National Moth Week was started in 2012 by members of the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization in Central New Jersey dedicated to local environmental education and conservation. The idea grew out of the popular local moth nights organized by Dave Moskowitz and Liti Haramaty that attracted experienced and novice moth-ers of all ages.
What began as a plan for a statewide moth night evolved into a national week and quickly became an international citizen science project that invited organizations and individuals to register their events for free. Participants were encouraged to post photos and observations on partner websites dedicated to moth and wildlife identification and study.
The first year, registered mothing events were held in 49 states and 31 countries around the world. Since then, events have been registered annually in all 50 states, and in a total of more than 80 countries on every continent but Antarctica, including many island nations. Each year, thousands of new moth photos are posted during National Moth Week. Each year, thousands of new moth photos are posted during National Moth Week, including on NMW’s Flickr group, which now has nearly 100,000 photos.
National Moth Week has been featured on NPR’s Science Friday in 2013 and 2014; in The New York Times and in print and broadcast media around the world. Blogs and websites dedicated to the environment and the natural world regularly feature the event.
National Moth Week is a project of the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission, and is coordinated by a team of volunteers around the world whose expertise ranges from entomology and biology to art and communications. All share a desire to celebrate moths’ beauty, diversity and important role in the environment and to engage new audiences in appreciating and observing them.
In addition, National Moth Week has partnerships with organizations around the world that focus on moths’ ecology, distribution and biodiversity. Its science advisory board includes educators, scientists and environmentalists.
National Moth Week takes place annually during the last full week and two weekends of July – starting on the next to last Saturday and ending on the last Sunday of the month.