2015 Schoodic Institute in Acadia National Park in Winter Harbor, Maine

Research-based Partnerships

August 16-21, 2015

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Maine's Intertidal Communities

Maine’s rocky intertidal is home to many fascinating marine organisms that have evolved to survive constant buffeting and ravaging by ocean waves and debris. Over the last few decades these marine environments are becoming even less hospitable due to humans pumping more carbon into the atmosphere. Global warming is drastically reshaping and degrading these essential intertidal communities. Despite snails’ and barnacles’, for example, hard armor, it is unknown if these species will survive higher wave energies, ever increasing water temperatures, and ocean acidification. Questions must be answered regarding how such human-driven changes could alter the natural ecology of species living in these intriguingly diverse marine systems.  

In this field-based program teacherssampled the number of snails, barnacles, and other intertidal species holding onto the rocky shelves, as well as measured abiotic variables to evaluate how ocean acidification and global warming are affecting the building and maintaining of Acadia National Park’s valuable marine communities.  Teachers distributed settling plates and ‘clod cards’ to record larval settlement and water flow patterns.  Comparing abundance values of today with patterns from the past allowed teachers to estimate the effects of environmental change.

Most importantly, teachers learned how to observe biological patterns and to frame research hypothesis/questions. Upon gathering and analyzing data, teachers specifically addressed their own individual inquiries.

This long-running teacher program in the US has shown that field opportunities refresh and energize teachers, inspiring them to share their first-hand experiences of the natural world with their students. Teachers learn about environmental sustainability and gain field-based experience in scientific practices and observation – and real-world context for teaching scientific principles in their classrooms.

With Jules Winters, Ph.D. and Hannah Weber with support by scientist John Cigliano, Ph.D.

Who: K-12 teachers (a maximum of 8 teachers)

When:  Sunday, August 16 – Friday, August 21, 2015

Where: Schoodic Institute, Acadia National Park, Maine

Schools/Districts were asked to contribute $650/teacher, all of which will be paid to the teacher at the end of the institute as a stipend and for travel expenses.

The summer institute is funded by Princeton University’s Program in Teacher Preparation and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and by a generous private donation.


Logistics at Schoodic Institute

Teachers MUST RESIDE at the Schoodic Institute facilities to design questions, collect, analyze, and present data that furthers an understanding of scientific research as supported by the Science Practices of the Next Generation Science Standards

Schoodic Institute is located in Acadia National Park in the town of Winter Harbor, Maine.

Lodging will be at the Schoodic Shores apartments, with two teachers per room and a shared bathroom in the apartment.  These apartments also have living rooms and kitchens, and WiFi.

Meals will be served cafeteria style in Schooner Commons. 

The campus is very "walkable" with paved paths throughout.

Educators will have the opportunity to participate in field-based experiments that support researchers' understandings about the environment. This is an invaluable experience intended to be transferred to the classroom and shared with students year after year.

Teachers will better understand the Science Practices as specified in the Next Generation Science Standards for their application in classroom instruction, curriculum and assessment: 

  • Asking questions
  • Developing and using models
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking
  • Constructing explanations
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information