Message to Maine Educators: The Future is Looking Bright

Announcements | Apr 22, 2021

As pandemic restrictions begin to loosen, we're excited to share a new slate of educational offerings.

Dozens of joyful students and teachers laugh and smile in a room filled with green and blue balloons.

A Message from our Chief Education Officer

Leigh Peake Chief Education Officer

It’s been a hard year for educators and students alike. We at GMRI have been overwhelmed and humbled by your tenacity as educators. I hope you felt the GMRI team standing beside you, doing our best to help you roll with the punches by providing virtual resources and tools throughout the pandemic.

As we emerge from pandemic restrictions, we want you to know we're still here for you. Our teacher communities are meeting and we're offering a full calendar of professional development opportunities. LabVenture is back in business hosting ecosystem investigations. We're back in the field collecting data, guiding data analysis and interpretation, and writing up research for Findings from the Field. We also learned the value of virtual opportunities and will be reformulating some programs to continue offering popular virtual experiences.

Our goal is to make it easy for you to engage your students in authentic science experiences in the classroom, so please join us in one or all the opportunities below.

Professional Development Opportunities

We invite you to sign up for any or all of the upcoming professional development opportunities below. Each opportunity is free for educators, and you'll even receive stipends and travel reimbursement!

For many of Maine’s fifth and sixth graders, the LabVenture field trip is one of the highlights of their year. We want teachers to get in on the fun, too! That's why we are inviting you to join us for the day, in-person at our Cohen Center for Interactive Learning, to experience the LabVenture program for yourself just as your students do. You'll also have the chance to explore the supporting curriculum resources with your fellow educators.

Note: we've limited spots in order to follow CDC guidelines, and preference will be given to teachers scheduled to bring their students to GMRI during the 2021-2022 school year.

Learn how to support students in contributing to active research projects by participating in citizen science projects. Our Ecosystem Investigation Network hosts a growing set of citizen science projects investigating the changing ecosystems across the Gulf of Maine Watershed. Projects include: Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, Intertidal Crabs, and Invasive Plants.

We invite you to join us for two afternoon online meetings and one in-person field day at a location of your choosing (Portland, Midcoast, or Northern Maine) during the week of August 16th.

Join us for a combination of independent work, online meetings, and an in-person field day, that will guide you through developing scientific observations with your students. Learn about resources, tools, and processes to support students in making meaningful observations, writing and review, and submitting Nature Notes for publication in Findings from the Field.

We invite you to join us for two morning online meetings and one in-person field day at a location of your choosing the week of August 16th. We have scheduled both the Citizen Science and Findings from the Field workshops so that you can participate in both!

We will be holding local RTC launch meetings in Western Maine, Washington County, Aroostook County, Hancock/Midcoast counties, and Southern Maine throughout the week of August 23rd.

Stay tuned for more registration details regarding regional launch meetings, but you can register for the statewide, virtual launch meeting on Monday, August 23rd, today! In the meantime, if you are interested in participating in a locally specific event or have any questions, please email Molly Auclair for more information.

Students working with an interactive touch screen

Educational Programming Updates

Our educator support team is so excited to be ramping back up some familiar offerings that took a hiatus during the pandemic, in addition to carrying other offerings that never stopped across the finish line. Learn more and hear from our team about what we are offering now, for the 2021-2022 school year, and beyond.

Findings from the Field

Despite pandemic challenges, our Findings from the Field program has been going strong. Don't forget to submit Nature Notes or Research Article submissions by Monday. May 17, 2021, and keep an eye out for Volume 4 which we will release before the end of the school year. Visit our Findings from the Field webpage or email Steve Bayes if you have any questions.

Citizen Science

The spring field season has started! Get your students outside and contributing to ongoing research projects by participating in a citizen science project. Through our citizen science projects, students engage meaningfully in the scientific process while addressing questions about the impacts of climate change in Gulf of Maine ecosystems. We've layered curriculum around these projects to support students in developing ecosystem content knowledge, concepts and scientific practices while they grow as citizen scientists.

Find a project that works for your classroom, or email Meggie Harvey to learn more.

Regional Teacher Communities

Regional Teacher Communities (RTCs) are groups of grade 5-8 STEM teachers who meet throughout the year to learn with and from one another. During these gatherings, we focus on how to engage students in more authentic STEM investigations. We currently have four established communities in Western Maine, Washington County, Aroostook County, and in Hancock/Midcoast Maine, and are planning to launch a fifth community in Southern Maine this fall.

Interested in joining an RTC near you, or want to see what an end of year celebration is like first? Register for a celebration near you and hear from your fellow educators!

  • Register here for the Hancock/Midcoast RTC EOY celebration.
    • June 22nd, 10 AM - 12 PM, at Moose Point State Park.
  • Register here for the Western Maine RTC EOY celebration.
    • June 23rd, 9 AM - 11 AM, at the University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center at Bryant Pond.
  • Register here for the Washington County RTC EOY celebration.
    • June 24th, 9 AM - 11 AM, at Cobscook Bay State Park.
  • Register here for the Combined Aroostook County and Southern Maine RTCs virtual EOY celebration.
    • May 24th, 3:15 PM - 4:15 PM, on Zoom.

If you would like to join one of these communities or have any questions, please email Molly Auclair.

Research on Teaching and Learning

The Learning Sciences Lab at GMRI is advancing work along three federally funded research projects. Whether we’re investigating LabVenture’s impact in communities, modeling variability and change in local ecosystems, or broadening participation in the aquaculture industry, Maine’s teachers, students, and communities are at the forefront of our work. If you’re interested in learning with us by participating in one of our projects as a teacher-partner, or are simply curious to learn more, email GMRI Learning Scientist Amanda Dickes.

In the meantime, we ask for your help in our effort to measure the impact of LabVenture. If you are a teacher who has attended LabVenture, the parent of a student who has attended, or both please fill out (and share) this brief LabVenture survey.


We are thrilled to announce that LabVenture will be returning to a hybrid, in-person experience this Fall. The only difference? We will be following and adhering CDC guidelines closely to ensure the experience is safe for everyone involved. Book your classroom's visit for the 2021-2022 school year today!

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