National Moth Week, Plastic Pickup Challenge, Lunch and Learn: Waterways, Fleet Electrification in Texas, Celebrate Architecture Gala, Green Jobs and more
This year, National Moth Week is observing its tenth anniversary July 17-25, 2021. NMW encourages individuals to not only appreciate moths, but also to become citizen scientists and contribute data.
As one of the most diverse and successful organisms on the planet, moths may be short lived, but they pack much excitement, complexity, and duties into their brief life. Moths can even impersonate other animals. For example, certain moths have evolved to look like less palatable insects such as the wasp. Some moths are as small as a pinhead while others are the size of an adult hand. They are an essential component of the food chain. An estimated 95 percent of nesting birds rear their young on insects, and caterpillars make up a significant part of that.
The Lepidoptera order includes both butterflies and the much more numerous moths. In general, moths can be distinguished from butterflies by their antenna: butterflies usually have long, thin antennae tipped with a ball.
The most commonly observed moths (as recorded in iNaturalist) in the Houston area include the following species:
- Salt Marsh Moth (aka the fuzzy caterpillar racing across bike trails)
- Forest Tent Caterpillar Moth
- Southern Flannel Moth (the puss moth caterpillar, or asp, notable for its excruciatingly painful sting)
- Polyphemus Moth
- Fir Tussock Moth
- Fall Webworm Moth
- Yellow-striped Armyworm Moth
- Tersa Sphinx
- Giant Leopard Moth (also known as the woolly bear caterpillar)
- Luna Moth
Moth Night Out Event at Trinity River Refuge
Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge will host its Annual Moth Night Out Event on Friday, July 23 as part of National Moth Week events occurring across the country. Interested folks will meet at the Refuge Headquarters building at 9 p.m. to see and photograph some of the over 950 species of moths documented around the building’s security lights. Black lights and mercury vapor lights will also be used. At 9 pm., Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge Biologist Laurie Lomas Gonzales will give a talk titled “The Moths at night, need less light.” She will discuss the plight of moths, light pollution, and simple steps you can do at home to help moths at home. Stuart Marcus will lead moth identification outside starting around 9:30 p.m. The Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters building is located at 601 FM 1011. Liberty, directly across the street from the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center. If you are not yet fully vaccinated, wearing a mask is required: in federal buildings and outdoors on federal land when social distancing cannot be maintained. Call the Refuge office at 936/336-9786 for more information. All ages are invited.
If you want to spend time outside for an evening of mothing and observing, check out the moth night events hosted by The Native Prairies Association of Texas.
If you–like most moths–are a night owl, stay on the lookout for these friends. You can leave a porch light on and check for them when it is dark. Here’s a great video, from the US Fish & Wildlife Service near Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, describing how to observe insects at night.
Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers
Engage your students with lessons outdoors. Over 30 workshops are in the regional summer professional development calendar to connect you with local resources. Sign up today at hereinhouston.org.
- July 22 – Summer Agriculture Academy
- July 26-30 – STEM21 conference
- July 26-30 – NatStart 2021 conference
- July 27-29, Aug. 3-5 – Civic Science and Taking Inquiry into Action
- July 28 – Measuring Urban Heat
- August 6, 7 – Project Wild
Breaking Through – How to Build A Strong, Sustainable Nonprofit
Presented by the Executive Service Corps of Houston and Citizens’ Environmental Coalition, Breaking Through – How to Build A Strong, Sustainable Nonprofit is a free, robust, six-month business training program for nonprofit organizations with a multifaceted approach including workshops, mentoring/coaching, and development of of a business plan. Topics covered include governance, financial management, marketing and branding, fundraising, volunteers, insurance, IT, HR, and disaster planning. Apply now for a July program start date. Special consideration given to CEC’s member and partner organizations. Download the flyer and simple application.
Montopolis: The Living Coast
We are excited to announce that The Living Coast event, planned for last year but postponed, has been rescheduled for Sep. 18, 2021, at MATCH. The Living Coast performance by Montopolis combines original music, live narration, and cinematic images of the Texas gulf coast. Surfers and sailors, shrimpers and oilmen, poets and scientists all share their stories about this complicated region of serene beauty, vast industry, and incredible contradictions. All ticket sales will be donated to the Matagorda Bay Foundation and the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition. Tickets now available.
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