After a hard day in the field, we moved out SIFTers into their cabins and let them relax with some free time. This was spent generally chatting and playing some frisbee. After a little while we corralled them all back to watch the ever-popular Ant Video. We got through half of it before we were forced to pause it (to much protest) so that the kids could get a chance to talk to the visiting scientist before dinner. Rotating through in groups, the SIFTers leaned about the research being done with clover, mosquito populations in response to bat kills caused by White Nose, Ants from our own Dr. Trager(James), and glades. This was followed by a WONDERFUL dinner and the rest of the Ant Video. The kids learned what the word Crupuscular meant on the night hike as well as witnessing some animals(the "rare" swamp rabbits, frogs, and a bull frog that was a leaf that was a frog that was, indeed, alive) while walking through the wetlands and prairie. And who could forget the visit to the graveyard! A good time was had by all, and the SIFTers returned to black lighting with James and a roaring bonfire with s'mores. We all went around the circle and talked about our favorite parts of the week before retiring to the VERY popular shower house and bed. Well, and the required talking and card games before sleep of course. Overall it was a very nice evening.
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.