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, July 1, 2009

TERF June and the weekly Tyson natural history sessions

While immersion in a specific research team is at the core of the TERF experience, there was exposure to different field areas through the Tyson natural history sessions. These weekly morning sessions offer chance for experts on each team to share some of their knowledge with everyone at Tyson and a great opportunity for the teens to explore a field different from their respective assignments.

Katherine, along with the rest of the teens on terrestrial teams, got her first chance to sample ponds during the aquatic natural history session.

Dr. Brian Allan and
Dr. Kevin Smith led the birding natural history session, acquainting the TERFers with binoculars, as well as the birds that happened to cross their path that morning.

Later that morning, Kevin directed the teens to guidebooks and merely supervised as they identified the birds they observed.

During the mammal natural history session, Josef, Yanwen and the rest of the TERFers got an early start to prevent trapped critters from overheating in the 90-degree weather that was typical of the first session. Here, Dr. Brian Allan explains how he handles mice in order to collect the data necessary for his study.

Pete got the hang of small mammal handling and made a new friend.

Brian ended the mammal session by reviewing footage from several baited camera traps.

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