Vinalhaven Land Trust is proud to sponsor Vinalhaven School environmental education programs. There are a variety of nature-based activities planned for students in every grade level each year.
Fall in Maine just might be the best time for outdoor learning. VLT’s environmental education programs helped whole classrooms of kids at the Vinalhaven School do just that. From overnight expeditions off island to guided excursions on our own trails, students enjoyed the benefits of fresh air and exercise while gaining valuable insight and appreciation into their resources and environment.
As part of VLT's partnership with Hurricane 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 returned to harvest it this past spring. This is an excellent way to learn science while helping to conduct an important study on Penobscot Bay aquaculture.
Every September, the eighth-grade travels to Baxter State Park to camp and climb Mount Katahdin, Maine’s highest peak. In a way, this trip has become a right-of-passage before graduating middle school, and VLT is proud to provide Vinalhaven School students with this opportunity. Though the peaks at Baxter may dwarf our island hills, students gain skills and experiences that undoubtedly encourage further exploration of land in conservation.
Kirk Gentalen, steward from MCHT has introduced mushrooms, animal tracking and vernal pools to young students. VLT steward Kerry Hardy has shared his knowledge of Native American history, plants, animal habitats, and more.
VLT partners with PIE (Perspectives After School), for creative programs that include getting outdoors and learning more about nature and science. And the summers wouldn't be the same without a summer camp with lost of outdoor adventures, Island Explorers for ages 5-10.
The Story Trail at Graite Island Preserve was a great place for the younger students to get into the woods and enjoy reading this year's book, Blueberries for Sal.
Heather White's art class also had an art installation on story trail in May. It was a fun and colorful addtion to the trail.
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.
Grades 3-5 were 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!
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.
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.
As the culminating event to a year researching the potential for kelp 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 observations 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!
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.
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.
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 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 the winter sky, learned about ice, tracked animals through the snow, made sushi and learned about the science of bread making, practiced yoga, deconstructed household machines, bound their own books, learned about composting, 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.
January: Bread and Butter and Doh
February: Winter Woods
March: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
April: Kelp and More
May/June: Pollinator Power
VLT’s popular day camp will return for 3 sessions this summer, all of them chock full of the outdoor adventures and explorations that make Maine summers so unforgettable! Daily, hands-on learning experiences will focus on exploring nature, learning about organisms, habitats, farms and gardens, and having fun with friends, old and new. Camp will be held Tuesday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., on the following weeks for the 2018 sessions:
When the flag is up, visitors are welcome in the office to peruse the many maps of island ecology and visit the Al and Hilary Creighton Resource Room. Official office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
12 Skoog Park, PO Box 268, Vinalhaven, ME 04863, US
Vinalhaven Land Trust promotes the conservation and appreciation of our island's significant plant and wildlife habitat, our water resources, and scenic or traditionally valued spaces in order to preserve the character of the community for generations to come.
Click here for membership forms.