By NMW team member Ian Morton
If you’re anything like me, you might have thought that a night or two of moth-ing on your back porch in the last week of July doesn’t really count as a National Moth Week Event. Thankfully, that’s a load of twaddle! The truth is that there are only two criteria for being a National Moth Week Event – looking at moths, and looking at moths during the last full week in July.
The word ‘event’ was always my problem. I’d obviously been staring at UV lights for too long, because I ended up with a picture in my head of a bunch of moths taking part in Olympic Events, the 100m, javelin throwing, skiing, sailing, and the like. (Other friends had assumed that their porch-lit party wouldn’t count, especially as they didn’t know many or any of the scientific names).
The reality is that National Moth Week Events can be anything you want them to be – they don’t even have to be at night as there are many day-flying moths, and of course some amazing moth caterpillars to find!
For me, personally, a moth-ing Event is about recording (photographing) what I see during the week and, with modern iphones and ipads taking excellent quality images, anybody can now capture and share these images and be a part of this data-gathering exercise.
Other Events may be just having a few friends round to your home for an evening barbeque and looking at the moths, taking a sheet and black light out to a remote spot for star gazing and moth-ing, or just putting on an outside light and relaxing on your porch – really, anything goes! (As my wife says, a National Moth Week events can be incredibly sociable, as many moths are very obliging and well-behaved creatures who wait patiently for their photo to be taken, leaving lots of time for conversation, drinks, and laughter!)
The major public Events held by the parks, protected areas and societies etc. are extremely important in terms of education and increasing awareness of the importance and beauty of moths. However, for each major public Event held there are countless public and private Events which go unregistered each year.
Please register(2019) your Event and take part in one of the biggest Citizen Science projects in the world.
Just click on the Registration tab at www.nationalmothweek.org and complete the details of your event. Events can be marked as “Public” or “Private” but you don’t have to give the exact location of your home or where you will be on a specific night, just use a local landmark or town.