Our New South Bergenite Column: Moth Night!

Jim Wright, who maintains this blog for New Jersey Meadwolands Commission, also writes a twice-monthly nature column for The South Bergenite.

Here's his latest, an interview with Dave Moskowitz, who is leading next month's Moth Night at DeKorte Park:

IMG_2195When it comes to bugs with bad reputations, moths probably rank up there with ticks, mosquitos and lice.

In an effort to change the public’s perception — and to show how amazing these insects really are, the Meadowlands Commission and Bergen County Audubon Society are sponsoring the region’s first-ever Moth Night next month.

The free event, which runs from 8:30 to 11 p.m. in DeKorte Park on Wednesday, July 25, is being held in conjunction with the first-ever National Moth Week.  Leading the event will be naturalist David Moskowitz, President of the Friends of the East Brunswick Environmental Commission and co-founder of Moth Week.

Moskowitz spoke with me recently about the event — and explained why you should save the date on your calendars.

The interview follows.

What’s the big deal about moths?
   Moths are amazing — the patterns, the colors, the sizes, the shapes. Once you do a Moth Night, I guarantee you will be hooked. You might not become a moth expert, but you’ll be hooked on moths. They are absolutely fascinating.
Moth JW NJMC  In New Jersey, we have literally thousands and thousands of species, some as tiny as a pinhead and some as big as your hand. You never know what you are going to find. That’s what makes it so exciting.

What will happen at Meadowlands Moth Night?
   To attract moths, we’ll use a couple of different light set-ups [outside the Environment Center].
Behind each of those light setups we’ll set up a white sheet.
   The moths are attracted to the light, and the sheets give them a place to land. People can go up and get close looks at them, get close-up photographs of them.
  It’s a great opportunity to see moths up-close, and we’ll have several experts there to help people identify the moths.

How did you get the idea for National Moth Week?
  The idea came out of the local moth nights that we have been doing in East Brunswick for six years now.  The original thought was to do something statewide in New Jersey, and like all good ideas, it just morphed into something larger.

What’s the goal of the Meadowlands Moth Night — and National Moth Week?
  We want to get people interested in moths, and through that, to get them interested in biodiversity and environmental awareness. People will be learning about one more thing that’s around us that most of us don’t really think about and don’t get a chance to see.

What about moths’ bad reputation?
   Some people equate moths with what eats your clothing, but that’s only a few species out of many thousands. Moths are excellent pollinators, and they are a key part of nature’s food chain, providing food for birds and bats and other creatures.

What’s your advice to anyone who wants to learn more about moths?
   Leave a light on in your back yard, see what flies in, and just take a good close look at them. You’ll be amazed.

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