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.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tyson Olympics!

The end of field season would not be complete without some sort of Tyson Olympics. This year the final afternoon field frolic kicked off with a scavenger hunt that took three teams on a whirlwind tour of research areas and some lesser known sites on the property. Extra points were awarded for creative photo documentation...

Two indoor challenges were based on authentic research tasks. The Pollinator Pinning required two members of
a team to identify gummy bears by color, cut out appropriate tags, and then tag and pin the bears (face down through the thorax) to a cardboard grid using toothpicks.

TERFer Taylor Rohan (l) is confident in her team's pinning prowess, but post-doctoral researcher Dr. Laura Burkle (r) takes her judging responsibilities very seriously.

The Prairie Plant Sort required teams to sort mixed pasta samples (biomass) into 6 different type of noodles (plant species) and then key out the noodles with a dichotomous key.

A new addition to the final day of the field season was a water slide with discharge into a mud pit. Many thanks go to Pete Jamerson and Tim Derton for design and construction!

Alex Strauss claims that it didn't hurt too much going down

Brett Decker almost makes it to the end

Amber Burgett is all smiles before impact!

TERFer Jessica Plaggenberg braves the rough terrain

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