Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Learning by doing.

Salvador and the other high school students here at TREE have been busy designing and carrying out their own research projects in the field. In the picture above Sal is radio tracking western hognose snakes to study the home range of this little studied species. This is the kind of thing that really gets kids hooked on science and is hard to replicate in the classroom. Here is what he has to say about the experience:

The past three days here at TREE have been very interesting. I have met new people and made a couple of friends. TREE is a very cool program because I get to experience the science of biology, first hand. I don’t have to worry about anything here but just the projects that I am working on. There are three types of teams; the Trapping team, the Sand Prairie team, and the Predation type. Every team focuses on different side projects that revolve around Turtle camp. For my first year I have chosen, the Sand Prairie team. We focus on reptiles in the prairie such as Ornate Box Turtles, Hognose snakes, and the Six-lined Racerunners. My team members and I have developed an experiment to find out where Hognose snakes spend their time. To do this we are using a tracking device to follow them. The weather has not been the best but it has only been my third day. I can’t wait for what is in store for our team and what other animals we will get to see.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

TREE- A science immersion program for high school students.

For the next 2 weeks I am fortunate enough to be a part of the Turtle Research Ecology and Education (TREE) program. I like to think of this as a science immersion program. For two weeks high school students camp on an island in the Mississippi River, and live and work along side professional scientists, grad students and undergrads as they study the nesting ecology of turtles. While at TREE students develop their own study questions and design studies of the local turtle,snake and lizard populations. They carry out their research and present their findings at a US Fish & Wildlife office nearby. This program works so well because kids live, eat and breath science 24 hours a day while they are here.