July 2, 2008
- Summer Evening Sights and Sounds
- Family Fun
- Upcoming DEC Events
Summer Evening Sights and Sounds
Fireflies - Fireflies, commonly known as lightening bugs, are actually beetles, not flies. There are more than 170 species of fireflies in the United States. Some are found in forests or fields, while others can be found in the grass of backyards or around shrubs or bushes. Firefly adults use bioluminescence to find mates, and each species has its own distinct flashing pattern. They also use the light to protect themselves from birds and other insects because the chemical (luciferin) that creates the bioluminescence doesn't taste very good! The signals of different species of fireflies vary in several ways: the time between signals, the color of the flashes, the duration of the flashes and the number of flashes in a signal.
Crickets - Crickets are known for their serenading on a summer's night and are more often heard than seen. They produce their chirping song by rubbing the edges of their wings together. Each species has its own song. Look for crickets in the grass, under stones or in piles of weeds, but you have to be pretty fast if you want to catch one.
Moths - Many moths are nocturnal and can often be found flying around a porch light or on the screen of a door on a summer night. There are nearly 12,000 named species of moths and butterflies in North America, but all undergo the same stages of metamorphosis: egg; larva (caterpillar); pupa (in a cocoon or a naked chrysalis) and adult. Many moths are dull in color, such as the sphinx moth and the gypsy moth. They stretch their wings out flat or fold them back over their bodies. Moth antennae are feathery or tapered.
Now You See Them, Now You Don't
Many adults have fond memories of catching fireflies on a summer night. However, fireflies are not as common anymore, and the scientists at Boston's Museum of Science want your help to figure out why. All you have to do to become a citizen scientist is go to the museum's website and register for "Firefly Watch." Set aside at least ten minutes one evening a week to sit back, watch the fireflies and record your results on the website. Scientists will use the data to determine whether changing habitat, use of pesticides and weed killers or lawn maintenance are contributing to the "disappearance" of fireflies.
Some firefly watching tips: just after sunset/before dusk is a good time to start watching for fireflies. In the U.S., most flashing occurs on moonless nights when the temperature is warm (above 80 degrees). Generally, fireflies stop flashing around 9:00 PM.
Moths are attracted by bright lights. Hang a white bedsheet between two trees, or fasten it to an outside wall of your house. Aim several flashlights at the sheet, and wait for the moths to congregate on the sheet. How many different kinds did you see?
Mix an overipe banana with some brown sugar and let the "goo" sit for several hours. Before dusk, spread the goo on the bark of a tree, and return with a flashlight after dark. How many different types of nighttime insects did you find? Draw a picture of a few of them while they are busy concentrating on their treat.
Check out Conservationist for Kids for more information and activities!
Tivoli Bay Visitors Center
Saturday, July 12 from Noon to 2:00 PM
A close look at life in a Hudson River tributary. For more information: 845-889-4745 x108
Parent and Child Nature Discovery Program
Saturday, July 5 at 10:00 AM
Kids, bring your parents for a fun morning exploring our forests and fields through games, crafts and scavenger hunts.
Saturday, July 12 at 10:00 AM
Sweep-net the grass, roll a log over or use a magnifying glass to get a close-up look at some of the insects that inhabit our woods and meadows. Make your own "insect," and find out some fascinating facts about the most numerous and diverse creatures on the planet.
Tuesday, July 8 at 7:00 PM
Come on an evening walk to learn about the amazing creatures that help keep our insects under control. We will listen to and look for signs of birds, frogs, bats and their prey.
Friday, July 11 at 7:00 PM
Come listen for the deep-throated calls of the granddaddy of all frogs, the bullfrog, as well as green frogs and other wetlands wildlife, as we monitor amphibian populations as part of the National Wildlife Federation's Frogwatch Program.
Bats in Flight
Tuesday, July 15 at 7:00 PM
Join us for a talk on bats, followed by a walk to watch bats emerge from the "bat barn" and begin their evening mosquito hunts.
Saturday, July 5 at 8:30 PM
There is nothing like the magic of the twinkling of fireflies on a warm summer's evening. Join us to learn about how and why these little beetles blink in the night. We will go out to catch some too!
Campfire with George Steele
Saturday, July 12 at 7:00 PM
George Steele will entertain, delight and inform you on an evening of firelight, s'mores and songs. Bring the whole family for a true treat with this seasoned educator doing what he does best. "Campfire" made possible with funding from Chenango County Council of the Arts.
Advance registration is required. Call 716-683-5959
Friday, July 11 at 10:00 AM
Dive into the world of aquatic organisms, and see what is living in our ponds! For children ages 6 to 12; parent or guardian must attend.
Tuesday, July 15 at 7:00 PM
Come out for an evening of activities devoted to our creepy, crawly residents! Hunt for bugs in the forests and ponds, participate in a bug beauty contest and create an insect craft. Materials fee: $1 per child. For children ages 6 to 12; parent or guardian must attend.