Ant Exploration Comic

I haven’t written about our newest and biggest science education, conservation engagement project for students. If you follow me on twitter or facebook though you may have heard about it a bit.

Our Ant Exploration Comic anthology will be used to teach students scientific inquiry skills and build thier understanding of how species interact with their environments. By using ants as a ‘model organism’ we hope to introduce other topics relating to ecology, climate and conservation.

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Once printed, this comic will be used to reach over 240 students at three New York City public schools. This is in collaberation with the School of Ants project and all resources, including the digital copy of the comic, will be available free for teachers & educators on the Your Wild Life lab website.

Our project funding through Indiegogo finished last week – with a total of $2,854 raised! We’re overwhelmed by the support and look forward to sharing the comic with you once we finish!

UPDATE: The digital version of our comic is now online! http://www.yourwildlife.org/2013/10/myrmex/

 

Ant Diversity & The Uni Project

On Saturday I joined The Uni Project at the Ideas City Festival in downtown Manhattan to present my research on urban ants and science education.

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The Uni is a project designed to provide a place of learning beyond the walls of schools and libraries and into public space. They achieve this by creating a portable educational environment that can be dropped into almost any available street-level location. This space allows children of all ages an opportunity to gather around books and learning experiences, right in the heart of neighborhoods all across New York City.

The “Ant Cube” I created with Uni founder Leslie Davol is designed to give visitors the chance to experience hands-on science through ants. We’ve set-up a microscope where people can observe a live ant and even use an urban ant key to try to identify it. We also have sampling materials so students can collect their own ants.

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You can read more about the Uni at Ideas City and the Ant Cube on their page here -> http://www.theuniproject.org/2013/05/uni-at-ideascity/

! & ! More photos form the event and Ant Cube here! http://www.theuniproject.org/2013/05/wrapping-up-at-ideas-city/

Your Wild Life Q & A

A few weeks ago I met with the Your Wild Life  team to help with one of their new New York City based research projects. They’ve been working with urban ant species in the big apple for awhile, but just recently started a new project assessing the responses of arthropods to the disturbances caused by Hurricane Sandy. You can read more about this, pretty amazing, research study in a write up on NC State’s site here.

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Placing an ‘iButton’ sensor in a median street tree.

For a few days during their 2 week NYC field session in March, I met with researchers Elsa Youngsteadt and Lea Shell to set-up the primary data collecting tools and survey Broadway medians that would be used in the study. I’m working closely with Lea on my thesis – which involves designing & piloting curriculum for their School of Ants project – and was able to use this field time to discuss science & education as well.

You can find a link to the interview that came from our discussion here http://www.yourwildlife.org/2013/03/science-education-q-a-with-andrew-collins/

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Sifting out ants during a median collection.