Citizen scientists

Colby College & the Belgrade Lakes Community


Mission: What impact are invasive species having on freshwater and upland habitats in the Belgrade Lakes region? MISSION DETAILS

What they're up to

  • November 2011, Community workshop with teachers, watershed educators, environmental leaders, and college students. WORKSHOP VIDEO
  • Winter 2011 - Spring 2012, Colby students brought Vital Signs to students in Skowhegan Middle School's afterschool program
  • Fall 2012, Colby students are bringing Vital Signs to afterschool programs in Skowhegan, Winslow, and Waterville

Voices in the community

  • I imagine all the kids searching for invasive species while out fishing in the Belgrades, vastly multiplying the number of "eyes on the water." And then getting their parents involved. -Pete, Belgrade Regional Conservation Association
  • I think that students publishing their own work to the Vital Signs website is both informative and empowering. -Savannah, Colby College
  • I want to guide students to connect with nature while at the same time prevent invasive species from spreading. -Ruthie, Colby College
  • I imagine the whole community working together to identify new infestations and prevent their spread. -Maggie, Congress of Lake Associations
  • It's important for people to connect with their environment and understand how things are related and how their actions impact ecosystems. Vital Signs is a fun way to do that with a community! -Anna, Colby College Student

Kezar Lake Watershed Community


    Mission: Where are the invasive aquatic plants in the Kezar Lake Watershed? MISSION DETAILS

    Using the Vital Signs tools
    "Vital Signs is a 'vital' component of our Eyes on the Water initiative. It not only is an invitation for people to get involved in looking for unwanted invasive aquatic plants, but explains, stepwise, the process of collecting and reporting." Lucy Lacasse, Lovell Invasive Plant Prevention Committee MORE ON EYES ON THE WATER

    What they're up to

    Check out this VIDEO (by master intern Ruthie Hawley) that highlights the effectiveness of Vital Signs in galvanizing a community effort to keep everyone's "eyes on the water!"

Riverview Foundation Community


    Which invasive species are on our Riverview campus? Which natives are they potentially impacting?
    Is climate change impacting Maine's intertidal communities? DETAILS

    What they're up to
    Riverview youth dug into summertime scientific investigations ranging from searching for invasive plant and insect species across Riverview’s 164-acre Topsham property to hunting for invasive crabs in tidal pools along the coast.

    Check out Nature Ninjas' data HERE!

    Nina Henrikson, Director of Riverview Foundation's Youth Horizons Initiative is excited about Vital Signs for these reasons:

    • One of the key components of our afterschool program is to have the program be student lead and facilitated – Vital Signs is perfect for this! The students are able to choose what species they want to investigate, and all other aspects of the investigation and publishing
    • Students get to expand their afterschool community to the rest of the state and have expert scientist respond to their findings! This is something that ranks high even on a teen’s cool meter – Way to go Vital Signs!
    • Students are getting a chance to build their awareness and understanding of their surroundings and connect with the true beauty that the state of Maine has to offer each of us