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, November 11, 2013

TERF participant highlighted on Kirkwood High School website

KHS Student Participates and Presents at Research Symposium


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KHS senior Ellen Sulser presented along side Adam Vorel, a junior at Eureka High School, the results of their summer ecological research at the Washington University St. Louis (WUSTL) fall 2013 Undergraduate Research Symposium on Oct. 26. Sulser and Vorel are members of the Tyson Environmental Research Fellowships (TERF) program. The students braved ticks, chiggers, and poison ivy during four weeks working in the field alongside university faculty, staff, post-doctoral researchers, and undergraduates at Tyson Research Center in Eureka, MO. The TERF program provides a cultural apprenticeship in university-based environmental biology research and training in scientific communication. It is an advanced summer experience modeled on the undergraduate research internships offered at Tyson.

For several Sunday afternoons in September and October, the TERF students gathered to work on data analysis and poster construction with guidance from their research mentors. The resulting eleven TERF posters were indistinguishable from those generated by undergraduates and made up 5% of the total posters in the research symposium. Many visitors were surprised to learn the TERF students were high school students after hearing their well-practiced research presentations.

Sulser and Vorel’s project was researching and explaining multi-stemmed trees in the Tyson Forest Dynamics Plot.


See this story on the Kirkwood High School website.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Missouri Environmental Education Association presents award to SIFT & TERF programs

The SIFT and TERF programs have been awarded the 2013 Outstanding Service Award from the Missouri Environmental Education Association (MEEA) in recognition of promoting environmental education in Missouri.

Susan Flowers accepted the award on behalf of Tyson Research Center and Shaw Nature Reserve during the 2013 Missouri Environmental Education Conference on November 2 at Blue Ridge Elementary School in Columbia, Missouri.

Over the past six years, more than 260 students from 57 different high schools have participated in scientific exploration of the natural world through the SIFT and TERF programs.

Monday, October 28, 2013

TERFers present to the public!

On Saturday, October 26, the TERFers had a significant presence at the WUSTL Fall 2013 Undergraduate Research Symposium in Olin Library on the Danforth Campus.  Their 11 posters were indistinguishable from those of the undergraduates and made up 5% of the total posters in the symposium.  Many visitors were surprised to learn the TERFers were high school students after hearing their well-practiced research presentations.

Hannah Kruse getting ready for her first talk about the effects of fire on the germination and survivorship of two invasive plant species.
Thomas Van Horn explains measurement of herbivory on three invasive plant species.
Andrew Feltmann discusses differences in deer usage to Anna Liang, an undergraduate who also spent the summer conducting research at Tyson.
George Garner shares data indicating removal of invasive garlic mustard affects recruitment of woody plants.
Ellen Sulser and Adam Vorel take a break from explaining their tree multi-stems research in the Tyson Forest Dynamics Plot.
Courtney Vishy discusses her research of human impacts on exotic plant species abundance.
Ben Banet gets to sit down on the job because of his recent appendix removal. Such dedication to sharing his research on box turtle home range!
Adam Rangwala and Maddy Herries are ready for questions about the St. Louis Box Turtle Project.
Leyna Stemle explains the differences in data patterns for her research into plant extinctions in newly restored glades.
TERF undergraduate intern Emily Stein is ready to tell you all about her informal science education projects from the summer.
It is wonderful to see support from members of the Tyson summer community!
Adam Rangwala and Maddie Herries take turns explaining box turtle health data.
The Turtle Tracking TERFers with mentor Dr. Stephen Blake

Monday, October 21, 2013

The TERF posters are ready to go!

There are a record number of TERF posters entered in the WUSTL Fall 2013 Undergraduate Research Symposium!  It will be very exciting to see the TERFers discuss their projects with the public on Saturday, October 26.

Ben Banet, Saint Louis University High School '14
Study of box turtles in St. Louis urban and suburban environments indicates significant differences in home ranges
Mentor: Dr. Stephen Blake, visiting scientist, Biology Department

Maddy Herries, Nerinx Hall '14
Adam Rangwala, Clayton High School '14
Investigating box turtle health and communicating findings using social media
Mentor: Dr. Stephen Blake, visiting scientist, Biology Department

Andrew Feltmann, St. Francis Borgia High School '14
Removal of an invasive species, bush honeysuckle, increases deer usage but only in unburned habitats
Mentor: Dr. Raelene Crandall, Biology Department

George Garner, Ladue Horton Watkins High School '15
Removal of an invasive species, garlic mustard, influences recruitment of woody plants
Mentor: Dr. Raelene Crandall, Biology Department

Leyna Stemle, Marquette High School '14
Plant extinctions in newly restored glades can be attributed to stochastic processes
Mentors: Holly Bernardo and Dr. Tiffany Knight, Biology Department

Clayton Hillermann, Eureka High School '15
Hannah Walkowski, Fort Zumwalt North High School '15
Effect of soil variation on tree species diversity in a forest community
Mentors: Maranda Walton and Dr. Jonathan Myers, Biology Department

Ellen Sulser, Kirkwood High School '14
Adam Vorel, Eureka High School '15
Die-off and recruitment of tree multi-stems after drought
Mentors: Maranda Walton and Dr. Jonathan Myers, Biology Department

Maddie Willis, Marquette High School '14
Rodents show preference for seeds of certain native glade species
Mentors: Holly Bernardo and Dr. Tiffany Knight, Biology Department

Hannah Kruse, Fort Zumwalt North High School '15
Fire increases invasive species germination but not survivorship
Mentors: Erynn Maynard and Dr. Tiffany Knight, Biology Department

Courtney Vishy, Francis Howell High School '14
Anthropogenic disturbance increases exotic species abundance
Mentors: Erynn Maynard and Dr. Tiffany Knight, Biology Department

Thoman Van Horn, Thomas Jefferson School '14
Fire effects on herbivory of invasive plant species
Mentors: Erynn Maynard and Dr. Tiffany Knight, Biology Department

Sunday, October 20, 2013

DANGER: TERFer posters under construction!

The TERFers gathered together for several Sunday afternoons in September and October to work on their posters for the upcoming WUSTL Fall 2013 Undergraduate Research Symposium. 

The Fire Ecology Team takes their posters very seriously!  Dr. Rae Crandall (center) always helps her TERFers learn how to create a strong research poster.

Research technician Maranda Walton (center) helps the four TERFers on the Forest Dynamics Team organize their research information into the proper sections of a scientific poster.

Research technician Erynn Maynard (l) guides TERFer Hannah Kruse through construction of a poster on their invasive plants research.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

US Forest Service career exploration

On Saturday, September 28, the SIFTers and TERFers were given a unique opportunity to explore field careers with scientists and rangers from the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service at Sinkin Experimental Forest in southeastern Dent County, Missouri.  It was a very long bus ride from the St. Louis area, but everyone agreed it was worth it!  (Especially because of the swag bags full of maps, brochures, and field career resources.)  Thank you to Theresa Davidson, Rebecca Ewing, Wallace Dillon, Daniel Jordan, John Kabrick, Tex Nall, Bennie Terrell, and Jim Cornelius!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Bee Team takes Gold!

The Bee Team is taking their gold medal win at the Tyson Olympics very seriously, as evidenced by the display on the bulletin board in the Tyson Headquarters.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cups - TERF Style

Well, the TERF summer 2013 internships have officially come to a close. To commemorate this bittersweet moment and celebrate the awesomeness of the past couple of months, Turtle Team TERFer Mihika rewrote the song Cups for the occasion. Assisting is fellow TERFer Hannah from the Forest Team.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tyson Olympics: Water Fun

To wrap up the Tyson Olympics, the TERFers and undergrads had the water fight to end all water fights!

TERFer Hannah douses TERFer Clayton with a bucket of water.

Clockwise from the left, undergrad Jackie, TERFer George, undergrad Amy, and TERFer Hannah crowd around the fire hose.

In the foreground, TERFer Mihika (center) shoots at undergrad Olivia, while TERFer George prepares to dump a bucket of water over her.

TERFer George and undergrad Jackie take advantage of a collision between TERFer Mihika and undergrad Anna and soak them.

TERFer Andrew dumps a bucket of water on an unsuspecting TERFer George.

Undergrad Anna (left) and TERFer Courtney guffaw together.



The undergrads and TERFers set up a slip-n-slide with sheet plastic from maintenance guru Pete.

Undergrad Micaela enjoys her first slip-n-slide experience.

TERFer Adam shows off his new 'do.

L-R: Technician Taylor, undergrad Cassandra, and TERF intern Emily enjoy watching water fun.

The water fight squad poses after the battle.