UC Berkeley’s Academic Talent Development Program (ATDP) offers challenging summer classes for high achieving and motivated young scholars. Members of the Tsutsui Lab recently developed an “explorations” class filled with insect-themed activities focused on backyard biodiversity for 3rd-6th graders. These young entomologists learned all about the lives of insects and got to practice their collection and identification skills in the field. Visit the program’s site to learn more about the next summer classes!
What’s in your backyard?
The Tsutsui Lab has teamed up with Dr. Brian Fisher at The California Academy of Sciences to develop a variety of collaborative projects with the help of citizen scientists. Budding entomologists of all ages can sign up to participate in ongoing studies of insect biodiversity through our “California Pools Project,” or help us understand the effectiveness of natural remedies to deter household ant pests through our “ANT-vasion” project. Visit the project site to see how YOU too can participate!
Discovery Day: AT&T Park
This free annual Fall event allows Bay Area scientists and engineers to share their passions with with the public through fun and educational activities. Members of the Tsutsui Lab participate in “Discovery Day” with hands-on activities (e.g., make your own “ant-cathcher”), live animals (e.g., ant colonies, stick insects, Madagascar hissing cockroaches), and opportunities to learn about the fascinating characteristics of ants and other insects and how we study them. Plan your visit for the next Discovery Day!
Bay Area Scientists in Schools (BASIS) is a science and engineering volunteer role model program serving public elementary schools in Berkeley, Oakland, Richmond, and Pinole. Jenna Florio, of the Tsutsui Lab, has developed a lesson plan for 4th and 5th grade students about ant pheromones: Smell me if you can! A lesson about insect communication. Each month, members of the Tsutsui Lab volunteer to teach this lesson so that we can share our passion for science with the next generation!
Science After Dark
Every Thursday night, the California Academy of Sciences keeps its doors open for an exciting evening of themed adventures. Guests have a unique opportunity to explore the many creatures exhibited at the museum, all while enjoying music, food, and drinks with friends. The Tsutsui Lab (and Fisher Lab collaborators) regularly participate in this weekly event with a table of activities and topics related to all things ANTS! Themes have included “Weird Science”, “Feel the Force,” and “Fungus Among Us.” Come check us out!
Be a Scientist
Tsutsui Lab graduate students and post-docs participate in the Be a Scientist program where we serve as STEM role models for 7th graders in the Berkeley community. In our role as science mentors, we support 7th grade students as they design, carry out, and report on their own independent scientific investigations. Throughout this process we gain experience in science outreach by working with middle school students, developing our science communication skills, and inspiring the next generation of scientists!
Expanding Your Horizons conferences are designed to introduce 5th-8th grade girls to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, (STEM). Members of the Tsutsui Lab recently ran a workshop all about ants titled, “ANT-mazing: How females rule the social insect world.” Girls learned about ant communication and cooperation through activities, games, and live ant demonstrations. Please check back in the fall for information about next year’s conference!
Save Mount Diablo Bioblitz
BioBlitzes are intense, 24-h biodiversity surveys to assess the species (plants, animals, fungi, and microbial organisms) in a given geographic area. For the past several years, the Tsutsui Lab has participated in an annual Spring event organized by Save Mount Diablo to help catalog insect diversity in the Mt. Diablo region. Bioblitzes are frequently open to public participation, and volunteers gain great experience learning about local biodiversity. Interested in participating in a future bioblitz? Check out details for the next event!
Cal Day: Open House
On Cal Day the entire UC Berkeley campus opens its doors for an extravaganza of events that showcase the brilliance and fun of the university. Labs all over campus host students (current and prospective), families, alumni, and the general public with a wide range of activities including demonstrations, lab tours, exhibits, lectures, and more. The Tsutsui Lab participates in this annual Spring event with a set of ant-themed activities. Want to learn more about The Ant Lab @ UC Berkeley? Stop by this Spring!