Featured Project: School of Ants

from Dr. Debi Kilb

This afternoon’s featured project is the School of Ants, a citizen science project led by Dr. Andrea Lucky.

What I love about this project is that anyone can participate — you can be 4 or 104 everyone is welcome. What makes this project exceptional is it allows people of all ages to do ‘real science’ take ‘real measurements’ and participate in the ‘real global tracking’ of ant populations.

What’s your geographic range? As people we can travel by foot, bike, car, train, and plane. But ants. Not so much. Which raises the question: how did ants get to where they are to today? One goal of the School of Ants project is to track the location of ants to understand how and when different species came to live where we find them today. It’s detective work looking at a small thing (the ants) on a large scale (the world).

We’ve all done it, zoomed into the location of our home on GoogleMaps. It is so fulfilling to see our point-on-the-map, so to speak. The School of Ants project greatly extends this dot-on-a-plot, it allows us to boast about the fact that we are scientific participants in the important School of Ants project!

Ants have so much to offer, let’s take a look …

Who can help with pollination – ANTS!

Who can disperse seeds – ANTS!

Who can be soil architects – ANTS!

Who can eat other pests that bother us – ANTS!

Who can lift 20 times their own body weight – ANTS!

I know what you are thinking, no time for science as the holidays approach. Think again. What could be a better holiday gift for THAT PERSON – we all have them on our list and never no what to get them. Relax. Problem solved. For $50 you can purchase the School of Ants ‘Young Explorers’ Kit’ that contains the collecting kit, a magnifying glass, collecting forceps and sticker. It’s the perfect holiday gift for THAT PERSON. Also, seeing as OLD is the new YOUNG, the Young Explores’ Kit is the perfect birthday gift to give those turning 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 or 110.

I’m proud that I was one of the FIRST to contributors to this #SciFund project! At the get-go the School of Ants video had me hooked. The kids in the video epitomized the ‘Science is fun’ aspect of learning, hitting that sweet spot where wonder turns to excitement that evolves into learning.

The School of Ants Project is a sure winner; the project has already net over 10,000 participants. Supporting the School of Ants project is also engaging our next generation of scientists and nothing is better than that! So head on over and #SciFund it right now!