creatures because they've never been officially studied—until now!

The National Children's Museum and the Museum of Science in Boston have teamed up for Firefly Watch, a special program designed to get kids and adults to observe fireflies in their area and share that information with scientists. Collected data will be used to help scientists track fireflies across the country. Already, 1,400 people from 36 states are submitting their firefly observations to the program.

To participate, kids register online with their parents and answer basic questions about their backyard (including where it is, how light it is, and what kinds of trees and bushes grow there). Once this information is submitted, kids spend a few minutes once a week observing and recording firefly action in their area.

Sound like fun? Visit Ready, Set, Glow! to get started.

Do you have fireflies in your area?

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