Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Moth Night on Blennerhassett Island, Sunday July 27

Squash Vine Borer (c) High Virginia Images

Moth Night on Blennerhassett Island, Sunday July 27

            PARKERSBURG, West Virginia –The Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter of the West Virginia Master Naturalist program, in conjunction with Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park, is sponsoring a "Moth Watch" outing on Blennerhassett Island, Sunday evening, July 27. Participants will board the Island Belle sternwheeler at 7 p.m. for a river trip to the island. Attendees will gather at the picnic shelter for a short program about moths and how to catch and observe them. Moth attracting stations will be in place for participants to observe and catch moths. Participants will depart at 11 p.m. for the ride back to the docks. Light refreshments will be provided.
            People of all ages are invited to enjoy a special night observing animals rarely seen. Master Naturalists will be on hand to assist and help identify moth species.
            "Moth species outnumber those of butterflies by a factor of 15 to 1. Many of them are as stunningly beautiful as butterflies and yet rarely seen because they work at night," according to Emily Grafton of the local Master Naturalist chapter. "Moths provide an important link in the ecology of our forest ecosystems and much information is needed about the populations. We will also take the opportunity to identify other night life that may appear." Grafton will be joined by entomologist Sue Olcott for this evening of winged discoveries.
            Participants are encouraged to bring cameras for photographing moths. Some moths will be collected for identification by WVU entomologists. All data will be submitted to a national database, part of the Citizens Scientist network. Participants also should bring a flashlight, light jacket and comfortable walking shoes.
            The cost to participate in Moth Night at Blennerhassett Island is $12 for adults and $10 for children ages 3-12. This covers the boat ride, light refreshment, program and nighttime experience.
            The Blennerhassett Island Moth Night July 27 is scheduled in tandem with National Moth Week occurring July 19-27, 2014. National Moth Week celebrates the beauty, life cycles and habitats of moths, encouraging people of all ages and abilities to learn about, observe and document moths in their backyards, parks and neighborhoods.
            To learn more about the Blennerhassett Island Moth Night event, call 304-420-4800 or email blennerhassettislandsp@wv.gov. Find these events and more at www.wvstateparks.com.
Moth Watch website:  http://nationalmothweek.org/
Naturalist/Entomologist for Moth Night at Blennerhassett Island July 27
Sue Olcott
            Susan Olcott has worked as a wildlife diversity biologist for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources since 1995. Currently project leader for the West Virginia Butterfly Atlas, she also headed up the West Virginia Dragonfly and Damselfly Atlas. She has been an avid naturalist and birder since her childhood in upstate New York. She holds a B.S. from the University of Maine in Wildlife Biology and an M.S. from Frostburg State University in the same. In addition to numerous point count routes and surveys that she runs annually, she leads public bird walks in the Morgantown, West Virginia, area and spring walks at Prickett's Fort State Park each year and coordinates the northern panhandle region for the current West Virginia Breeding Birds Atlas.
Emily Grafton
            Emily Grafton, a West Virginia native, spent the past 35 years roaming the fields and forests of the state observing and learning its natural history. She's earned degrees in botany and special education with an emphasis on teaching science. Emily has worked for several agencies with a focus on environmental education and program development, biological field studies and nature writing. She has written numerous articles on plants and wildlife published in various state newsletters, the DNR Wildlife Magazine and other publications. She has also written two comprehensive field guides to two state parks and is an avid birder.

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