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.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

SIFTers in the Prarie

Alex Porter out in the field.
Now that the SIFTers have been trained up and are ready to assist with some field research, our ecologists at Tyson are eager to bring them on board. Today we had two SIFTers, Alex Porter and Peter Volmert, come out to help two of our technicians on the prairie team, Taylor Rohan and Alex Samuels. 

Here is what Alex Porter had to say about her experience:

I helped and with a prairie research team for two days. We were doing plant species counting in experimental plots of prairie. The goal was to track an invasive plant, and what conditions it thrived in. The other SIFTer and I were recording what plants the scientists found in the plot. The scientists would choose a random spot in the plot, then throw down a PVC pipe square. They would tell us the plant’s name, and what percent it took up, and we would write that down on a checklist. After a while I could recognize the names of some of the more common plants in the plots. Doing each plot took some time, but it was fun and I enjoyed doing it.

Technician and former SIFTer/TERFer Alex Samuels (left) and SIFTer Peter Volmert (right) take a break from research to do battle.

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