April 2020 - Parks & Recreation - 42

FIREFLIES

ing to Rachael Tolman, park naturalist. For 10 years, they have conducted an annual firefly festival with
crafts and games and exhibits about
fireflies. For the 250 to 500 people
who attend this extremely popular festival, a firefly watching party
follows the daytime portion of the
event. Tolman notes, " We are super
urban, but we try to keep diversified
habitats in our parks, which benefit
firefly populations. " Their resource
management goals include creating
new habitat areas, removing invasive
plant species and managing to allow
the native landscape and plants to re-

Conserving Fireflies and
Educating the Public
If firefly conservation in parks is
to be successful, education must
be an essential component of your
conservation objectives. Park and
recreation agencies already engaging in successful firefly conservation activities also have committed
to public education and awareness
activities in nature centers, on night
hikes and in educational exhibits.
Knowledge of the firefly species
you have in your locality is critical,
especially if you plan to begin any
longer-term conservation efforts.
This may not be as simple as it

PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF JOSHUA YORK

The popular Conservation Kids program
of Five Rivers MetroParks in Dayton, Ohio,
engages fascinated kids to learn about the
biology, ecology and chemistry of fireflies.

cover. " If we are doing best practices
for fireflies, we are doing best practices for all wildlife, " she says.

40

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

sounds and if there isn't knowledgeable staff, agencies should
look for firefly experts in the ranks
of their citizen volunteers and at local universities. Hiring a consultant
may be a good course of action to
help you locate best habitat areas,
identify the species in your locale
and to assist in drafting a management plan, especially if you do not
have those capabilities and knowledge in-house.
Buschman, who has studied fireflies for decades, says he has a pet
peeve. " Public agencies put curfew
restrictions on parks, so that people
cannot enter after dark. We cannot
get people interested in watching
fireflies and then prohibit them from
watching them! " He lobbies to keep
parks open longer, at least during



April 2020 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of April 2020 - Parks & Recreation

April 2020 - Parks & Recreation - 1
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