Friday started nice and early, with what has to be the first time nobody had to be forced from their beds in the morning. After a nice breakfast, it was Jame's day to shine! Yes, today was Ant day. It started with James handing out an ID guide to common ground foraging ants in Missouri, and the kids broke into groups. They were all given 2 kinds of bait, a cookie and some bologna, and set out to observe what ants they could find. The better part of the morning was spent examining the adorable little critters and trying to decide which ants were which (Well this one's small and black, wait, they're all small and black... well shoot). Then before lunch Lydia talked about composing a research questions and the SIFTers made up their own. After lunch they shared their research projects and as a group reviewed and and did trouble shooting with them to see how they could get the best results and the all important FUNDING. After lunch the dreaded SURVEY!!!!! As well as filling out other paperwork that was a lot faster and was for them getting paid, which I guess is why they didn't mind it as much seeing as there were no complaints about that part of the afternoon. Finally, after much exchanging of emails we wrapped up the week with an ice cream sundae bar (get the title now? Get it? Get it?!). The bus arrived and we said farewell to Session 3, to return again over the summer on various research projects and for the winter overnight!
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.