IJAMS NATURE CENTER PARTICIPATES IN 2019 NATIONAL MOTH WEEK; Annual Event Focuses on Nighttime Pollinators

July 9th, 2019

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Honeybees may get the lion’s share of attention as pollinators, but you may be in the dark about another insect doing this important work: The moth.

Nature’s often unheralded nighttime pollinators will be in the spotlight July 20-28 during the eighth annual National Moth Week (NMW).

This event invites moth enthusiasts of all ages and abilities to participate in a worldwide citizen science project that literally shines the light on moths, celebrating their beauty, ecological diversity and the critical role they play in the natural world.

Since its inception, NMW has inspired thousands of public and private moth-watching and education events in all 50 states and almost 80 countries. Sites have included national parks and monuments, museums and local recreation areas, private backyards and front porches. All you need is a light and somewhere for moths to land.

Anyone can register a public or private event, or can find one in their area by visiting nationalmothweek.org. Event registration is free. The NMW website features a map showing events around the world.

This year, Ijams Nature Center is getting in on the action with some friendly competition. Ijams will offer two simultaneous citizen science moth programs, one at the Ijams Visitor Center in South Knoxville and one at McFee Park in Farragut.

If you’re put off by the words “citizen science,” there’s no need to be, said Ijams Public Programs Coordinator Jeremy Clothier.

“We like to emphasize the “CITIZEN” in citizen science, as these programs invite EVERYONE to participate in hands-on fieldwork,” Clothier said. “We get to do the FUN part of the science, which is baiting, netting, collecting, photographing and, finally, releasing the moths. Then we upload the photos to let the scientists run statistics and analyze data. The citizens get to do the exciting part of research that scientists wish they had time for.”

Attendees for both programs will stay up late to attract, capture and identify moths. At the end of the night, they’ll total their catch to see which group identified the most species of moths.

Both Ijams programs are designed for ages 8 and older and take place on Saturday, July 20, from 9 to 11:30 p.m. The cost is $5 per individual or $10 per family. For more information or to register, visit https://ijams.org/events/.

Participants like those who attend the Ijams programs and other worldwide events will share photos and data to NMW partner websites as well as the NMW Flickr group, which now boasts nearly 95,000 moth photos. Moth observations submitted to iNaturalist.org, a site for sharing observations in the natural world, will be added to the NMW project on that site. Last year, more than 27,000 moth observations were posted on iNaturalist.

Moths are among the most diverse and successful organisms on Earth. Scientists estimate that there are 150,000 to more than 500,000 moth species. In addition to studying their benefits as pollinators, moths also are being observed to determine the impact of climate change on their numbers and distribution.

According to a report in Science Daily, a study in the United Kingdom found that moths accomplish a significant amount of pollination under cover of darkness. By analyzing pollen grains found on moths, researchers suggested that “moths supplement the daytime work of bees and other pollinating insects…” and do their work over wider areas than bees.

For more information about National Moth Week, visit nationalmothweek.org or write to info@nationalmothweek.org. NMW information is available on Facebook (National Moth Week), Twitter (@moth_week) and Instagram (mothweek). Hastags are #nationalmothweek and #mothweek.

National Moth Week was founded in 2012 by the Friends of the East Brunswick (NJ) Environmental Commission, a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental education and conservation. It is now one of the most widespread citizen science projects in the world and is coordinated by an all-volunteer team in New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Washington, Ecuador, India and Hong Kong.

Ijams Nature Center is a nonprofit, 315-acre educational nature center for all ages, abilities and walks of life. Ijams’ mission is to encourage stewardship of the natural world by providing an urban greenspace for people to learn about and enjoy the outdoors through engaging experiences. Located just three miles from downtown Knoxville, Ijams features 12 miles of hiking and mixed-use trails, a public access river dock, swimming, boating, biking and more. The center offers hundreds of educational programs annually, from school field trips and off-site programs to on-site outdoor and classroom education programs that focus on topics from birding and wildflowers to yoga hikes, cooking classes and art programs. The Ijams grounds and trails are open every day from 8 a.m. until dusk. The Visitor Center is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit Ijams.org or call 865-577-4717.

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For more information, contact:

  • Jeremy Clothier, Ijams Public Programs Coordinator, at jclothier@ijams.org or 865-577-4717 ext. 127
  • Sandra Lanman, National Moth Week Team, at sandra.lanman@gmail.com

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