Sat, Apr 26, 2014 - Page 11 News List

Keeping firefly specimens makes for poor environmental education: conservationists
捕螢做標本? 生態教學錯誤示範

A firefly sits perched on a blade of grass in this undated file photo.

Photo courtesy of the Yunlin County Ecological Conservation Association

Recently some elementary school kids in Chiayi County were taken on a field trip in a hired car to watch fireflies in Gukeng Township’s Huashan area. A local guide discovered that nearly every child had an insect jar. Stopping them from using the jars, he effectively kept the kids from collecting specimens and creating a regrettable environmental education situation.

The firefly watching season at Gukeng Township’s Huashan area has officially begun, albeit later than usual this year. Nevertheless, fireflies are indeed greater in number this year when compared to previous years. Yunlin County Ecological Conservation Association volunteer Liao Chi-chao says that since the weather has been intermittently cold and warm and rainfall has been minimal, he only spotted two or three fireflies during the Tomb Sweeping Festival, which had initially caused him to worry about there being a possible dearth of fireflies this year. Fortunately, however, the number of lightning bugs has turned out to be greater than years past since the firefly watching season officially commenced.

Last Saturday was the first day of the firefly watching season, says Liao, adding that more than 200 people crowded the Huashan area. Having people be enthusiastic about firefly watching is a good thing, Liao says, but he still warns that with too many people around it could have a negative impact on the overall lightning bug habitat. Local ecology guide Wu Teng-li says that it is laudable for an elementary school from Chiayi County to come to Huashan for an environmental field trip, but says that it is somewhat ridiculous for every single student to bring an insect jar.


1. regrettable adj.

遺憾的;可惜的;不幸的 (yi2 han4 de5; ke3 xi2 de5; bu2 xing4 de5)

例: It is regrettable that we didn’t have time to visit the museum during our trip.


2. intermittently adv.

間歇地 (jian4 xie1 de5)

例: The volcano has erupted intermittently over the past century.


3. fragile adj.

脆弱的;易受損的 (cui4 ruo4 de5; yi4 shou4 sun3 de5)

例: The material is very fragile, so be careful.


Wu stepped in to stop the students from catching fireflies after a local child complained to staff. The students argued with Wu, saying that their teacher had told them to catch the bugs. The students eventually released the lightning bugs after Wu said that he would have the police come to take care of the matter. Educators should teach more about environmental ethics because respecting life has greater educational value than firefly watching, Wu says. The unspoken rules of firefly watching were also broken that day when two cars were driven into the firefly watching area, Wu says.

Lightning bugs are relatively fragile, which is why Liao says that it is so easy to hurt their wings if you try to catch them in your hands. Fireflies are not suitable pets either, Liao says, adding that once you take them home they will not get enough food and usually die within two or three days. For making ecological observations, you can use nets to catch them and then drop them into a glass jar, Liao says, adding that after using a weak light source to observe them you should release the bugs back to their original habitat.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)







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