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, February 3, 2010


During the weekend of January 30-31, 2010, we brought the Cohort 2 SIFTers together with the Cohort 1 TERFers for the first time. Both groups had asked to meet and the Winter Weekend seemed like the perfect time.

On Saturday, after the SIFTers rotated through informal conversations with field scientists and the TERFers recovered from their symposium, everyone came together for dinner in the Assembly Building at Shaw Nature Reserve. Without any prompting, the TERFers intermixed with the tables of SIFTers for conversations about school, field experiences, and what to expect in TERF.

After dinner there was a great presentation by the Wolf Sanctuary on how their organization conducts captive breeding and population recovery for wild canids.

On Sunday, everyone traveled to Tyson Research Center where the TERFers took up positions at their posters once again. There were some excellent questions from the SIFTers about the research projects based at Tyson and the TERFers were more relaxed after presenting to their families and friends the day before.

Ashaki Hall shares her experience on the Aquatic Team in July.

Tess Rogers explains why it is important to study chytrid fungus in amphibians.

Pete McCall describes how he helped a WU undergraduate with his research project on metamorphic frogs.

We spent some time learning a bit about Tyson history and got to see some of the hidden treasures of the Research Bunker.

We headed back to the headquarters building and the weather was warm enough for some of us to eat lunch outside.

Bringing the SIFTers and TERFers together made for a remarkable weekend. The TERFers were able to gain valuable presentation skills with a receptive audience of peers and the SIFTers were able to learn about the TERF program directly from the participants.

And, I think we all had quite a bit of fun!

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