Join the Firefly Frenzy

Did you know that female fireflies can’t fly?

How about that a lightning bug controls its blink by regulating the flow of oxygen to its abdomen, turning the light on and off?

Dickinson County environmental education coordinator Bryanna Kuhlman and naturalist Ashley Hansen are excited to share even more fun facts about fireflies and other insects during the Firefly Frenzy program, a part of the Nature at Night series, 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 20.

“Have you ever wondered how a firefly blinks or why it blinks?” Kuhlman asked. “These are some of the questions we’ll be answering.”

Meet at the Dickinson County Nature Center for a short program about Iowa insects and an overview of fireflies, and then take a leisurely one-mile walk through Kenue Park to watch fireflies in the wild and learn how to safely catch and release the critters.

“I think I’m most excited about teaching people about a bug they may have seen all their lives but maybe don’t know much about,” Kuhlman said.

Finally, the naturalists will set up a sheet with a light in the park to draw in other crepuscular and nocturnal insects to identify.

“Catching the bugs might be more fun for kids, but learning about fireflies and why they glow will be interesting for adults,” Hansen said.

The program will last approximately an hour and is appropriate for a wide variety of ages. Pre-registration by calling 712-336-6352 is helpful but not required.

Firefly Frenzy is the second in the Nature at Night series, which had a successful beginning in June with the Exploring the Night program.

“I think everyone really enjoyed their time,” Kuhlman said. “I just want people to get out, have fun and see the night is fun to explore, if you do it responsibly, and get excited about some of our insect species.”

“Nature at Night is a fun series, because often people think of going outdoors as a daytime activity, but it’s interesting to see what is happening at night,” Hansen said. “I’m really excited to see what bugs we get on the sheets. I’m excited to see what’s out here, because I’m not usually here at night.”

The final Nature at Night series program will be Stargazers, held 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17.

For more information on Nature at Night and other free Dickinson County Conservation Board programs, visit our environmental education page. You can also keep up on the latest happenings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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