When I was little, I used to love watching fireflies on warm summer nights, catching them in my hands, and of course putting them in a jar and being mesmerized by them just a little while longer before releasing them to continue on their journey. As I grew up, I saw less and less fireflies each year until eventually I didn’t see anymore. They were all but gone from my hometown and still are except for occasional sightings outside the city limits. Later, I learned that it was probably large trucks spraying for mosquitoes throughout neighborhoods that wiped out the firefly populations. Although, the spraying stopped happening years ago, the fireflies haven’t returned. The pesticides in addition to habitat loss, light pollution, and development have all contributed to this loss.
When I moved to Athens and saw fireflies in my backyard, I was overjoyed. It had been so long since I had seen them and I could not stop smiling. I sat outside every night just to watch their magical flight once again. Now, I eagerly await their return each spring.