Emily Golub made a firefly of her own using a glow stick in a bottle, paper wings and black pipe cleaners for antennas.
Later on, Emily and other children were released outside with nets to catch the insects and the first thing she did was run to the nearest flicker of light and catch one.
“I had so much fun,” said Emily, 8, of Selden. “My favorite thing here was making the cute little firefly that lights up. I named him Lighty. I didn’t even know that it had a chemical inside it.”
Firefly Fun at Connetquot River State Park Preserve in Bohemia on Friday night lured 20 adults and children to learn about fireflies and use nets to catch, observe and release them. The same two-hour program will be held again in July.
Lauren Schnal, an employee at the park’s environmental education office, worked alongside her co-worker, Emily Efstration, helping children catch fireflies along the trail.
But first, Schnal rattled off facts like fireflies have four stages of a life cycle; they only live two weeks as an adult; it’s the only insect that can control their own light and they must be released in the area where they were caught, so they don’t become disoriented.
Gayle Gruenberg brought her 6-year-old daughter Shaye, who is obsessed with collecting bugs.
“She has Tupperware filled with bugs at home,” Gruenberg said. “She even moves rocks to find the bugs in the backyard. She loves bugs.”
Her daughter enjoyed the part of the lesson when she got to see through the eyes of a firefly. Schnal gave the children a kaleidoscope type device that showed multiple views of the same image, which would disorient any human.
“I thought it was cool that they see differently,” Shaye said. “I saw a lot of one thing.”
Schnal found that what actually sunk into the children's memories was that they could find males flying in the sky and females perched on trees or in the grass.
“Our goal is to get the kids outside, into the park and to have an appreciation for nature,” said Schnal, 22, of East Islip. “You should be having fun and learning at the same time and not even realize.”