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For those of you new to FITS, this website has consistently called for the elimination of Clemson University’s wasteful Public Service Activities (PSA) program.


First of all, this top-heavy agency – which purports to play a vital role in the state’s “economic development” efforts – performs a bunch of completely non-essential functions. Not only that, there are numerous other state agencies that are currently duplicating PSA’s non-essential “quality of life” research – as well as its support for the state’s agriculture industry (which, incidentally, has received more than $1.6 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies over the past fifteen years).

One example of PSA’s “work?”

The “Firefly Project,” which is nothing more than a government-subsidized effort to engage the public in insect-watching on behalf of the environmental movement.

Think we’re joking?

From the PSA website:

Environmental indicator is used to communicate information about ecosystems and the impacts of human activity to groups such as the public or government policy makers. The indicator can reflect a variety of aspects of ecosystems, including biological, chemical, and physical characteristics. The researchers at Clemson University are studying firefly as environmental indicator for the coastal South Carolina. The unique bioluminescence property of fireflies provide visual clues of environmental quality and are easy to measure and quantify by the general public.

First of all, that writing is barely comprehensible … but let’s move on …

Fireflies are charismatic and reliable indicators of environmental health because their population density is correlated to the availability of healthy habitats. A good firefly habitat is one that is moist, contains large amounts of natural organic matter. The habitat of fireflies is significantly impacted by urban development …

Okay, good to know …

… strong, bright light can outshine firefly flashing and interfere with its mating behavior. All these factors work in concert to reduce the quantity and quality of habitat, thus reducing the density of fireflies. Therefore, the occurrence of firefly provides a visual clue on the quality of the natural environments.

Accordingly, on May 27 Clemson has asked the public to count fireflies between 8:15 and 10:15 p.m. EDT and fill out their observations on this form.

Oh … and if you don’t see any fireflies, that’s okay …

“It is important to report your results even if no fireflies are observed,” the agency notes. “Your input is very useful to determine the land use relation on the occurrence and population of fireflies.”

So let’s get this straight … we’re spending tax dollars encouraging people to count fireflies? All so this state’s environmental lobby can make the case against excessive coastal urbanization?

Yup …

Once again … way to go, Clemson.