This educational collaboration between Washington University's Tyson Research Center and the Missouri Botanical Garden's Shaw Nature Reserve is designed to engage St. Louis area high school students in scientifically-based exploration of the natural world. Linked programs of field training (SIFT) and field research (TERF) provide teenagers with experiences that realistically reflect research in environmental biology. Participating teens learn a variety of field investigation skills and then have the opportunity to put those new skills to work assisting career scientists with real research projects.

Monday, June 16, 2008

SIFT Session 1 Day 4

I've gotten a bit behind as Day 4 and Day 5 went by so quickly and then the weekend hit. Here is a recap of our incredibly busy Day 4 terrestrial communities investigations...

9:15 Intro to plant growth forms and leaf shapes (James)
9:30 Plant forms challenge - find and identify plant growth forms and leaf shapes around the Dana Brown Center (James)
10:00 Prairie and wetland habitats field observations - intro to each habitat (James); SIFTers investigate soil depth, rockiness, amount of bare ground, detritus, dominant plant growth form, hairy plants, sunlight reaching soil, etc; debrief and compare results (James)

Taking a soil core sample

Assessing a soil core sample

Comparing two soil core samples

They do smell different!

12:00 Lunch
12:30 Glade, woodland, and floodplain habitats field observations - intro to each habitat (James); SIFTers investigate; debrief and compare results (James)
1:45 Break
2:00 Vegetative investigation in woodlands - SIFTers walk Jane's Trail investigating burned and unburned areas (James); pairs describe/measure/estimate growth forms present, # species, plant density (% cover), plant height, litter depth, pH and particle composition of soil samples; debrief and compare results (James)

Tim explains an ephemeral pond

Quick tick check!

3:00 Move into lodges - housing groups and rules (Aileen); SIFTers move overnight gear into lodges

3:30 Break - showers, rest, relax