Institutes & events

Professional Development opportunities

In-person Institutes:

New Mission Training
Coming Fall 2019 - NEW citizen science missions with Vital Signs! New protocols, data entry, and wrap around curriculum designed to engage students in meaningful data contribution and ecosystem investigations. Turn your students into citizen scientists with the knowledge and skills to plan and prepare for an investigation, collect and analyze meaningful data, and communicate their findings to an authentic audience. We are offering trainings across the state, so look for a location near you in our offerings below:

  • August 2019 @ The Downeast Institute - Beals Island, ME - exact date and time TBD --> Register HERE
  • September 17 @ Waterville Creates! - Waterville, ME from 8:30 – 3:30 --> Register HERE
  • September 24 @ The Gulf of Maine Research Institute - Portland, ME from 8:30 – 3:30 --> Register HERE

Reach out to with questions.

Regional Teacher Communities:

Are you a 5th – 8th grade teacher who wants to connect with a regional community of STEM educators learning from one another and working to bring more and deeper authentic STEM investigations into their classrooms? Join a Regional Teacher Community (RTC)!

  • Western Maine (Franklin and Oxford counties)
  • Midcoast Maine (Waldo, Knox, and Lincoln counties)
  • Washington County
  • Hancock County

To register to join one of the 4 RTCs, fill out this FORM. If you have any questions at all, email Molly Auclair at for more details. If you are interested in being in an RTC, but aren’t in one of our current regions, we would love to hear from you.

Educator Institutes

We’re always interested in meeting Maine educators who want to transform how students learn science.

Each year we invite more educators to join the 100+ already contributing to Vital Signs’ statewide effort to engage, challenge, and mobilize students to contribute to an authentic science research effort. Institutes, workshops, and webinars happen throughout the year.

Vital Signs has truly transformed my teaching... Vital Signs has given meaning to field work. Data collected by students is important and actually used. Feedback from real scientists who use the data is given to students. No better way to incorporate NGSS in my opinion.
Teacher 2015

Institutes offer educators firsthand experience with all components of the Vital Signs program from framing issues and research questions to data collection, peer review, data analysis, reflection, and final project creation. Each day offers a chance to work collaboratively with fellow educators from around the state, sharing time, energy, and ideas. Educators will meet scientists, citizen scientists, and other educators active in the Vital Signs community, and will be prepared for active participation themselves. Institutes allow time to explore, do, play, reflect, and create a personalized action plan that guides implementation.


  • Connect your students with the scientific community
  • Experience inquiry and other essential elements of scientific practice
  • Become familiar with Vital Signs technology, standards-aligned curriculum, and community resources
  • Do authentic field work in freshwater and coastal systems
  • Understand how to incorporate Vital Signs into your current curriculum or program
  • Collaborate and network with similarly-inspired teachers throughout Maine, including 100 already participating in and advising Vital Signs.

Perks (always subject to change)

It's incredible to see and hear from the scientists who are involved in this project we are undertaking. I love their passion and enthusiasm for science and inquiry!
Teacher Institute 2009

  • Field equipment to borrow while you’re active with VS
  • Ongoing support from the VS team and community of educators
  • Contact Hours
  • Stipend
  • Lodging for those from away
  • Mileage for those traveling

An Institute in your future?

If you sense an Institute in your future, tell us about yourself and we’ll send you Institute announcements direct from us to your inbox. Send us:

  • Your name
  • Your email
  • Your school or organization
  • The grade(s) and subject(s) you teach
  • A short and sweet statement about why you’re interested and how you think your students might benefit

See you soon!