Firefly Monitoring Project Needs Volunteers

Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology & Forest Science

2013 Firefly Watch Program

LOCATION: Introduction to Firefly Watch  —  Ft. Johnson (Outdoor Classroom) Charleston, SC
TIME: Thursday, May 30th 6-7pm
PARTICIPANTS: Adults or Children aged 6-14 (with adult)

Registration required at:
Field Monitoring Date:
Hobcaw Barony, Georgetown, SC
June 1, 7:30pm – 10:30pm

Detailed Information can be found at

Where do fireflies go? 
Fireflies with their unique luminescence are an essential part of the South Carolina natural landscape. Few people have been able to observe these amazing insects in coastal South Carolina recently.  Urban development and changes in forestry practices have altered the rural landscape, causing a decline in firefly distribution and abundance.  Researchers at Clemson University plan to conduct a field survey at Hobcaw Barony to study the impacts of environmental factors on the abundance of fireflies, with vital help from citizen scientists like you. Sign up today and be ready to spot fireflies in the summer night.

About the program

The objective of this program is to investigate the impacts of human activity on the abundance of fireflies in coastal South Carolina. Researchers, with your help, will conduct field surveys in five selected field sites at Hobcaw Barony, representing natural forests, managed forests, and residential areas. The surveys will be conducted annually in late May or early June.


What will the citizen scientists do?

The firefly watch program includes a 45-minute orientation, a 1-hour daytime field survey, a 1-hour nighttime field survey, and a 15-minute summary section. During the orientation, researchers will provide information and training for participants. Topics will include firefly biology, methods for firefly counting and identification, methods for soil and litter sampling, safety in the field, and environmental impacts from coastal developments.  In the daytime field survey, volunteers will visit the field sites in order to understand the landscape of the studied sites.  In the nighttime survey, volunteers will visit the same field sites to identify and count the fireflies.  Based on the data collected, researchers at Clemson University will analyze for potential relationships between land use pattern and firefly abundance.



The occurrence of fireflies and their duration depends on weather conditions.  The period of peak showiness of fireflies differs from year to year. Therefore, it is difficult to predict the exact time of its occurrence.  Firefly season can range from late April to late July.  In this year, we schedule the firefly field day on June 1 (Saturday).


Firefly Field Day Agenda


Time Activities
7:30pm – 8pm Firefly Lecture/Survey information
8:10pm – 8:40pm View sites before dark
8:45pm – 9pm Bathroom break/pass out survey sheets & explain process
9pm – 9:15pm Vehicles begin leaving 5 minutes apart
9:15pm – 10pm Firefly Survey
10pm – 10:30pm Group gathers for Q&A session to evaluate what they’ve learned
10:30pm Program finished/participants free to leave



***Weather dependent! We will collect contact information upon signup and reschedule if rain becomes an issue***


How to Enroll

Reservations are required.  For Reservations:  Call the Hobcaw Barony Discovery Center at 843-546-4623


Safety and Field Gear

Participants are not allowed to take part in the field survey if he/she fails to have proper protective gear.  The following safety tools are required for all participants:

1) Snake boots or >12” high boots (no sandals or open-toe shoes)

2) Long-sleeve jacket or T-shirt

3) Long pants (no shorts)

4) Flash light

5) Insect repellent