Posted by: missouriugr | July 11, 2007

UMEB Fieldtrip Recap-July 5, 2007

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On July 5th at 6:30 a.m. UMEB began our journey to the Tyson Research Center
which is about 20 miles southwest Eureka Missouri near St. Louis. While driving south on I-44 the trees began to get thicker and the landscape began undulateing in shades of emerald green. We pulled into the security gate and were greeted by an extremely cheerful gentleman who guided us into the compound. We later learned that everyone at the Tyson Research Center had that same cheerful demeanor (you would too if you spent everyday in paradise). A wild turkey ran across the road as we pulled into the main center which we later learned was a former defense site that was developed as a weapons assembly, storage and training facility by the military during WWII. Now Tyson is an environmental research facility and is operated by Washington University.
We started our visit by taking a short wqlk to see the lab facilities and research areas. There were over 50 “kiddie” pools set up all over the property to emulate different pond environments. Some pools were stocked with nothing but sand and mud while others included native plants, algae and tree frogs that showed up voluntarily. It was really interesting to see how the various man-made environments developed differently depending on the variables introduced. After watching the tadpoles for a while we all climbed into a truck and began cruising through the woods. The gravel roads and steep hills made for quite an adventure! We stopped several times to look at a variety of non-native invasive plants such as garlic mustard that can take over a forest and choke out the native plants in no time. We meandered through the woods on foot for a while and stopped for UMEB scholars to ask a battery of questions to Dr. Charles Nilon and several Washington University faculty. Even though the temperature was well into the 90’s it was cool and comfortable in the forest. Once we returned to the Center we were joined by more undergraduate students from Washington University to attend there weekly seminar on environmental ecology. The day ended with a barbeque hosted by the Center which included hot dogs and buffalo burgers! It was a wonderful day that kind of makes you want to chuck the whole desk job thing and opt for a pair of hiking boots and some strong bug spray!

Alisa Warren and Dr. Charles Nilon


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