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, July 2, 2012

June Session Comes to A Close

 The June Session of TERF at B-7 (the highest point at Tyson).
Back Row (left to right): Susan, Tom, Alex, Adil, Tyler
Front Row (left to right): Jackie, Meredith, Nithya, Amber, Julia, Maddie
Front Sitting: Jacqueline

As sad as it is, all good things must come to an end. The June session came to a close last Friday for this summer's first group of TERFers. During the morning, the students went out into the field with their teams for one last time. Once lunch time passed, all of the TERFers piled into the TERF Mobile for one last ride around Tyson. As we visited each of the research sites on the toasty afternoon, everyone enjoyed drumstick ice cream treats while Susan quizzed them on Tyson knowledge. It was so exciting to see just how close everyone got after a month of working together. Even though we were packed into the Suburban, everyone was talking, laughing, and having a good time

Susan lifting up the tarp just inside the cave entrance so the 
TERFers could see some cave salamanders.

The tour of Tyson ended at Mincke Quarry Cave where we all headed inside for a last debrief. While sitting on top of some large boulders in the cool cave, everyone went around and said what their favorite and least favorite parts of TERF were. This gave the high schoolers a moment to get away from the craziness of the Tyson community and to just relax and reflect on the past month.

 Tom, Nithya, Meredith, Jackie, Alex, and Tyler in Mincke Quarry Cave.

Being in a relaxed environment allowed us to discuss what the program did for them, how they benefited from it, and how TERF could be made better. It was also interesting to hear the TERFers' opinions on environmental biology as a possible career. A few said they can definitely see themselves pursuing something similar. While some others said they can't see themselves having this as a career, they could see themselves doing field work after this experience. All in all, it seems that these TERFers had a few personal growth moments throughout June, as well as having a good time with peers and mentors.

The glade TERFers, Maddie and Julie, standing on a 
boulder in the cave.

Jacqueline and Amber happily enjoying their TERF debrief.

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