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.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

TERF 2013-14 Orientation

The members of TERF Cohort 5 met with program director Susan Flowers on Sunday, April 28 in the Living Learning Center at Tyson for program orientation.  The new TERFers were provided with information on payroll, expectations, attendance, their research team assignments, and safety concerns based on team assignment.

Expectations
  • Work your best
  • Practice field safety (it will be hot!)
  • Mature, responsible, professional behavior
  • Precise and accurate data collection
  • Ask questions
  • Participate in discussions
  • Record your experience (notes, photos, video)
  • Prompt attendance!
Attendance
  • 4 weeks in summer
  • 6 half-day sessions on weekend during fall and winter to work on communication of field research projects to public audiences
  • October 26 - WUSTL undergrad research symposium on Danforth Campus
  • January 25 - TERF symposium at Tyson
  • January 25-26 - SIFT/TERF winter weekend
Things to consider by team
  • Forest Dynamics Team: hiking boots, bugs, water
  • Fire Ecology Team: heat, extra water, sunscreen, bugs
  • Experimental Glades Team: heat, extra water, sunscreen, large brim hat
  • Invasive Plants Team: heat, extra water, sunscreen
  • Turtle Tracking Team: water, sunscreen, bugs (maybe bicycles)
Things to consider in general
  • Data integrity and team trust - take it seriously
  • Ask if you are unsure - take it seriously
  • This is someone's career - take it seriously
TERF will be hard, but it will also be an amazing experience!


SIFT 2013-14 Orientation

The members of SIFT Cohort 6 and their families visited Shaw Nature Reserve on Sunday, April 28.  The SIFT program orientation session included presentations from SIFT program director Lydia Toth and TERF program director Susan Flowers.

The group was pleased to hear some preliminary data about the impact of the combined SIFT and TERF programs on participants.  It is exciting to report that the two programs develop students' awareness of environmental science careers and seriousness of this career pursuit, and increase confidence in completing environmental science activities and college science and math courses.