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While searching the outdoor news this week, I found several great examples of responsible recreation that puts into practice safe, social distances procedures. For those of us who choose the outdoor-lifestyle, practicing social distancing is not uncommon in our recreation. But for others, finding alternative recreation during a world-wide pandemic can be challenging.

We all could use a boost sometimes to get started in a new activity that we are not familiar with. Just like most sports, a good coach or mentor can make all the difference in the beginning. We are still learning how important mentoring is in the outdoor world — especially recruiting and retaining new hunters and anglers.

As many of us are still participating in virtual group outings, using Zoom and other social platforms for meetings and seminars, using that model for responsible recreation only makes sense. We are all in this together and are more connected through technology now than ever, so finding solutions to problems that arise by using computer-generated or technology-based platforms is fascinating to me. I love to see how smart people are solving issues to problems that we simply, woke up to find on our doorstep one day.

I found and wanted to share an event happening now in West Virginia that is a perfect and fun way to get outside and celebrate responsible recreation.

Active SWV and the National Park Service (NPS) will be hosting their annual Firefly Walk with a twist. This year Community Captain Bob Matson and NPS Ranger Leah Perkowski-Sisk would like you to join them online in a two-week-long Virtual Firefly Walk and Count — the virtual event ends July 3rd.

What does “virtual” mean? This means you will check-in online with this event page to interact with the Community Captains and rangers. You will walk and hike following safety guidelines for your local area. Anyone can participate.

They are asking everyone to find their favorite trail, field, yards, or just go on a stroll through their neighborhood and observe fireflies. They would like to get all of their participants to help the WVDNR with their Firefly Study while you are out for your event. They are asking us outdoor-folks for help. For unknown reasons, fireflies, also known as lightning bugs, have been declining across their range.

Active SWV Community Captain and NPS Ranger will also be posting educational information about fireflies in the Virtual Firefly Walk and Count Facebook event page for you to enjoy.

The groups are asking you to go on a firefly walk on your own time in your neighborhood, post your photos on the event page, let us know how many you counted, ask questions, and learn more about fireflies with them.

Please follow all state and local guidelines if you plan to do your firefly walk in a public space.

I applaud the group’s efforts to organize an event that is free and fun for all of our outdoor-loving citizens and a great way to stay active and involved in the natural world. Becoming a hands-on participant in nature gives us a front-row seat to the natural world — we are blessed to live in state with so many outdoor recreation possibilities.

Chris Ellis is the author of a newly published collection of past stories — “Hunting, Fishing and Family — From the Hills of West Virginia.” Available at WV Book Company.