It’s late winter and mothing season is on the horizon – just another couple of weeks, at most, and the first moth of the season will arrive here at my porch lights. They’re calling for pretty warm daytime temps on Wednesday, and as long as the rain holds off I’m hopeful we might get one or two that night. It’s been nearly four months since we had the last ones of fall, and I’m looking forward to their return. I’ve been meaning to post about the following for a little while, so as we gear up for the start of the season it seems like a good time.
Great Britain has run a National Moth Night for a number of years now. Theirs is a three-night affair, with moth’ers all across the UK participating, recording and reporting their finds. This year the UK’s event will be held from June 23 to 25. It will be in August in 2013 and July in 2014; they shuffle it around so that all of the mothy months eventually get sampled, since many moth species have short and/or specific flight windows.
Till now we haven’t had anything comparable in North America (though I did join in the UK night on two nights in 2009). But David Moskowitz and Liti Haramaty of East Brunswick, NJ, decided to remedy this, putting together North America’s own National Moth Week (don’t let the name or logo fool you; it’s actually open to all moth’ers everywhere, including outside of North America). The premise is the same – on a set of specified dates, moth’ers everywhere go out with their lights and sugar bait and see what they find. They’re working on setting up methods to collect data from participants, much the way they do in the UK.
This year, National Moth Week has been scheduled for July 23-29. On one, a few, or all nights that week, go out with your mothing equipment and record what comes in. You can either run your own night(s) or join in on a public event in your area – check out this webpage for a map of participating moth’ers, including public events.
There will be some contests for people taking part in the event – for instance, highest species total or most participants at an event. A few people have donated prizes; there will be a few signed copies of the new Peterson moth guide, for instance, as well as books from David Wagner and John Himmelman. But you need to register your participation in order to be eligible!
I’m planning to hold a public moth night that week, though I haven’t yet set a date or location for the event. I’ll probably start figuring that stuff out in July, and will post an update (and reminder to participants) then. In the meantime, mark your calendars! I’m looking forward to seeing what we all turn up.
4 thoughts on “National Moth Week”
HI! I’m going to do a Moth Night at Hill-Stead Museum during Moth week. I’m very excited, but humbled by the fact that the other Connecticut moth events are being put on by John Himmelman and David Wager, two luminaries in the field. I am just a schnook who knows the families and shapes! I’m just working on getting people enthused about moths, figuring maybe there’s another John Himmelman out there that just needs a little push. I sure hope I can make it to their events and that they aren’t too private!
Glad you’re planning to participate, Diane! I think it’ll be a fun time for everyone. As Dave says, don’t worry about your skills – you’re probably better than you think of yourself as (I still think of myself as relatively novice! My family keeps correcting me), and in any case, it’s not about skill level so much as discovery and having fun.
Hi Diane…no need to worry about your mothing skills. First of all with Seabrooke’s new book, we are all going to be instant experts :) I am certain that her new moth guide is going to do as much for popularizing and focusing attention on moths as Roger Tory Peterson’s 1934 Field Guide for Birds did for birds! But you hit the main point of National Moth Week right on the head. It’s all about just getting out and seeing what is all around us, whether we are experts or not. Thanks for participating in National Moth Week, together we are all going to do something great this summer by focusing attention on moths, biodiversity and heightening environmental awareness. Dave Moskowitz, Co-Founder, National Moth Week (www.nationalmothweek.org)
Thanks Dave! I do hope you’re right about the popularizing moths thing, there needs to be more of us out there. :) I think NMW will be fabulous, and I can’t wait to see what we all turn up! I hope you’ll have a spot on the site where people can contribute photos/stories/whatever and/or you’ll be linking to other peoples’ blogs and Flickr streams. :)