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Grandfather Mountain will hold first synchronous-firefly viewings

Grandfather Mountain fireflies
Jim Magruder
Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
Three nighttime viewing events known as "Grandfather Glows: Bioluminescent Evenings on Grandfather Mountain" will take place this summer.

Grandfather Mountain will soon be the spot for a rare nighttime light show created by Mother Nature. For the first time, public viewing events for synchronous fireflies will take place this summer.

Grandfather Mountain will open for two nights in late June and one in early July. It’s the mating season for synchronous fireflies. They can flash in unison, and their light patterns will illuminate the sky. This species of insect is found in the Appalachian Mountain chain, but they aren’t often found in large numbers.

Synchronous fireflies were officially confirmed on Grandfather Mountain in 2019.

Since then, scientists and researchers have been studying them and looking for ways to protect these insects. The public viewing events will be limited capacity, 200 per night. Tickets will go on sale later this month.

John Caveny, with the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, says it’s an experience that’s hard to forget.

“During the peak of the synchrony activity, there could be thousands of these fireflies flying around at one time," says Caveny. "So it will be a flash and then the flash kind of lights up in a line all the way around you and it kind of gives the sense that the forest is pulsating.”

Caveny says so far, they’ve been able to document ten different species of fireflies at Grandfather Mountain.

The nighttime viewings will also feature other illuminating insects including a species of glowworm that emits a pure blue light.

Keri Brown is a reporter and host at WFDD. She comes to the Triad from West Virginia Public Broadcasting, where she served as the Chief Bureau Reporter for the Northern Panhandle. Prior to her time at West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Keri was the head assignment editor at WTRF-TV in Wheeling and a field producer and assignment manager at WPGH Fox 53 in Pittsburgh. She is a graduate of Ohio University.
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