Education & Outreach

The specific goals of the PIE-LTER’s education and outreach program change with the target audience but always include an emphasis on using long-term data to understand ecological change. PIE participates in the LTER Education Digital Library with the objective to develop and contribute to a collection that incorporates LTER research and facilitates the training, teaching and learning about long-term ecological science.

Schoolyard K-12   The goals of our K-12 program are to 1) excite students and their teachers about science through hands on activities in their own schoolyards, neighborhoods, and local communities; 2) encourage students to consider a career in science; 3) promote environmental stewardship.  We collaborate with Mass Audubon, the Gulf of Maine Institute, and The Governor's Academy to achieve these goals.  Our current K-12 programs reach more than 1,000 students a year.  We also have a number of useful resources for K-12 teachers including curricula and books appropriate for K-12.  

Data Nuggets - Data Nuggets are classroom activities, co-designed by graduate students and teachers, which give students practice interpreting quantitative information and making claims based on evidence. They are created from ongoing scientific research and provide a brief background on a scientist and their study system, a dataset from their research, and challenge students to answer a scientific question using the dataset to support their claim. The goal of Data Nuggets is to engage students in the practices of science through an innovative approach that combines scientific content from authentic research with key concepts in quantitative reasoning.

Undergraduate – The goal of our undergraduate program is to give students a high quality hands-on research experience.  PIE offers opportunities for undergraduates through research experience for undergraduate (REU) summer internships, class field trips, and short projects through the MBL’s Semester in Environmental Sciences program.

Graduate and Post-Graduate – Graduate students and post-doctoral investigators work directly with PIE scientists and come from a variety of institutions.  In addition we host a field component for the BROWN IGERT program and when appropriate we provide housing and logistic support for visiting graduate students.

Educators and Citizen Scientists -   Teachers in K-12 can become involved in our existing programs or use the resources on our web site (K-12).   There are also a number of national programs now available for educators or citizens wishing to contribute to data collection in the Plum Island area.  PIE scientists have also produced a “field guide” to the plants and animals in the Plum Island estuaries and watersheds which can be adapted for your own use. 

Outreach  - The goal of our outreach program is to provide high quality, timely advice to managers and policy makers on issues related to watershed, marsh, and estuarine processes.  We also aim to increase the scientific understanding of the general public so they may become better environmental stewards and participate in an informed way in the decisions being made which affect their environment.