L'Observatoire des Vers luisants et des Lucioles (OVL) / National French Firefly Observatory is a citizen science project that started in 2015 and unites over 15000 observers per year. It is working on a national level, covering metropolitan France and its overseas domains and territories. Participants are asked to announce to the observatory that they have seen fireflies/glowworms, where, when, and how many. Once they have answered these basic questions citizen scientists have the choice to answer more questions about gardening practices, pesticide and limacide use, light pollution, etc. We propose also more "personalized" works to participants that ask for in proposing short 1.5km walks "searching for fireflies" with questions, explanations etc. Also vulgarisation talks about bioluminescence, fireflies, light pollution are given upon demand.
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The presence of fireflies and glowworms (Lampyridae) are in general considered good indicators of healthy environments. So we hope through the study of the animals to obtain means to measure the good or bad conditions of ecosystems. Fireflies have enormous goodwill with the general public and the numerous observations that we get per year clearly reflect this. The different data obtained (already > 90000 observations) will be compared with maps of for instance light pollution, land use, agricultural practices, etc. The data will be published once analyzed both in peer-reviewed scientific and vulgarisation articles. For the moment we published or participate in articles of work concerning specific areas of France (Alsace, Brittany, Normandie, Ain, Quercy, Pyrenees Orientales, etc). We provided also help to the IUCN on several subjects. Often the citizen scientist that brought in really important information will have a place among the authors.
It is important to mention that data from all over the world are welcome. As we are actively collaborating with several firefly observatories all over the world, non-French data will be forwarded to the "right observatories".
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How to participate
Everyone can participate by going onto the website http://www.asterella.eu/NEOKIPOS/ and by answering the questions posed. The one who wants more can contact us and we will lead them through. In the firefly period (mid-may till the end of September), a member of the Estuaire association is present to answer questions or send questions through if more specialist knowledge is necessary. Special missions can be planned.
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Good eyesight, a red light-emitting torch, good walking shoes, and a raincoat. If more is necessary OVL will provide it.
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