Category Archives: Fall 2016

We are on hiatus

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.

As Promised, Our Newspaper Interview

We were very excited to be interviewed by our newspaper! This is the story that came out on Friday in the Virden Empire Advance!


Here is a close up of us with the tent in the background (unfortunately it is VERY hard to see against the whiteness of the Home Ec hut)!



This might make it easier to read the story:

img_3996  img_3997

Each of us explained part of our project to Mr. James and then he wrote it all up in the story and put a quote from Mrs. Halland at the end, because she is the teacher.

We can’t wait until we get our results and then we will do another write up for the paper to tell everybody all about them!!!

Take It Down

On Friday September 30th, we took down the Malaise trap, packed it up and sent it back to Guelph. Here are pictures of the two collection bottles.

week-1-bugs    week-2-bugs

Week 1                                                        Week 2


bottle-2 bottle



poles-2  almost-done

Starting the take down with our drill sergeant Maddie!

poles  take-down-1


Figuring out how to take the poles down and put them away!



Putting the net away.



We finally got it all to fit in the bag!!


clean-up  fence hauling-fence        take-down-3

Speed is key! Cleaning up the safety fence and putting the site back to how we found it, except for the grass which was longer in the site than outside of it!



We’re Famous!

On the 28th of September our class had a special visitor. Our local paparazzi, Mr. James, from the Virden Empire Advance, came and interviewed our class. He asked us lots of questions about the Malaise trap and took our picture with it. It was cool having Mr. James here! Once the story is published we will post a link to the story with a picture.

Rainy Day Malaise Trap

Today, the weather was very rainy, windy and cold.  The trap was not standing as straight up as it used to be when it was set up (probably because of the wind).  The catch volume on the ethanol bottle was just under 4.5, but it was hard to tell because the bottle was moving and the liquid was sloshing around.  It’s a possibility that less bugs were caught because of the weather.  Overall, it seems the weather had an impact on it. -Leah, Breanna and Katelyn

Our collection so far.
Our collection so far.
Taking observations in the wind, the rain and the cold.
Taking observations in the wind, the rain and the cold.