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, August 31, 2009

First All-TERF Meeting on Saturday, August 30th

We had our first all-TERF meeting on Sunday, August 30 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. It was great to see teens from the June and July programs in the same room at the same time! And there was a lot of laughter as the group shared memorable events from their time in the field.

(Tick bombs, building scaffolding, attacks by leeches, pining insects, lizard bites, digging ponds, running in a hail storm, etc.)

We spent some time laying the groundwork for the research communication part of the project. There are two angles that we would like to cover - (1) the scientific research projects and (2) the field internship experiences. Both are critical to telling the TERF story.
  • POSTERS: A well-crafted poster can be a very effective communication tool. Each TERF teen will be creating a large poster that is representative of a single research project from the summer. Rather than focus on the data and conclusions that are presented in a traditional scientific poster, we would like these posters to convey "the point" of each particular project to a public audience. The goal here is to bridge the communication gap between scientists and the public. The teens hope to make the research projects accessible to a non-scientist audience.
  • TERF ON TOUR: There is also a plan to take TERF on tour! We would like to schedule presentations at each of the high schools represented in this cohort. These will be short PowerPoint presentations to science classes, accompanied by question and answer sessions. This will be a chance for the teens to tell their personal stories of the TERF experience. An excellent way to recruit the next SIFTers!
  • SYMPOSIUM: The group decided that a symposium at the Tyson Living Learning Center would be another good way to share their experiences with others. So, we are looking to invite family, friends, and researchers to the afternoon event on Saturday, January 30th.
  • SHARE w/SIFT: There has been a lot of interest from both the SIFTers and the TERF teens to find a time to meet. We will try to fit this in during the SIFT Winter Weekend.
Quite a lot to squeeze into this school year! But there is a lot of enthusiasm and momentum, so hopefully we will get it all done.