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.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

SIFT Session 2 Day 3

Today the rising sun quickly burned through the morning cloud cover, causing a rise in temperature and some standard St. Louis summer weather conditions. Hot. Hazy. Humid.

The SIFTers started their day with a discussion of the previous night's reading. They did a great job of deciphering the old-fashioned language of Lewis and Clark and debated the correct course of action when coming to a river fork. One SIFTer suggested sending scout groups up both forks and then regrouping to compare notes. This is in fact what Lewis and Clark decided to do! They collected more evidence (data) before settling on a single course of action (making a conclusion)...

The schedule for Session 2 Day 3 was similar to that for Session 1 Day 3, the "all day in the field" day for investigations into aquatic ecosystems.

The morning was spent using new skills to assess the abiotic and biotic conditions at Wolf Run Lake.

"I notice..."


"I wonder..."


Observations of pond organisms during biotic sampling


Dr. James Trager handles a very large Fisher spider


Gently setting everything free...


After cleaning up the gear from the morning, a ride in the Wilderness Wagon ended with lunch at the Trail House.

Catching a ride on the Wilderness Wagon


The afternoon was spent on SIFTer-designed assessments of the conditions at Brush Creek. Small groups set up their own investigations modeled on the morning activities. They completed both abiotic and biotic samplings, and compared/contrasted their results with those from the pond.