Their summertime glow is so familiar and their quiet presence adds to the magic of evening walks. But most don’t know that the firefly flashes and accompanying movements are used for courtship.

Hannibal Parks & Recreation is sponsoring free family-friendly nature programs to celebrate fireflies.

Firefly Fridays will be at Sodalis Nature Preserve

  • 8 p.m. June 10
  • 8 p.m. June 24

Gale Rublee, nature educator, said, “Adult fireflies or lightning bugs can be seen in fields, forests and backyards from May through August in Missouri. There are up to seven different species of fireflies and the forest fireflies that live in Sodalis peak in June.”

The program will include a hike on the paved trail at Sodalis Nature Preserve and participants are sure to see fireflies nearby. “Their bioluminescence makes the forest look like a magical fairyland.”

The full program lasts about two hours and follows a 2-mile paved trail. Participants are welcome to stay with the group or return to the parking lot on their own. Activities include seasonal observations, sensory activities and the telling of the creation of Sodalis Nature Preserve.

Rublee is a nationally certified interpreter guide with more than 30 years of experience as a nature educator and storyteller. She is a founding member of the Mississippi Hills Missouri Master Naturalist Chapter in Hannibal. As a nationally certified interpreter guide, she loves interpreting natural and human history for Hannibal residents and visitors alike.

Hannibal Parks & Recreation nature programs are free but space is limited and reservations are required by calling Hannibal Parks & Recreation at 221-0154 or emailing