April 2020 - Parks & Recreation - 39

Male fireflies against the backdrop of the
Milky Way make for an unforgettable
sight in the Ohio countryside.

Why parks are a
critical component of
firefly conservation
By Richard J. Dolesh

F

ireflies. Lightning bugs. Glow-worms. Just the names alone are
enough to stir the hearts of kids anywhere, and perhaps even
incite a little passion in adults as well. There is something magical about venturing out at dusk and seeing a field full of gently
pulsing lights in the grass and in the forest, beckoning you even further
into the night to discover its mysteries. It is no exaggeration to say that
a large part of discovering the wonder of nature for many people began
when they saw fireflies as kids. Fireflies display one of nature's most
intriguing phenomena - bioluminescence, that is, the emission of cold
light by living organisms. Cold light in fireflies and other species is produced by a light-emitting molecule, called luciferin, which is activated by
an enzyme called luciferase.

PA R K S A N D R E C R E AT I O N .O R G | A P R I L 2 02 0 |

Parks & Recreation

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April 2020 - Parks & Recreation

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