The School of Ants project is a citizen-scientist driven study of the ants that live in urban areas, particularly around homes and schools. Teachers, students, parents, kids, junior-scientists, senior citizens and enthusiasts of all stripes are involved in collecting ants in schoolyards and backyards using a standardized protocol to help make detailed maps of the wildlife that lives just outside our doorsteps. The maps created with these data say quite a lot about native and introduced ants in cities, not just in North Carolina, but across the U.S. and, as this project grows, about the ants of the world.

The School of Ants project accepts samples from anywhere. Right now they are prioritizing samples from New York, Wisconsin and Washington, where citizen scientists have recently found the invasive Asian needle ant. The project is also quickly going through samples more generally from Chicago, New York City or Raleigh-Durham. They will continue with samples from elsewhere too though, just more slowly. Forgive our speed, science takes time (as does gluing each ant onto a tiny, tiny, pin to identify them—people who choose to participate are electing to sacrifice animals for science).