sarahkeenihan

Go outside…and find ants!

In September 2014 on September 22, 2014 at 10:38 am

Kirsit antblitz

Kirsti: They say great minds think alike.

As Sarah posted her most recent piece Go outside!, I was drafting some words about ANTBLITZ which — among other scientific and community-driven goals — aims to get kids outdoors! SNAP

Part of the North Western Regional Science Hub, ANTBLITZ (via School of Ants) consists of a whole weekend of learning about the ant communities at the Armidale Tree Group. The idea originally was spawned from my desire to create a National Science Week project activity based around ants. While the regional hub has already launched the fantastic Little Things that Run the World at the art museum, ANTBLITZ is focused more directly on science.

Yes, it’s a month later than the specified dates for National Science Week…..but really, what ant in their right mind would be wandering around in Armidale mid-winter I ask you?!

In the event, the science of using ants as bio-indicators of land use and habitat restoration is cunningly disguised as a great day outside for community members. We invite people to be involved at the start of a potentially long term project for the tree group, something which could yield some really useful insights into invertebrate biodiversity over time.

Since one of the aims of School of Ants is to connect kids to nature through citizen science and learning outside, what better way than to get their whole family out and staring at the ground and peering down microscopes with them? They will also possibly discover a public space that opens up a world of outside play, observation, picnics, insects and birds they never knew existed.

I echo Sarah’s sentiments about the importance of outside play and connection to nature. These mind-boggling stats on the Victorian Child & Nature Connection website reveal just some of the negative effects of inside, sedentary (mostly screen) time, and how we can easily prevent them.

So if I manage to coax at least three families out of their homes that otherwise would not have engaged with nature on the weekend, I’ll feel like I have succeeded.

I’ll keep you posted!

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