Institutes & events

Institutes & PD opportunities

Mini-Grant to support Freshwater Investigations*
Apply for funds for equipment and/or travel support to get your students collecting critical data in freshwater habitats. See application and more details

Regional Middle School Teacher Communities
We are working with middle school teachers from across the state who are excited about doing more authentic science investigations in the classroom. We have regional teacher communities (RTCs) in Hancock County, Western Maine, and soon to launch in Midcoast Maine and Washington County. Read more

Try out one of our anywhere, anytime PD modules to get started and dive deeper into VS:

Email for details on any of these opportunities.

*This opportunity is generously supported by a grant from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund (MOHF). MOHF is a program through which proceeds from the sale of a dedicated instant lottery ticket (currently Stinkin’ Rich ) are used to support outdoor recreation and natural resource conservation. For more information visit MOHF.

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!