Blogs

Fall Field season 2015 - our largest ever!

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We’re sending out our fall field season update later than we ever have before as fall data continues to roll in. That’s right, we still have people contributing data! Beautiful fall weather, curious researchers and classrooms, and active communities resulted in the most active Vital Signs field season ever!

Hot Topic! Where do YOU see signs of New England Cottontail?

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Take a look at the map below. This map indicates the historic (below the red dotted line) and current (in blue) range of the New England Cottontail (NEC). If you or your students live within the current or historic range outlined in this map then Kelly, Kate, and Katelyn from the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge need your help looking for signs of the NEC. Help them out by participating in Mission: New England Cottontail.

Record breaking news!

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    Greetings Vital Signs Community!

    From September 1st – December 21st, there have been 963 new species observations posted on the Vital Signs website. This has been the most data in a field season ever, and it is not over! New data is still rolling in.

Massabesic Middle School's 2nd Invasive Species Forum

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Guest blog post from Pat Parent from Massabesic Middle School.
The Massabesic Middle School Aroostook Team’s 2nd Invasive Species Forum on November 20th was quite the hit. We decided to collect data from visitors to the Forum to get an idea of who is attending. We were also trying to get an idea of how much people knew about invasive species prior to their visit to our Forum and the overall impression of the Forum. The following are some of our findings.

VS student recognized as Student of the Year by MEGAT

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On October 30th the Maine Educators of the Gifted and Talented (MEGAT) recognized Ben Levesque as the Student of the Year at their annual conference. Ben was recognized in part for his VS work in the Massabesic Middle School invasive species forum.

Hot Topic! European Naiad Confirmed in Maine River

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In late September this year, a local citizen scientist was out monitoring the Salmon Falls River when they found European Naiad (Najas minor). This aquatic invasive plant is no joke; it can easily grow into a whole new plant from tiny pieces that have broken off (which typically occurs in the fall when stems become brittle).

Vital Signs Online Intro Institute

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Vital Signs has been hosting teacher institutes since 2009. We’ve worked with over 300 teachers in that time, supporting them to use Vital Signs (VS) in the classroom, and implement other authentic science learning experiences. We are constantly evolving our professional development offerings to best support teachers and classrooms.

SeDoMoCha Middle School Invasive Species Carnival

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    Guest blog post from Mary Kate Povak from SeDoMoCha Middle School.
    The 7th grade class at SeDoMoCha Middle School spent the last two months of the 2014/2015 school year preparing a special treat for the RSU #68 community thanks to funding from the Vital Communities* Project through Vital Signs.

Vital Signs at the 2015 MSSM STEM Collaborative

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Over the last week I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the 2015 Maine School of Science and Mathematics STEM Educator Collaborative. I had the chance to work with some great teachers from all over the state and I co-taught a Vital Signs course with Pat Parent.

Educator Survey Data

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This past February we sent around a survey to our Vital Signs community and The Maine Science Teachers Association listserv to gauge who is using Vital Signs, how they are using it, and how we can improve the program.

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