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.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Washington University Undergraduate Research Symposium - Fall 2014

Saturday, October 11 was Washington University's Fall Undergraduate Research Symposium, and many of this year's TERFers were there presenting their posters. Their area was so crowded with visitors wanting to hear about their research that it was difficult to walk from poster to poster!

Aiza Bustos of Natural Enemies

Explaining her results

Alex Porter of Glade Team

Discussion between the two Glade Team TERFers

Sarah Monsey of Glade Team

Jacob Reitinger of Turtle Team deep in conversation

Alex Connell, also of Turtle Team, presents his research.

Courtney Vishy, a former TERFer who is now an undergraduate student at WUSTL, visits with Alex to hear an update on the Tyson and Forest Park box turtles

Dasha Malkova (left) and Hannah Walkowski (right) of Forest Team presenting to guests

Hannah presenting to Dr. Kathy Miller, chair of the WUSTL biology department!

Sarah Link of the Invasive Plants Team

Sarah gets a thumbs up from former TERFer Thomas Van Horn, one of her undergraduate mentors.

Thomas is now a WUSTL undergraduate student and very excited to be presenting.

Many familiar faces are out to support everyone.
We are so proud of what the TERFers have accomplished this summer and fall! Congratulations, all of you!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

SIFT Fall Saturday

On Saturday, September 27, the SIFTers came back out to Shaw for some additional training and to help out on some projects. It was the first time the cohort has been all together since their training week! James and Aileen led the group in the work opportunities -- seed collecting, Monarch butterfly tagging, and processing the collected seeds.

First, James explained how to collect the seeds...


...then the SIFTers went to work!






Afterwards, they learned that you can eat some of the seeds that had attached to their clothes.



Next was Monarch butterfly tagging with Aileen.







A butterfly tagged by previous SIFTers was recaptured in Mexico! Hopefully this one will also have a successful migration.


Shaw has a system for collecting and drying seed from native plants to be used in additional terrestrial ecosystem restorations. James showed the SIFTers the seed processing area and had them add their collected seed to the correct trays.


Megan wondering what she's touching

Adding the seed they collected

James explaining seed sieves
It was a full day of hard work!

Monday, July 28, 2014

SIFT and TERF Alumni Weekend 2014 - Part 3

It wouldn’t be SIFT and TERF without the 4 quadrants activity. Rather than using it simply as a get-to-know-you activity, Susan asked the alumni to indicate things about their future plans and how SIFT and TERF might have played a role. It was a nice way to do some self-reflection within the large group on Sunday morning.



Amy Dai is all alone (well, with half of Tyler Pokoski) while our fearless evaluator Kathi Beyer takes field notes.

Many alumni found they are split in their thinking about certain things.


There was time for a frisbee break on the lawn in front of the Assembly Building.





And, of course, Tyler was in the kitchen washing the dishes (his favorite).


Overall, the Alumni Weekend was a huge success! Thanks to everyone who came out, and to Susan and the SIFT staff for organizing it!

SIFT and TERF Alumni Weekend 2014 - Part 2

One of the most highly rated activities during SIFT is dinner with scientists. For the Alumni Weekend we added a twist and had a career panel and dinner with four environmental professionals.

Becky Ewing from the US Forest Service, Mark Twain National Forest

Tyson Director Dr. Kim Medley

Jean Turney, director of education for Forest Park, talks with Adam Vorel about his career plans

Cassi Lundeen, the Nature Works program coordinator at Forest Park, enjoys hearing stories from the alumni

Of course there was a night hike…







... with wildlife encounters…


... that must be captured with the camera on a smart phone.