My School of Ants kit came in the mail today and I realized I hadn't told you about it yet.
This citizen-science project involves gathering samples of ants from near homes or schoolyards throughout the United States.
To participate you simply need to visit the website School of Ants, sign up, and order an ant sampling kit (the kits are free). Everyone is welcome to give it a try.
The kit will contain three types of vials. The blue-capped vials (they come with cookie bait) are to sample in a yard or other green space. The red-capped vials are for sampling a sidewalk location. If you have any other ants or even other insects, that you would like identified, send them along in the orange-capped vial.
You will need to leave the baited vials on the ground for one hour, open to let the ants crawl in. Then you cap the samples and place the ones with ants in the freezer for at least an hour (I recommend overnight).
You will need to purchase an envelope and postage to mail the samples back, so there will be some cost to you.
The ants you send in will be identified and recorded on a map. It's that simple!
I would love to hear from you if you decide to participate. Let me know what you find.
And if you'd like to find more citizen science projects, try the Citizen Science Network. There is a project finder feature that let's you search by keyword and whether it is family-friendly.