Invasive species threaten Maine’s native species and natural resources. Stewarding our 32,000 miles of rivers and streams, 6,000 lakes and ponds, 5,000 miles of coastline, and 17 million acres of forest is a daunting challenge. But Maine is well-positioned with its network of middle school students, its forward-thinking teachers, its passionate citizen scientist community, and its motivated invasive species scientists.
The Vital Signs community includes about 260 educators, 70 species experts, and a growing number of citizen scientists. Each year, about 3,000 students head out into their communities to track the whereabouts and impacts of invasive species in our state.
They look at me and say, 'Wow! I’m a scientist! I can do this!' ... All of a sudden, the walls of the school are gone, and we’re doing work that’s critically important for the state. What I love about this is that I’ve charted myself into unknown territory here and taken a leap with the students."
Students have also told us directly what Vital Signs means to them. Check out the video that a class of Dedham 8th graders made for their school board about Vital Signs.