In 2011, some campers saw fireflies flashing in unison in the Allegheny National Forest. A research group - the Firefly International Research & Education team (FIRE Team)- heard about the sightings and, in a 2012 visit, confirmed the presence of over 15 species, including synchronous fireflies.  In 2013, a handful of local residents, environmental activists and business people formed the PA Firefly Festival to celebrate fireflies. It’s an excellent way to explore a new outdoor experience: go outdoors at night & observe the wonder of fireflies!


Daytime hours at the festival are filled with music and food, vendors and exhibits, and plenty of hands-on activities for the whole family. It didn’t take long for PAFF to appreciate the uniqueness of this opportunity. People flocked to recapture the nostalgia of watching fireflies on warm summer nights.


We found endless inspiration in fireflies:  here was a way to teach about the environment, forest ecology, conservation and more. Interest in the annual festival grew fast and was not without its growing pains.

Applying for a grant from the Huplits Wildlife Fund turned out to be the single most influential & formative move PAFF could have chosen. It forced us to define our mission and then rise to the five challenges we articulated.


  •         Develop curricular materials and educational displays about fireflies and their habitat

  •          Attract more scientists to the festival, increasing the quality of the educational programs

  •         Bring firefly habitat protection and awareness to local, state and federal agencies

  •          Enlist local residents in long-term monitoring of firefly populations      

  •          Create a summer internship, recruiting from nearby institutions of higher education

 We want to encourage and invite concerned firefly enthusiasts to participate and get involved with this project.  If you are interested in any of the above goals,  please fill out our volunteer form.



online resources

A list of other online resources for firefly information


Resource lists of films, video and audio podcasts

in print

A list of adult and children's books and printable resources


Printables, activity sheets and more.  Information for both kids and adults


The Pennsylvania Firefly Festival, Inc has a mission of educating the public about firefly science and conservation.  PAFF also celebrates the annual PA Firefly Festival on the last Saturday in June.  This coincides with the mating displays of over fifteen different species of firefly in the Allegheny National Forest area including the Synchronous firefly and the unique "Chinese Lantern" firefly along the Tionesta Creek.


You can view all documents related to our non-profit status HERE.

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon


Pennsylvania Firefly Festival

13558 Route 666, Tionesta, PA

T: 814-230-2035