Never have we ever had as much luck with weather as we did on Thursday! The humidity broke and the temperature only hit the 80's. Needless to say it was a wonderful start to a wonderful day! The morning started with James giving an overview of what kinds of plants would be found in the field today and a practice session in identifying them. Then it came the time to actually use these skills! Out SIFTers headed out into the tall grass prairie and using highly scientific equipment(hoola-hoops, soil samplers, and their eyes) proceeded to sample the soil and plants found there. Then after lunch the students hopped into the van and truck and headed off at a raring 15 mph to the Glade! The flowers were in full bloom here and the SIFTers went out to sample once more. Many discoveries were made here (the soil in glades smells AMAZING, watch for the scent to come out bottles. We're all waiting anxiously Amun!), and a new, well I won't say enemy, was made. The SIFTers, brave things, met one of Shaw's overly friendly inhabitants: the dreaded Sweat Bee. They made it through remarkably well, and they weren't alone. Aileen helped them out by attracting the bulk of them to her, way to take one for the team Aileen! While by the glade the students also got a chance to sample some woodland, and then back at the Dana Brown compiled graphs and charts of all this new data.
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.