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Luminescence

Word of the Week

Luminescence (loom-uh-ness-since): The low temperature emission of light. It comes from the Latin word lumen, meaning "light" and the English word escence, meaning "a state of existence."


Salve!


Fireflies are celebrated worldwide during the month of July, so I have a fun project for you this week!


Known as fireflies or lightening bugs, these interesting creatures actually belong to the beetle family. There is nothing more magical than walking outside on a warm summer night and being greeted by tiny flashes of light floating in the sky around you.


Fireflies use their light to communicate with other fireflies. It's also how they locate a mate. To our eyes, lights seem to appear randomly. But, in fact, they are very precise patterns delivering specific messages!


So, how do they make their special glow? There are specialized organs under their abdomens that take in oxygen. The oxygen is combined with something called luciferin. This combination makes light with no heat. The light they create is called bioluminescence and it lights up the end portion of their abdomen.


Here are a few more fun facts for you. . .

  • Fireflies do not sting or bite.

  • Their average lifespan is roughly two months.

  • Fireflies are omnivores. Their diet consists of pollen, nectar, and dew droplets.

  • The babies hatch as worm-like creatures who haven't fully developed. Because they are on the ground, they feed on worms, snails, and insects during this phase of their lives.

  • Even firefly eggs glow!

  • Their lights can be yellow, green, or orange.

  • Large groups sometimes blink in unison.

How can we help grow the firefly population?

  • STOP using dangerous pesticides.

  • Turn off your outside lights at night.

  • Allow part of your yard to grow a little wild. This will give them a safe area to hide, lay larvae, and eat!

  • Add a water feature to your landscape.

Now for our fun project!


What you'll need:

An empty cereal box, paintbrushes, paint, scissors, a small string of lights.


How it's done:

  1. Cut a rectangle out of the back of your cereal box. This will allow you to insert the lights.

  2. Paint your box to look like a night sky. I used black, blues, and some gray. It will take a few layers of paint to stick to the box, so be patient.

  3. Using a pen or pencil, poke a small hole for each light you want to insert.

  4. Gently insert the bulbs.

Make sure to stop and enjoy nature's natural night light this weekend!

Until next time. . .

Gram

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