35,000+ people ÜBER-EXCITED about insects: That’s our kind of party.

Your Wild Life was thrilled to partake in festivities for Bugfest 2012, the annual entomological extravaganza hosted by the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.

We chatted up visitors passing through the Earth Observation & Biodiversity Lab (on the second floor of the Nature Research Center) about insects they might encounter in their homes, backyards and neighborhoods.

We shared opportunities for young and old, fearless and squeamish, EVERYONE to get involved in doing science with Your Wild Life.

Here’s a highlight reel of the fun times had by all – Visitors spied on sprickets (aka camel crickets), constructed School of Ants collecting kits, listened to Dr. Eleanor tell tales about the most common ants, and got up close with arthropods collected in homes (on a giant HD screen). Thanks to all our volunteers and enthusiastic visitors!

Did you miss us at Bugfest? No worries! Here’s how you can get in on all the fun and exciting science we do here at Your Wild Life:

Find and photograph camel crickets – As we’ve learned via emails and conversations with so many of you, camel crickets are quite common in basements, garages and other dark, damp corners of homes. Yet for a critter that we see so often, it’s not been well-studied. We aim to change that with your help. Submit your observations, send us pictures, and if you really want a challenge, capture and send in a few of the leggy, jumpy beasts for our upcoming DNA work. More info here.

Collect ants in your backyard – Participants in our School of Ants citizen science project have made a number of surprising, exciting, and even alarming discoveries this summer. Young naturalists in Winston-Salem, NC, discovered a new native ant species previously unreported in NC: Aphaenogaster miamiana. Volunteer collectors in Washington, Wisconsin, and New York helped us learn that the invasive Asian needle ant had expanded its range far beyond what we knew it to be. We need your help to learn more about the ants that live in the places where people do. Make a kit and collect today!

Read, listen and share the stories about the biodiversity in our every day lives with those around you – We may be a bit partial, but we think we’ve launched a number of cool features on the site lately: podcasts and videos that take you with us on our adventures in the field and in the lab, blog posts written by and for project participants (like YOU!), and Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Ants. Stay up to date with the latest and greatest – follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and heck, subscribe to our blog’s RSS feed! You don’t want to miss a beat as we have a lot more exciting things in the works!