July 6-7, 2019

Theme: “Fireflies need dark nights

Dear Fireflyers,

We’re so excited to announce this second annual World Firefly Day!

Our theme this year – fireflies need dark nights – highlights a growing threat to these charismatic insects. All around the world, cities’ bright lights are erasing natural darkness. Light pollution interferes with biological rhythms and blinds us to the beauty of night. It also puts fireflies at risk. Brightly lit areas obscure their magical glow, making it difficult for fireflies to detect their bioluminescent mating signals. So we hope you’ll join us in celebrating World Firefly Day 2019 by dimming your lights in recognition of the sheer delight these night-time wonders bring to us all.

Flash on!

Sara Lewis
Chair, FIN Steering Committee


The California Institute of Environmental Design & Management (CIEDM) held an evening meetup on the subjects of both World Firefly Day 2019 (July 6-7) and National Moth Week 2019 (July 20-28) with a focus on the needs for light pollution control. The event, registered with National Moth Week and attended by CIEDM staff & friends, took place at Arcadia EcoHome encompassing a yard which is a certified Wildlife Habitat, Pollinator Garden and Bee Friendly Farm, in Arcadia, California, on July 12th. After a brief introduction and discussion, Dr. Edward Huang, CIEDM Principal, guided a walking tour of the yard featuring landscape elements of lighting and habitats for various night species are conducted under dark sky.

— Dr. Edward Huang

The Pennsylvania Firefly Festival organizers celebrated World Firefly Day on July 6 with families at Rohrbach's Farm Market in Catawissa, PA. Children and adults enjoyed learning about the fireflies' life cycles and their significance to our environment. The farm is a 3rd and 4th generation family-owned farm and orchard, who utilize environmentally-friendly agricultural practices, and invited PAFF to present a program as part of their commitment to educating the public about the environment. Rohrbach's hosted the event, and the PAFF board members Peggy Butler and Jeff Calta provided the firefly program before everyone went out to the field at sunset to enjoy the amazing Photinus pyralis displays just behind the market. The Rohrbach's Farm Market is just one of the 20 different firefly events/programs that PAFF sponsored and presented this past 2019 season. We are committed to increasing the public's awareness of all the different fireflies throughout Pennsylvania through educational experiences like the World Firefly Day.

— Peggy Butler

The firefly day was sandwiched between two "Firefly walks", the first one on the 28th of June and second on the 12th of July at Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore, MD. Attendance was high, 162 persons came for the first walk, and for the 2nd, they stopped counting after 185. My estimate is that there were about 200 + folks there. These are the height numbers I ever had during the last 7 years. I used to have only one FW per summer, but then I was requested to do a repeat. So last two years, I have done 2 FW. Next year, I am not sure, I will be 88 in January! All bets are off!

— Dr. Abner Lall

The second Portuguese World Firefly Day was held in Ayamonte (Huelva), a village near the border with Portugal, in a beautiful environment of marshes on the Atlantic Ocean coast. After the exposition in the Visitors Center of the Natural Protected Area of Isla Cristina Marshes, we went out for a night walk. Near sixty people (mostly kids that had been brought by their parents) went through the pathway, listening to the squeaky melody of the crickets and playing to discover stars above and under us. It was not the best day for the activity, because the peak of glowworms emergence is over. But a tiny companion had come with me because she wanted to be sure that all our friends would have a magical night. So when we had a halt and all the lanterns were switched off, a delicate spark perched on my hand flooded with her light the darkness, filling with emotion the faces that were getting closer to us in ordered queue. A minute green glint, almost nothing compared with the powerful lanterns. No one of the kids and parents had ever seen a glow-worm: everybody was excited looking that smallness. And I guess all of us convinced ourselves that we really need dark nights: for us, to look the wonders of the nature, and for our tiny friend to be able to fall in love with some handsome flying Romeo...

— Dr. José Ramón Guzman Álvarez

WffD celebrated as a public awareness event with a Firefly Komuniti get together. On the first day was the public event organized with our partner the Kuala Selangor Town Council and LBS Foundation. About 280 schoolchildren participated in the various firefly-related activities and exhibitions, guided mangrove firefly habitat walks, mangrove and nipah palm planting and river clean up. A total of 136.5 kg of mainly glass and plastic were collected from the river! The second day was a Firefly Komuniti get together, where local community groups staying in and around the firefly sites shared the problems they faced and discussed the conservation of the habitat and firefly tourism. Three groups presented: the Inspirasi Kawa, Hafiz Cherating, and a new group Firefly Marvels.

— Sonny Wong

Now that it is spring in the land of Oz, the use of social media is making more aware of the existence of fireflies and we are looking forward to getting reports of their sightings. However we face lots of problems in being able to view fireflies. Our records thus far indicate that they could be active across an extended period once spring starts, but the mass displays that are likely to be of interest to the observers, are more difficult to predict. And mass sightings last for just a few weeks. We are hoping that next year around March there might be a good display in the mangroves just south of Bundaberg where accessibility will be no problem. However sadly I must also mention that our dreadful drought has resulted in devastating fires in SE Queensland where in addition to the loss of homes big areas of wonderful rain forest have been burned, rainforest that housed so much diversity including species of fireflies. Some of previous mass sightings occurred on the edge of this rainforest in the Gold Coast Hinterland in SE Queensland. The coming season will hopefully bring lots of reports and much interest, which we can encourage through the use of social media. If it all works another report on how we went will be forthcoming early next year! Watch this space.

— Dr. Lesley Ballantyne

For information about how to celebrate, please check out our announcement.

To look at photographs and write-ups from last year’s events, click here.