Remember that Butterfly?

This is the butterfly that we looked at from the top of the stairs one chilly fall morning while gathering before the bell.  With a few questions on my mind about the identity of this butterfly I turned to the Butterflies and Moths of North America website who helped determine the identity of this butterfly, a California Sister.  They requested permission to use this picture and have included our find as important distribution data about this species.

With the help of computer technology scientists are able to gather data from a larger sample area through what has been called “citizen science”.  The California Academy of Sciences hosts AntWeb, a website whose purpose is to increase information about ant diversity in the Bay Area.  Last year’s Kindergarten class participated in The Bay Area Ant Survey by collecting ants on the nature path.  We submitted our ants, and the California Academy of Sciences identified them for us and put the data on Google Earth.  According to CAS we found mostly Linepithema humile (the invasive Argentine Ant) and one Prenolepis imparis (the Small Honey Ant, or Winter Ant).

Whether at school or at home you can be certain that by participating in citizen science project that you are learning something new and contributing valuable information to the scientific community at the same time!  And its always fun to get outside and take a closer look at your own backyard.