Today, I am introducing A Little Campy Lightning Bug Research Team. I’m so excited about this project as we use our Little Campy Community to do more than educate, inform and entertain. Now, we can use our community to make a difference in our world.
Lightning bugs are little camping mascots who usher in our nights with their sweet little flashes of light. Camping just wouldn’t be the same without these wonderful creatures. But…are the fireflies disappearing? That’s exactly what the researchers at Clemson University are investigating. Other questions they are hoping to answer:
Could pollution be affecting their natural resources?
Clemson’s Vanishing Firefly Project is reaching out to citizen scientists from elementary students to seniors to help collect data for their research project.
That’s where we come in.
As campers and outdoor enthusiasts, we are the perfect group for this project. We love lightning bugs (or you may call them fireflies depending on where you live) and want to preserve their existence. We also spend a lot of days and nights outdoors.
In addition, this research can be done as a family. Together, families can collect data (count lightning bugs), learn the science behind lightning bugs and learn to be good stewards of this world where we live. Just think of all that family time with teachable moments built right in.
This project does NOT require:
- specialized training
- a large time commitment
Join A Little Campy Lightning Bug Research Team
Let’s come together as campers and put our outdoor passion to work. We can make a difference.
I recently interviewed Dr. Alex Chow from the Department of Biosystems Engineering, and Department of Forestry & Natural Resources at Clemson University. Dr. Chow is one of the Principal Investigators for the Vanishing Firefly Project.
The Campy Mom: Dr. Chow, we would love to collect data for Clemson’s Vanishing Firefly Project. Is it too late to get started?
Dr. Chow: No, it is not too late. This year we are asking citizen scientists worldwide to assist the firefly surveys until August 30th. Anyone can help us collect data once they read through our tutorial page in the apps or data collection instruction in our web page.
The Campy Mom: How long will you be collecting this data?
Dr. Chow: The project started 5 years ago to collect data at Hobcaw Barony in Georgetown, SC but our use of the mobile phone app for the South Carolina statewide survey started last year. We expect a long-term study and hopefully we can have the data collected for years. We need long term data and large spatial scale to determine the actual status of firefly.
The Campy Mom: What steps we can take now, even as the research continues, to prevent the fireflies from vanishing?
Dr. Chow: To protect the firefly, here’s a few things we can do:
1. If possible, turn off the backyard light or use a motion sensor light instead.
2. Minimize the use of pesticide or herbicide in your backyard.
3. Firefly live in moisture, soil, and detritus layers of the forest floor. Try to minimize the disturbance on these natural habitats.
How Do You Join A Little Campy Lightning Bug Research Team?
How do you join and get started? Well…it’s easy and it’s free. Follow these simple steps:
1. Sign up to be on our team. Fill out the sign up form. Tell us how many adults and kids will be assisting in your data collection so we can keep an accurate count of how many campers and outdoor enthusiasts are participating. Sign up here.
2. Download the free App. Download the new Firefly Counter App for iPhones or Firefly Counter App for Android phones AND download Clemson’s Firefly Field Guide. OR you can use the online form to submit your firefly counts.
3. Watch this instructional video on how to gather your data or read the Procedure for Surveys here.
4. Get started. The Firefly Counter App is very easy to use. I’ve been using it for a couple weeks. You count fireflies for 1 minute then submit your results right from the app (read the field guide first to insure accurate results). The app lets you practice to get the hang of the data collection and it also shows a results map which I really like. My results show up as small dot on the map among other small dots. Alone it is just a dot on the map but if everyone collects data we can fill up the map, one small dot at a time.
5. Help us spread the word. Tell your friends and share this post on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter (#getoutandcount) and Pinterest. And don’t forget to follow A Little Campy on these sites as well.
So join our Lightning Bug Research Team as we collect data and support the scientific research being conducted at Clemson University. By the way, we also have a T-shirt for sale. Hey, if we are going to be a team, we might as well have a shirt. They will help us reach more people (plus, I just really wanted a cute T-shirt). The T-shirts are for sale at A Little Campy Shop here. Supplies are limited, so get yours today. If they are backordered, check back in a few days as we will restock as needed.
For more information about the Vanishing Firefly Project visit their website here.
I’ll see ya by the campfire.
photo credit: Glowing Firefly © Cathy Keifer – Fotolia.com
photo credit: pic of fireflies in flight © fergregory – Fotolia.com