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. PARKING $5 donation, proceeds benefit PAFF and AmVets post 113.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Donate to PAFF during the Bridge Builders Week of Giving

During the week of March 19th-23rd, your tax-deductible donation to PA Firefly Festival helps support the Firefly Educational Programs, Summer Research Interns, and the future festivals. It's as easy as 1-2-3!

  1. Go to the Bridge Builders Community Foundation Gives website 
  2. Get out your favorite credit card and...
  3. Make at least a $25 donation
Every donation counts towards helping us win even more cash prizes from Bridge Builders.  So, thanks for giving. 

We are now less than 4-months away from the 6th Annual PAFF.  We have been busy making plans and looking forward to another exciting season of firefly watching, discovery and fun.  Be sure you stay tuned for the updates by subscribing to our email newsletters on our website.

Friday, February 23, 2018

UN Arts Ambassador tells Forest County about His Fireflies.

Ibiyinka Alao, a United Nations Arts Ambassador from Nigeria came to Forest County on February 1 & 2. With the help of a J. Bowman Proper Trust grant, the Forest Area Arts Council, Tionesta and Marienville Lions clubs and West Forest Elementary Yearbook,  PAFF sponsored the 2-day resident artist in the Forest Area School District.  Ibi, as the kids call him, spoke to all the students K-12 about his experiences growing up in Nigeria and the lessons he learned from catching and releasing fireflies in the bush of Africa.  Using his charm and whit, Ibi connected the science, art, music and life lessons about fireflies to teach them how to paint a forest or village landscape and a Calabash (an African bowl).  He inspired them all to create and express themselves in art, music, writing and dance.

The students' artwork was on display for the community at 2 evening programs, one for West Forest and one for East Forest.  A number of the pieces have been chosen to be published in a Shutterfly book and will soon be available for purchase to benefit PAFF future programs at https://pafireflyfestivalphotogallery.shutterfly.com/.

Each night, Ibi spoke again to the audiences about his paintings and how fireflies have inspired his art and music.  The Scholastic book "Ibi's Fireflies" was a Kids are Authors Award winner and is being made into an animated film using Ibi's artwork and music with the help of producer/director Tim Burton and cinematographer Derek Frey.  We will be looking forward to the release of this film.

This was such a great way to spend the winter days while we are waiting for our next firefly season.  We are so grateful to Ibi and his assistant Shawn.  The PAFF board also thanks the volunteers from Forest Area Arts Council for their help setting up the "art galleries".

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Off-Season Activities

The PAFF board is busy planning for 2018 firefly season.

Each year we learn more and more about these insects and the forest where they live.  Last year's special guest, Sara Lewis, Ph.D. (pictured below) did the most to help us understand our significance and the responsibility we have to all the fireflies in Forest County.  As a result, the PAFF board realizes we have a unique opportunity to create a more intimate educational setting for visitors while protecting the firefly habitat and ultimately the longevity of the species in Forest County.  So this year, limited numbers of firefly walks (both in terms of group size and frequency) and increased ticket prices will be adopted to ensure an improved experience for the visitors.  If you want to see fireflies in the forest this year, stay tuned to this blog, the pafireflyfestival.org and facebook pages to get the latest information on festival registration and seasonal firefly excursions.

 We have been blessed to receive another Huplits Wildlife Grant from the Sierra Club, Allegheny group and another J. Bowman Proper Trust grant to help us continue our educational mission and celebration of these amazing insects.  With the funding, we will be able to sponsor another summer research intern, provide guided firefly excursions, improve seating at the festival, sponsor music & entertainment for festival visitors and continue the educational outreach to groups and schools.   PAFF board members are passionate about researching and learning as much as we can to make 2018 even better for both the visitor and the fireflies.

Friday, July 28, 2017

July is "Big Dipper" Time!

The festival is now been over for a month, but that doesn't mean there aren't fireflies to see.  The Synchronous season ended July 12, and officially made the 2017 season the longest in our  5-year history of data.  However, just as the last of the Synchronous shows ended and the Chinese Lanterns faded, new species began to emerge with just as impressive shows as our June species.

Currently, the lawns and farm fields all over northwest Pennsylvania are lighting up with displays by the "Big Dippers", the J-shaped light of Photinus pyralis.  You can almost set your watches to these displays.  They start around 9:00 pm with a peak around 9:15-20 and ending around 9:45.  They typically fly up from the grass and flash 12-18 inches off the ground at first, flying higher, up to 12-15 feet as they "warm-up".  Usually, children have no trouble catching these seasonal delights (just be sure to release them that night in the same area you caught them).  If you aren't seeing them in your neighborhood or fields, that's a sign that something is just not right.  You may want to take stock and evaluate your habitat more closely around your home for light pollution and/or pesticides.

SAYING GOODBYE:  We want to especially thank this year's PAFF Summer Intern, Peyton Breault, for all of her hard work and commitment to the fireflies of the Allegheny National Forest.  Peyton was able to help identify a lot of the flowers and plants associated with the Synchronous firefly displays and habitats.  We hope to use this information in the future to help us not only predict the display onset and peak, but to preserve and restore habitat.  We wish her well in her Senior Year at Florida Southern College and look forward to what she will become as a successful scientist.

Thank you to all who supported this year's festival with your volunteering, donations and expertise.  We will continue to learn as much as we can about fireflies in the Allegheny National Forest area, and are busy already making plans for next year.

Monday, June 5, 2017

It's June!

It's June and the firefly season is just beginning.  We have sightings of fireflies in the fields, along the creek and in the forest.  The night time temperatures are just perfect.  Last night, we observed 30-40 synchronous fireflies after 10:30 pm.

The 5th Annual PA Firefly Festival is now less than 2 weeks away and the major change this year is the reservation policy for the firefly walks.  We are now sold out and the registration is CLOSED.

Don't worry; there is still a lot to do at the festival during the day.  Come enjoy the live music (see the schedule below) performed by some of the most talented musicians in the area, eat a delicious taco or burger from Mobile Fresca or Annabelle's food trucks, peruse and learn about fireflies and other natural flora and fauna in the Allengheny National Forest, shop the festival merchandise or arts/crafts vendors for a gift or treasure and/or take a trek down the creek or in the forest to see the firefly habitats in the daylight.  You won't go away empty stomach or handed.

If you can't make it here the night of the festival and still want to see fireflies, you can book a guided Seasonal Firefly Walk on any night between June 16 and July 1 for a $5 per person donation to PAFF.  We will meet and depart from the Black Caddis Ranch at 9 pm for the creek to walk amongst the "Chinese Lanterns" and then hike back into the forest after 10 pm to watch the Synchronous shows.

Do you live in the area?  Don't want to fight festival crowds?  We are hosting a Locals' Night for the residents and seasonal campers of Forest County on Wednesday, June 14.  Meet us here at Black Caddis Ranch at 9 pm.

Last but not least... The "Silent Sparks" PAFF Benefit night is Wednesday, June 21st.  The world-renowned firefly expert and author Dr. Sara Lewis will be at West Forest High School to provide a multi-media presentation about her life experiences with fireflies.  Doors open at 6 pm and donations will be accepted at the door.  There will be basket raffles, 50/50, Silent Sparks books and PAFF merchandise for sale.  At 6:15, the short documentary film Brilliant Darkness: Hotaru in the Night will be shown to open the evening.  After Dr. Lewis' presentation, she will take questions from the audience and sign books.  This is a great way to learn about and experience fireflies if you are not an "outdoor" person or can't walk into the forest. You won't want to miss this inspirational and unique evening.