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.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

SIFT Training Week - Day 4 (Terrestrial Day)

The focus today is on the land...the prairie, glade and woodland.  The day started with students getting practice with dichotomous keys as they identified different plant structures.

Sketching plant structures

Students were then ready to start their ecosystem investigations after some instruction from James Trager.

Instruction before conducting study

Hula hoops would be used to determine the study site.


Demonstrating how to conduct the studies

Students conducted plot studies in three different habitats, focusing predominantly on the plants found within...percent coverage, number of species, and plants with hairy stems or leaves.


In the prairie

Prairie

In the glade

Glade

Woodland study

Students presenting their data
After moving into the lodges for the overnight students gathered back to watch a fascinating DVD on ants presented by the famous entomologist and naturalist, E. O. WIlson.  This provided some background information in preparation for tomorrows ant study. Later, students had the opportunity to talk with some visiting scientists before and during dinner and ended the evening with a night hike, campfire with s'mores, and black light viewing of insects.


Despite the heat everyone enjoyed s'mores!


An interesting array of insects were attracted to the black light

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