Many of you will be interested in knowing that between July 20 and July 28, in backyards, woods, and fields around the world, citizen scientists will be setting up white sheets and lights for the second annual National Moth Week. This global science project began a year ago to encourage the public to observe and document one of nature’s most diverse creatures. Through partnerships with major online biological data depositories, National Moth Week participants can help map moth distribution and provide needed information on other life history aspects around the globe. If you are participating in my Introductory Entomology online course, this is the perfect opportunity for you to engage in meaningful, hands-on science.
National Moth Week has many partner organizations that are repositories for data and photos about moths. These include Project Noah and BugGuide, among many others. Last year, these partner organizations received more than 3,500 submissions as a result of National Moth Week moth spottings! You can participate too–just take photos of the moths you see, and upload them to one of the partner organizations with location and other data.
Identification Skills Not Required
You don’t have to identify your moths–they have experts that will help–but it would certainly be a great learning opportunity to try. I challenge you to try your hand at identification–at least to the family level. The photo you upload with your observations lets a specialist confirm ID. The information gathered through citizen science projects like this is used to compile species checklists and distribution maps. The data, over time, becomes an invaluable record of species distribution. Science at its best!
Host a Moth Night of Your Own
So invite a few friends and contribute to this awesome project by hosting a moth night of your own. What happens at a moth night? Basically, you put up a sheet and a light with a bunch of your friends, and sit around and wait for moths. How simple is that? And it is so much fun!