I knew it was going to be a magical evening when it started with a double rainbow. Stokes Nature Center’s Firefly Walk did not disappoint. It is a special event to spend with your family! (Past Salt Project Firefly article here.)
For the Firefly Walk we met at the Virgil Gibbons Heritage Park in Nibley. (Note: This is not at the actual Stokes Nature Center.) They started with a super fun craft and a sweet story time for the little kiddos as you wait for it to become dark enough. They also had a great little talk about fireflies prior to your walk.
I learned so much about Utah’s special little population of fireflies. For example, scientists didn't even have confirmation of Utah's firefly presence until a few years ago. Also, fireflies are losing their habitats due to urban sprawl and light pollution. These beetles depend on wet, marshy, and dark areas to survive.
When it became dark enough, we went on a guided walk around the paved path of the park. The park edges a marshy area that the city of Nibley has decided to protect due to the firefly population. My little toddler was enthralled with the flashes from the fireflies. I was surprised at how many there were. It was wonderful having the guided tour with the Stokes Nature Center. They were so very kind and informative. If you are unable to make their tours this year, mark your calendars for next year!
Also, you can visit the Virgil Gibbons Heritage Park on your own. It would be a guaranteed magical night for your family. The fireflies are out in late May - early July. Just remember firefly etiquette. Be sure to be quiet and no flashlights. These little bugs use their flashes to attract a mate. We need to not interrupt our small little Utah population.
My scientist heart leapt when they told us we can be Firefly Rangers too. Citizen scientists to the rescue!!!! If you spot fireflies in Utah you can report your findings on the following link.
I saw fireflies in Coyote Gulch two years ago and had no idea they were such a rare occurrence. I am excited to report my data!
(The pic above is from that trip, before I learned not to catch fireflies. They need to be left alone to find their mates.)
About the Author: I am a mother of three and an adventure partner with my husband. I graduated with a B.S. in Geology and became a Utah transplant. I fell in love with the mountains of the Wasatch and the desert south. I like to find wild places.
Past Salt Project Firefly Article.
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