Between January – April 2017 I was lucky to couch surf in San Francisco, so I decided to volunteer in the Entomology Collections at the California Academy of Sciences !
I worked with Brian Fisher and Jenna Florio in the Entomology department, and I was predominantly working on two citizen science projects in collaboration with the Tsutsui Lab at UC Berkeley.
These new citizen science projects were looking at insect communities in California; including “Pools Project” and “Antvasion!”. The “Pools Project” surveyed the insects in pools of participants, specimens were sent to the museum where I identified the insects/invertebrates to order and the ants to species using a key to the ants of California and antweb. “Antvasion” was a citizen science project which looked at the ants which are specifically found in peoples homes, with emphasis on the distribution and biology of the Argentine ants. We prepared and delivered “natural deterrents” including cinnamon, cayenne pepper and black pepper to participants to see if it would deter the pests.
I also helped to set up a stall for the weekly museum event called “nightlife” where I did talks to the public about entomology collections, ecology, ants and pest management, encouraging them to take part in the few practical activities we have set up at the table, including correctly handling and observing behaviour of argentine ants. As well as this, I did a presentation on “Women in Science” about becoming an entomologist.