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, 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.

SIFT and TERF Alumni Weekend 2014 - Part 1

This past weekend, SIFT and TERF alumni from all cohorts were invited to participate in the first-ever Alumni Weekend at Tyson and Shaw.

On Saturday, July 26, we started at Tyson so alumni who hadn't been back in a while had a chance to see the updates and new buildings, and then we went to Shaw for field activities and an overnight.

The whole group

And a silly picture indicating what it looks like to spot something fantastic in the field
Since we had people from every cohort, we started with a game of BINGO with facts about people as an icebreaker.

When we got to Shaw, Lydia explained what was going to happen next (just like old times!).

Of course there's going to be a challenge course. So everyone split into teams.

Some teams chose to ride the Wilderness Wagon to start, which dropped them off at Bascom House.

George Garner's team ran the entire way, making for a very sweaty finish to the challenge course.

One team took extra long to get back. (Just like on Day 1 of SIFT!) We welcomed them with a round of applause.

Tyson Olympics 2014: The Results!

GOLD: The Forest Team

SILVER: Plant Invaders

BRONZE: Turtle Trackers

4th place: Natural Enemies

5th place tie: Glade-iators and Aquatic Medley

More insect sorting for SIFTers!

It takes a lot of time and labor to process those insect samples, so Glade Team had another SIFT work day to find the insects among all the stuff that was vacuumed up. The monotony of the task was balanced by being in an air conditioned Tyson research lab space.

Thanks, SIFTers!