Where is the PAFF?

The Annual PA Firefly Festival takes place on the grounds of the Black Caddis Ranch B & B in Kellettville, just 15 miles east of Tionesta on Route 666. The address is 13558 Route 666, Tionesta, Pa 16353.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

3rd PAFF Wet but Success

Despite the torrential rain, we persevered with the festival events and firefly watching.  Three-hundred-fifteen, 315 intrepid firefly watchers, enthusiasts, musicians, artists and volunteers braved the weather and were rewarded.  The "Nature Center" was constantly full of people engaged with the rangers, naturalists and entomologists.  The Food Trucks delivered scrumptious freshly prepared meals and snacks.  No one went hungry.  The kids flocked around Adele as she led them out into the fields to catch "bugs" and identify lots of other critters. The bands sheltered on the stage, and entertained us all afternoon into nightfall. The merchandise table was busy all day selling t-shirts, glowsticks, flashlights, and the must-have PAFF blue rain ponchos. Finally, when the time came for firefly watching, the rain stopped, temperatures held and we saw the Summer's Dazzling Gift of fireflies.  The "Chinese Lanterns", Photuris versicolor, along the Tionesta creek created a fairy land walkway and the "Synchronous", Photinus carolinus, provided the dazzling show in the Lil' Minister creek hollow.

We want to thank all the PAFF board members and volunteers whose planning and work made this all possible: Ken & Peggy Butler, Christine Hendryx, Bruce Parkhurst, Bill & Mary Belitskus, John Stoneman, Joe & Sam Butler, Tera Nadeau, Kayla Davis, Rob Santangelo, Guy & Jane Ball, Gail & Marshall Ariza, Mike Toole, Paula Hanahan, teens from the Taylor Diversion Program plus numerous friends and family who jumped in and gave a hand where ever they saw a need.

Next, we want to thank all the participants and exhibitors who provided all the information about our great natural resources: Adele Wellman, Allegany State Park, NY; Mark Szajkowski, USDA Forest Service; Ceclie Stelter, DCNR- Bureau of Forestry; Rodney Daum, Mark McKee USACE Tionesta Lake; Chris Mosebach, Oil Creek State Park; Jennifer Moore, Chapman Dam State Park and Dr. Denise Piechnick, University of Pittsburgh-Bradford.  The exhibits in the "Nature Center" were the highlight of the day not just because it was the driest place, but because everyone was so welcoming.

We also want to recognize all the ARTISTS (food, music and crafters): Farah & Rick of Jammin' Gyros; Mary & Wilson Taylor of Annabelle's; Casey & Cariese Henning of Mobile Fresca; Jane and Mandi of Detention, Rob & Gene with Joyful Noise; Gustav Redick and The Uriah Effect; Matt Miskie; and Dominick DeCecco; Megan Merz/Hootbark; Dolores Joshua/Mayburg Mercantile; Nora Davidson/Kneat and Paul Lukas/Bug Boxes.  We had some who had to pass on the day, but still contributed items for the door prize give away, so we thank Jane Timothy/Cottage on Vine; Chris Coleman/Chris Crafts; John Seifert/J&M Emporium; Lew Cooke/Allegheny Walking Sticks, Rachel Bryson/Phat Sacs.

Last, but not least, we thank all the sponsors and friends who faithfully and generously donated funds and/or contributed in-kind to the PAFF and Educational Outreach: Christine & Eric, Jan Hendryx, Tionesta Lions Club, Jack & Grace Sherman, The Flying W Ranch, Jeff Blum Contracting, Heffern's Septic Service, Advanced Sanitation Services, Justin Jones Photography, Blue Gill Graphics, Paula Hanahan Designs, Razoo.com Foundation donors, Black Caddis Ranch B&B and friends Beverly Rowan, Rodney Daum, Stephen & Marion Sherwood, Jim & Pat Mays, Barbara C Litten, Brian Sherman.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Please Come and Learn about Fireflies

The weather conditions aren't cooperating, but we are proceeding with the festival on Saturday at 12-noon.  The forecast is for T-storms in the A.M., but steady rain for the rest of the day.  We have plenty of rain cover for the exhibits, vendors and music, so you should still be able to get the firefly information and be entertained during the day.  Please, come and enjoy the food and music, just wear boots and rain gear.

We are doubtful that there will be much viewing of fireflies tomorrow night due to the dangerous conditions in the forest and possible flooding of trails.  However, we want you to come to the festival for the day and learn about the fireflies in the Allegheny National Forest, so that you will be able to seek them out and watch them at a future night this summer when conditions improve.

Camping is still available for Saturday night, if you are prepared and up for those conditions.  No one is obligated to stay.  We are still trying to raise funds for the future festivals so, T-shirts, and other merchandise will be on sale.  We have fantastic door prizes and lots of fun.  Please come.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Summer's Dazzling Gift

The 2015 firefly season has officially begun.  We started noticing minimal firefly activity on Memorial day weekend, but this past weekend the activity was undeniable.  We saw hundreds in the Black Caddis Ranch field this weekend of all different varieties, between 5-7 different flash patterns and 2-3 color variations.  We saw some synchronous activity on the fringes of the field and trees.  The forest remains comparably quiet.  Perhaps the temperatures are too cool under the trees.  We will keep you posted as things progress, but suffice it to say, that if the trend continues as it has in the past 3 years, we should see peak synchronous activity in the forest by the festival week.

We encourage you to go out at night in your own backyards or neighborhoods to observe the firefly activity for the next week to 2 weeks.  You should try to eliminate all lights possible, wear long sleeves and pants,  if you need to wear bug spray, don't handle the lightning bugs, and bring your patience.  You may need to sit and wait until 11:00 pm to see all the different species.

If you are coming for the day of music and festival activities, please bring a lawn chair, wear sunscreen and plan on eating here!  We have 3 different food trucks coming offering an international menu of gyros, burgers, hot dogs, tacos and Cuban sandwiches.  You should also bring your wallets so you can shop at the arts/crafts vendors, and of course we will have PAFF merchandise on sale.  All the PAFF proceeds go to support the musicians, presenters and sanitation services.  Remember this is a family-friendly, alcohol and drug free event.

We have activities for kids and families all day. Seven different forest naturalists will be here and our resident entomologist, Dr Denise Piechnik is going to return, they have exhibits and activities for children of all ages to learn more about the fireflies and the habitats.

The music schedule for the day is as follows:
12:30 - Joyful Noise
1:30 - Detention
2:30-The Uriah Effect
3:30 - Matt Miskie
4:30 - Stoney & Co.
5:30 - Dominick DeCecco
6:30 - Broke Stranded & Ugly
7:30 - The Hills & The Rivers

If you are coming for the firefly walks/watch, be prepared for a late evening in the forest.  We are offering 8 different organized firefly walks in a variety of habitats throughout the Kellettville area and out into the Allegheny National Forest.  The walks range in length and ability.  Some locations are remote and require driving as far as 10 miles on Forest Roads.   We are asking firefly hunters to sign-up at the PAFF registration table for one of those that interest you the most.  We recommend wearing long sleeves/pants, sturdy waterproof shoes or muck boots, bring a folding camp chair, if you wear bug spray, put it on before you leave for the hikes, and don't handle the bugs.  You should use a flashlight that either has a blue or red filter.  Use your flashlight sparingly; only when you are walking and shine it directly on the ground.  If you turn-off your lights and let your eyes adjust to the darkness, you will be amazed at how well you will be able to see.   Most of all bring your patience.  The fireflies do not have on/off switches.  The organizers of the festival make no guarantees or promises that you will see fireflies or synchronous fireflies.  This is a naturally occurring phenomenon, there are a lot of variables that can affect these animals, and sometimes nature does its own thing on its own time.  Our intent for having the festival is to educate and raise awareness about the fireflies in the Allegheny National Forest.  If you learn something about fireflies, regardless of whether or not you see them on Saturday night, we have accomplished our mission.

If you would like to tent camp on the grounds of the  Black Caddis Ranch for the night of the festival, please call 814-463-7606 to make a reservation.  We are asking for a $10 donation to PAFF to cover the cost of sanitation services and water.  If you need other lodging for the evening, we suggest you make reservations at one of the motels in Tionesta or Marienville.  Look on www.Forestcounty.com for lodging information. 

The 3rd Annual PA Firefly Festival will be the biggest and best we have to date, and you don't want to miss out on all the fun.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

PLUG IN and GLOW ON!


The Pennsylvania Firefly Festival (PAFF) seeks volunteers from Forest County and nearby communities – whether year round residents or regular, seasonal camp folk – to join in an effort to learn more about one of the true wonders of our region:  the enchanting firefly.
PAFF offers a fun way to explore our big Forest County backyard, the Allegheny National Forest, as well as an opportunity to learn more about some of the 15 species of fireflies identified by researchers in Forest and Butler counties in 2012.
There are two main ways to plug in.  First, if you have limited time for involvement, come be part of the 3rd Annual Firefly Festival on Saturday, June 27.  By day, this family-friendly celebration of the firefly features music, food, educational exhibits, and hands-on activities. By night, of course, there are fireflies. Second, if you are interested in science and are a regular in the area, consider registering as a “Citizen Scientist” with the national Firefly Monitoring Program run by the Boston Museum of Science.
Whatever kind of questions you might have about fireflies, you can probably get an answer at the 3rd annual PA Firefly Festival in Kellettville, where we are pleased to announce that firefly expert Dr. Denise Piechnik from Pitt-Bradford will be on hand to speak with attendees about fireflies. Call 814-463-7606 to sign-up if you are interested in volunteering in one of the following areas:
One-day ways to participate:
  • ·        If you like to read aloud, we have firefly books to read to children. Sign up to read a children’s book! (Commitment: 10-20 minutes). Readings are on the hour, 12 noon – 5pm
  • ·        If you like to hike and plan to stay into the night to observe fireflies, sign up to visit a firefly viewing area by day, and then return with a chair at night to sit and watch the fireflies.  Be the ‘anchor’ for a group of firefly watchers.  (Commitment: half hour daytime, two hours nighttime).
  • ·        If you like arts and crafts, take a turn at the craft table where we have fun and easy crafts for kids. We supply the materials.  (Commitment: one hour or more).
  • ·        If you are familiar with some of the forest roads in the Allegheny National Forest, sign up to lead a car caravan to some of the best viewing areas in the forest:  Beaver Meadows, Hearts’ Content, Kelly Pines and along Forest Roads 536 and 137.

Longer term participation in the Citizen Science Project, an especially good choice for those who have fireflies in their own backyard, or near where they live:
  • ·        Get registered at the Boston Museum of Science website www.mos.org/fireflywatch
  • ·        Once per season, fill out a habitat sheet about the surroundings where you make observations
  • ·        One evening per week throughout the summer, check your area for fireflies, for about ten minutes.
  • ·        Report your findings at the MOS Fireflywatch site.


·        Time commitment – as little as 20 minutes per week for the summer – or as long as the fabulous wealth of educational resources at the Fireflywatch site holds your attention!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Spring is here & so the PAFF Poster is out!

Here's the poster for this year's Festival.  We have a full line-up of Music for the day with music to delight all tastes.  Artists and Crafters are signing up daily, so bring your wallets to shop.  Food vendors include Jammin' Gyros and Annabelle's food trucks.  This year's Nature exhibitors include: entomologist Denise Piechnik from University of Pittsburgh/Bradford; Naturalists Jennifer Moore from Chapman Dam State Park and Oil Creek State Park; Cecile Stetler, the State DCNR Forester; Rodney Daum from Tionesta Lake/US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Forestry Service/Allegheny National Forest.  You can expect to see and learn about the many natural wonders in the Allegheny National Forest including the fireflies.