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, September 28, 2009

SIFTers get acquainted

On day one of this past June's weeklong SIFT training, students focused on collaboration. After playing some games aimed at finding out what students had in common, Lydia explained plans for the week and Aileen talked about outdoor safety. After lunch, students learned how to use GPS units, topographic maps and compasses, and were sent out in small groups to follow a course. Each group followed a different path, and along the way met with some interesting challenges (high water, lizard up the pants leg) and were able to see some interesting features and wildlife of SNR (the cave, frogs, turtles... an armadillo...)

Students also worked on assignments at points along the way, including stopping to draw some flowers. SIFTers learned to work together and spent some time getting to know each other while they hiked. By the end of the day, all the groups made it back to relax at the glade overlook and to grab some lemonade and reflect on the day at the trailhouse.

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