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.
VLT’s environmental education programs have helped whole classrooms of kids at the Vinalhaven School engage in outdoor learning. From overnight expeditions off island to guided excursions on our own trails, students have enjoyed the benefits of fresh air and exercise while gaining valuable insight and appreciation into their resources and environment.
An innovative program called Saltwater Classroom visited Vinalhaven School for the first time in September and spent three days with grades 4-6. Educators from Saltwater Classroom taught students marine science and conservation with a focus on experiments and field-work. Through their mobile phone and iPad application, participants around the world can connect, build cross-cultural relationships, share marine discoveries, and ultimately forge a passion for the ocean that extends beyond whatever differences may set us apart.
Once again, the 8th grade headed off to Mount Katahdin to hike, canoe, and connect with nature. Both this year and last, they brought student leaders to accompany the 8th grade group. High school students who once came as 8th graders offered guidance and friendship, in hopes of making their experience that much more rewarding. It was a great success!
Tanglewood Center will be leading K-3 on two hikes this year, as they have been so successful in past years! Grades 5 and 6 will also go to Tanglewood's campus in Lincolnville for a 2 night adventure of outdoor learning and fun.
For the fourth year in a row, Hurricane Center for Science and Leadership will visit Vinalhaven School to work with grades 6-12. Students will also visit Hurricane Island in the spring to review their research from the year.
This year, they are setting out spat bags to catch wild scallops, and then move them to Hurricane's new scallop farm, which is on the north end of Hurricane Island. They will study their growth, and other organisms caught in the spat bags.
Grade 6 and high school classes will explore the geology of Vinalhaven with local geologist George Kendrick. George will talk about Vinalhaven's ancient history as they hike from Lane's Island to Tip Toe Mountain.
Volunteer Kate Ritz has been gardening with elementary and middle school grades. Thanks to 4-H, they built a greenhouse, and started a composting program. In the future, they hope to be able to grow vegetables to use in the school cafeteria.
Starting in September, Hurricane Island lead science teacher will be coming into Grades 6–12 classrooms for the third year. Year 1 was scallop aquaculture, and last year was Kelp Aquaculture. This year, middle school will continue work on Kelp, and 7th and 8th grade will work more in depth on a kelp business plan as well as some geology to tie in with their Geology Hike with George Kendrick in October.
This year, the HS plan will follow the earth science curriculum. They will discuss how the solar system impacts the earth. The HS field trip in September will focus on Hurricane's solar energy and geologic history.
Learn more about Hurricane Center for Science and Leadership here:
Every September, the eighth-grade travels to Baxter State Park to camp and climb Mount Katahdin, Maine’s highest peak. This year's trip is September 19–21. 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.
This year, they will camp on a VH resident's property on Ambejejus Lake and canoe to the Boomhouse Museum, hiking Mount Katahdin the next day. VH connections are everywhere!
Geologist George Kendrick will took Grades 7 and 8 on an exploration of Vinalhaven's ancient history. George will teach students what they can learn about Vinalhaven's history from rocks at various locations on the island. They will search for rocks on Lane's Island, Tip Toe Beach, and Lawson's Quarry.
Grades 2 and 3 will go to the same preserve each season and make observations, an activity called "plot studies". K–3 will hike story trail in the spring to check out the new book while enjoying the different seasons.
In September, MCHT steward Kirk Gentalen took grades 4 and 5 into the woods to search for and photograph mushrooms. They brought their photos back to the classroom to make paintings and compile a book for the land trust.
4-H and volunteer Kate Ritz have built a greenhouse, started a composting program, and planted gardens for the past year. In March, Kate helped Middle School students plant seeds for their kelp spice project. Kate is eager to do more garden projects at the school!
In April, Chewonki Foundation brought an owl, a snake, and a woodchuck to Vinalhaven School for their program, "Animal Adaptations." They run year-round wilderness programs, and have been operating since 1915.
Check them out here:
In partnership with PIE, Leaps of Imagination was in residence for three weeks in May, working with grades 2 and 3. Their program, "Animal Connections," combines art, nature, and science.
Read more about Leaps below:
Island Readers and Writers spent the day with grades 2–4 from both Vinalhaven and North Haven, and on North Haven on May 1, grades 5–7 joined the North Haven kids on North Haven for the same program. Author, illustrator, and birder Annette LeBlanc Cate was the guest writer. There was a bird walk on both islands, and lots of fun activities, including sketching birds, and learning how to identify what they see on the bird walk.
In May, grades 3–5 went to Hurricane Island for the first time. They had a great hike around the island, had a delicious lunch, and did some fun team-building activities.
School ends June 14, but the outdoor adventure begins. There is so much to offer in the summer. Island Explorers is VLT's summer camp for rising grades K–2. Island Sail offers sailing instruction for ages seven and older, PIE also has day camps available.
Our walks and talks program has some kid friendly activities, including a low tide exploration, making cards from pressed flowers, a butterfly walk, and more.
See the link below for more information: