After a lesson on nature sketching, SIFTers visited the Dana Brown wetland and took some time to sit on the boardwalk and practice sketching. Next, Lydia led an isopod observation and students came up with researchable questions based upon their observations. Then the students worked in teams to build branching keys using leaves. After lunch, students had a chance to practice using chemical tests for water quality that they would be taking into the field on aquatic day. Each team moved from station to station, learning the quirks of each chemical test and solving water quality mysteries. Luckily, we had time for a few team-building games before boarding the bus, which were a big hit (Thanks Aileen!)
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.