Environmental Education

Vinalhaven Land Trust works to reach every student in every grade with at least one place-based environmental education program or activity each year. We introduce students to different field sciences through field trips with working scientists, using our preserves and the island’s natural resources as the classroom. In particular, we work with the curriculum needs and particular interests of teachers and students to complement and deepen their understanding of Vinalhaven ecosystems and natural communities.


Upcoming EE programs:

  • the annual trip to Eleanor L. Campbell Preserve (Polly Cove) for K-1-2
  • geology trip to compare the rocks of North Haven and Vinalhaven for 3-4-5
  • overnight trips to Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership for middle school and high school students
  • kelp aquaculture and vernal pool exploration for the Perspectives After School program
  • Island Explorers summer camp for children 5-10 years old


Visit the archives to see previous EE news.

Story Trail

Get out and read! Head to the Granite Island Trail and enjoy a family-friendly hike down to the shores of the Basin while enjoying a favorite, oversized picture book for children.

Check out the recently updated story, Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. This beautifully illustrated book will enchant your walk in the woods. Find it at location 2C on our preserve map.

-Fall Environmental Education-

Middle and High Schoolers Study Kelp Aquacultre

As part of VLT's partnership with Hurricance Island Center for Science and Leadership, visiting scientists helped Vinalhaven students cultivate kelp in the classroom. Students then planted their kelp offshore of Hurricane Island, where they will return to harvest it in the spring. This is an excellent way to learn science while helping to conduct an important study on Penobscot Bay aquaculture.



-Island Explorers Summer Camp-

All three sessions of VLT's nature-based summer camp were grand successes, chock-full of the outdoor adventures and explorations that make Maine summers so unforgettable.

Thank you to all who participated. We look forward to seeing you next year!

-Spring Environmental Education-

Middle and High Schoolers Take Multi-Day Trips to Hurricane Island

As the culminating event to a year researching the potential for scallop aquaculture on Vinalhaven with scientists from Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership, middle and high school students at Vinalhaven School spent time on Hurricane Island comparing water quality and site obsrvations to our mini-aquaculture site in Carver's Harbor. They analyzed growth rates to hypothesize what environment best suits aquaculture and brainstormed questions for fishermen and officials. What a way to involve students in real-life, relevant science!


Grades 3-5 Study Geology and Vernal Pools on Vinalhaven

Local geologist George Kendrick brought grades 3-5 to Lane's Island, Tip Toe Mountain, and all the way across the Thorofare to compare the geology of North Haven with that of Vinalhaven (which is apparently a volcano tipped on its side!). Students spent the whole day in the field, solidifying their work in earth sciences by finding fossils and studying unique rock structures. At the end of the day they earned a comprehensive view of the island from the summit of Tip Toe.


Grades 3-5 were also able to take a trip with MCHT steward Kirk Gentalen to study salamanders and locate active vernal pools in Perry Creek Conservation Area. These students explored the many woods and streams, identifying hundreds of salamander egg sacs and reporting back to the Land Trust. These jelly sacs of eggs represent important data for conservation, and perfect specimens for science education. Nice work, elementary schoolers!


Grades K-1-2 Hike with Tanglewood

Leaders from University of Maine's Tanglewood Learning Centers visited the island for a nature hike with Vinalhaven School's youngest students. These Tanglewood professionals engaged students in their environment through interactive lessons and educational games, but the biggest lesson was learned from the youngsters themselves: that the forest is a limitless venue for imagination.     

Perspectives After School

Perspectives After School (PAS) is a weekly enrichment program for elementary students at the Vinalhaven School. It offers a wide range of experiential learning activities that are hands-on, creative, and fun.

Perspectives serves two age groups, Grades Pre-K to 2 and Grades 3 to 5, that each meet one afternoon a week for 32 weeks during the school year.

Offering a balance of place-based learning activities in fields such as nature and the environment, creating with the arts, healthy living, community service, technology, and problem solving, Perspectives enables children to try new things, build new skills, and meet new people, all while having fun.

Sponsored through a partnership between Vinalhaven Land Trust (VLT) and Partners in Island Education (PIE), Perspectives is run by a team of educators who collaborate to design activities and recruit community volunteers to share their own interests and expertise. The Vinalhaven School enthusiastically supports Perspectives, providing it with a home in the school and healthy snacks every week.

So far this year students have studied spiders, learned computer programming, played a diverse array of instruments, tracked animals through the snow, cooked with local and seasonal foods, practiced yoga, deconstructed household machines, bound their own books, and sorted redeemable bottles and cans to raise money for Vinalhaven Eldercare Services. Perspectives will continue to offer such diverse and constructive activities throughout the school year.

VLT is excited to help bring these opportunities to our school children, opportunities that help them broaden their perspectives and gain an appreciation for their community—the land, the wild creatures, the people—and their place within it.