Environmental Education

Vinalhaven Land Trust works to reach every student in every grade with at least one place-based environmental education program or activity each year. We introduce students to different field sciences through field trips with working scientists, using our preserves and the island’s natural resources as the classroom. In particular, we work with the curriculum needs and particular interests of teachers and students to complement and deepen their understanding of Vinalhaven ecosystems and natural communities.


Upcoming EE programs:

  • the annual trip to Eleanor L. Campbell Preserve (Polly Cove) for K-1-2
  • geology trip to compare the rocks of North Haven and Vinalhaven for 3-4-5
  • overnight trips to Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership for middle school and high school students
  • map and compass and vernal pool exploration for the Perspectives After School program
  • Island Explorers, our summer camp for children 5-10 years old


Visit the archives to see previous EE news.

Island Explorers Summer Camp

It's never too early to start planning for summer. VLT's nature-based summer camp will return for three sessions this summer, all of them chock-full of the outdoor adventures and explorations that make Maine summers so unforgettable.

Camp will be held Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., on the following weeks:

  • July 17-20: "Island Ecosystems" for five to seven year olds
  • July 24-27: "Farms and Gardens" for five to seven year olds
  • Jul 31-August 3: "Island Adventurers" for eight to ten year olds

For more information or to register for Island Explorers, contact Sarah at vltislandexplorers@gmail.com

Story Trail

It's about time for summer reading! Get 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.

Check out the recently updated story, Miss Rumphius by Barabara Cooney. This beautifully illustrated book will enchant your walk in the woods. Find it at location 2C on our preserve map.

Winter Environmental Ed

The dropping temperatures and stormy skies don’t keep our school programs from getting outside and learning with nature. The Land Trust’s brand new scallop program sponsors scientists from The Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership to visit the school once a month and develop a scallop aquaculture program with middle and high school students. The students’ scallop nursery, located at the Vinalhaven Fisherman’s Co-op, is part of a project tied to research being conducted on Hurricane Island in Penobscot Bay. Each class has its own batch of scallops, numbered and named, to observe and track over the school year. This is an opportunity for students to learn about aquaculture as a viable industry and scallops as an interesting local critter.

Fall Environmental Ed

Fall in Maine just might be the best time for outdoor learning. The 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.


In September, the eighth graders climbed Mount Katahdin and learned to appreciate the comforts of home after camping in Baxter State Park. Though the peaks in Baxter might dwarf our mountains on Vinalhaven, students gained skills and experiences that will encourage further exploration of VLT lands.

Geologist George Kendrick guided the seventh and eighth graders on a trip to Lane’s Island and Tiptoe Mountain in October, where he taught how plate tectonic and volcanic action led to the formation of Vinalhaven as we know it.

The VLT also sponsored an overnight trip for Vinalhaven fifth and sixth graders at the University of Maine’s Learning Center at Tanglewood, an outdoors education program in Lincolnville. Tanglewood’s open air classrooms immersed students in outdoor adventures to help develop life skills, community spirit, and an awareness of their connection to nature.

Perspectives After School

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 Pre-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 spiders, learned computer programming, played a diverse array of instruments, tracked animals through the snow, cooked with local and seasonal foods, practiced yoga, deconstructed household machines, bound their own books, 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.