Past December saw the closure of our Fall 2016 run of the School Malaise trap program. Once more a great accomplishment by a large number of young citizen scientists. Thank you so much. After three years still many surprises and new finds. Very impressive.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any funds to continue the program in the foreseeable future. This is of course very frustrating especially given the continuing huge interest across the country and elsewhere. In the last few years, we brought this program in some 400 classrooms with thousands of students. It became well known as an exemplary way of inquiry based, hands-on learning in STEM. Yet, this did not help much. We approached quite a few foundations and applied for funding but none seem to have the capacity to pick up the rather large bill. A run costs something between $800 and $1000 per school, which is way over the spending limit of most schools. The fact that we had the funds to subsidize all past runs allowed them to be part of the project.
At this point our only hope for a comeback lies in the advancement of technology. New High-Throughput Sequencing technology and metabarcoding might come to our rescue. At some point these will allow us to reduce the costs for the analysis of a single trap catch to a point that it becomes affordable for schools even on a shoestring budget. Unfortunately, we are not there yet.
Nevertheless, we are glad and very proud that we were able to bring this to many students in our Country for a few years.