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 28, 2013

Fun on the Forest Team

As the June TERF session draws to a close, the TERFers are getting a little nostalgic about the good times they had with their teams. Ellen, TERFer on the Forest Team, found the perfect way to capture her month at Tyson:

L-R: Anna and Jackie (undergrads), Adam (TERFer), Jonathan Meyers (Washington University faculty), Maranda (technician), Dev and Micaela (undergrads), and Ellen.

Friday, June 21, 2013

New batch of SIFTers are hatched!

Friday afternoon marked the end of the training week at Shaw Nature Reserve and the SIFTers showed off their contemplative scientist faces and then their "Eureka!" reactions.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

SIFT dinner with scientists

This SIFTers of summer 2013 continued the Thursday night training week tradition of "Dinner with Scientists", a night when field biologists at various stages in their careers visit the students to discuss what they do, how they got there, and what they'll do next. This gives the SIFTers an opportunity to hear about the field, get advice about education, and ask their own questions.

Dr. James Trager photobombs a happy moment between Cassandra Galluppi (WUSTL undergrad and SIFT&TERF alumna), SIFT instructor Aileen Abbott, and Emily Stein (WUSTL undergrad and SIFT&TERF alumna).

The panel introductions

Paleoethnobotanist Dr. Catrina Adams visits with SIFTers.  As a former SIFT instructor, Catrina always agrees to participate in "Dinner with Scientists".

A pair of SIFT&TERF alumnae who are now seniors at Washington University share their stories of continued involvement in field research at Tyson Research Center.

Chris Maussert-Mooney, field technician at Tyson Research Center, explains his work on the experimental glades and upcoming plans for graduate school.

SIFT & TERF alumni infiltrate Tyson as undergrads

SIFT and TERF cohorts 1-4 may be over, but the students have far from disappeared! In fact, nearly half of the current undergraduate-level interns at Tyson are alumni of the program.

Cohort 1
  • Tess Rogers, Bee Team
  • Cassandra Gallupi, Glade Team
  • Emily Stein, TERF intern

Cohort 2
  • Taylor Rohan, Prairie Technician
  • Alex Samuels, Prairie Technician

Cohort 3
  • Dev Harrington, Forest Team 
  • Brendan Hellebusch, Bee Team

Cohort 4
  • Julia Steger, Glade Team
  • Maddy Willis, Glade Team
  • Tom Collins, Fire Team
  • Tyler Pokoski, Invasive Plants Team

Cohort 1 is in the house!  (l to r) Katie Seidler (TERF undergrad intern for Cohort 1); Cohort 1 alumnae Emily Stein, Cassandra Galluppi, and Tess Rogers; Susan Flowers
Brendan Hellebusch (Cohort 3) visits with Lauren Eveland, a former member of the Tyson prairie team who is now a grad student at Texas Tech in the lab of Bill Resetarits.

Friday, June 14, 2013

TERFers working on Facebook?!

Today the Turtle Tracking Team has been hard at work developing a Facebook Page to showcase their project. This page will keep other researchers, students, and turtle enthusiasts updated on the project with updates on turtle tracking and turtle health. You can check it out at St. Louis Box Turtle Project!

L-R: TERFer Maddy, undergrad Olivia, and TERFer Adam watch the followers climb on their newly launched St. Louis Box Turtle Project page.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Day with Team Turtle

Maddy uses radio equipment to track a tagged turtle in Forest Park.
Today I got to follow a couple of the TERFers into the field for the first time. Maddy and Adam’s turtle team duties took them to Forest Park, where we met up at the Saint Louis Zoo with Jamie, Audrey, and Eileen, who are members of the Institute for Conservation Medicine. Jamie and her team have been tagging and tracking turtles in the park and brought Maddy and Adam out to lend a hand with their newfound expertise. The job for the day was to track down and take measurements on a handful of tagged turtles, replace another turtle’s old tag with a new one, and—hopefully—find a new turtle to tag.

We hit the ground running when Eileen found a new turtle in one of the denser areas of vegetation in the park. Jamie, Maddy, and Adam added the new turtle, which they named Atticus, to the roster (each region of Forest Park has a pair of turtles tagged, so Atticus already has a counterpart: Agatha).

Adam and Jamie take measurements of Atticus before tagging him.
The rest of the morning was spent finding previously-tagged turtles to check on how they’re doing. Adam and Maddy tracked like old pros and recorded and weighed each turtle they found. By early afternoon, we had found all the turtles we needed, with the exception of Elmo, who would need a new tag. We stopped for a quick lunch before heading back out to find him. Maddy tracked him to a woody spot near a bicycle trail, and we removed the old tag and gave Elmo a new one. And that was that! Jamie thanked and complimented Adam and Maddy for a job well done, and we headed back to Tyson to wrap up the afternoon.

TERF Intern

Monday, June 3, 2013

Start of TERF June Session

Welcome to summer! This June 3-28, TERFers will be taking their places on research teams at Tyson, where they will spend the month learning hands-on what it means to be a field ecologist. Let's meet the gang, shall we?

Glade Team
  • Leyna Stemle, Marquette HS

Fire Team
  • George Garner, Horton Watkins HS
  • Andrew Feltmann, St. Francis Borgia HS

Turtle Tracking Team
  • Adam Rangwala, Clayton
  • Maddie Herries, Nerinx Hall

Invasive Plants Team
  • Hannah Kruse, Fort Zumwalt North HS
  • Jonathan Winkler, Christian Brothers College HS

Forest Team
  • Ellen Sulser, Kirkwood HS
  • Adam Vorel, Euerka HS