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.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Prairie Team

One of the larger research projects going on at Tyson involves the 102 experimental prairie plots. The head researcher of this project, Dr. Tiffany Knight, is a strong supporter of the SIFT & TERF program and has always been willing to have SIFTers and TERFers helping out. Her project involves creating experimental prairie plots to observe which treatments are best to preclude the invasion of Lespedeza cuneata.

The Prairie Team makes a plan of attack for their data collection.

This year there is one lone TERFers assisting on this project. Tom Collins has been working with the Prairie Team during his time here at Tyson. He is a Cohort 3 SIFTer who took a year off in between SIFT & TERF before coming back into the program as a Cohort 4 TERFer. The work he has been doing includes collection data on the prairie's health through biomass sampling and percent coverage.

Tom Collins crouching in a prairie plot as he removes a sample for sorting.

 After a morning of collecting samples, Tom heads out of the
 prairie with bags of plants to be sorted later in the afternoon.

The Prairie Team sorting samples to later be dried to determine biomass.

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