The first field work opportunity for newly-trained SIFTers came early this year. The prairie research team at Tyson Research Center put out a call for help and six SIFTers and one former TERFer answered the call on Monday, June 21st!
Dr. Tiffany Knight (Washington University) and Dr. Michele Schutzenhofer (McKendree University) are investigating the effects of different experimental treatments in 102 separate prairie plots in the south field area of Tyson. Right now they are conducting a biomass sampling of each plot and need help sorting the plant clippings by species.
Loading up to go see the prairie plots
Dr. Knight points out plants to Tom Collins.
Monica Lee gives a thumbs up as the SIFTers run uphill through a new experimental glade
(Foreground) Bryan Rosinski and Milena Kanak work together to separate plant clippings from a single plot, while (background) Tom Collins gets instruction from McKendree undergraduate student Kaitlyn Kollman
Dr. Schutzenhofer (left) works with Kenn and Lynn Vattathara on the last plot sorting of the long day
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.