VIMS collaborates with public organizations and educator groups on "mini-schools" of marine science and policy. Mini-schools are flexible in terms of duration, format, and content, but share the common goal of providing an in-depth exploration of topical issues in marine science for non-scientists. Mini-school courses are taught by VIMS faculty and staff, and funded through grants, partnerships with other institutions, and private donations. Mini-schools can be held offsite or at VIMS; offsite mini-schools typically include a field trip to the VIMS campus. If your organization or institution is interested in collaborating on hosting or developing a mini-school, please contact [[programs, us]]. Listed below are the mini-school courses that we have previously offered. We are also open to developing new courses given sufficient demand.

Species of Special Concern in Chesapeake Bay

Speakers from VIMS explore the natural history and conservation status of some of Chesapeake Bay’s ecologically, commercially, and recreationally important species, including oysters, blue crabs, menhaden, striped bass, and seagrass.

Global Warming in Chesapeake Bay

Speakers from VIMS explore the causes and potential consequences of global change in Chesapeake Bay, with particular attention to the effects of increased temperatures, sea-level rise, and excessive nutrients. The series concludes with a discussion of ways that citizens can help restore Bay health. 

From Plankton to Planet

VIMS scientists explain how tiny drifting plants and animals can influence fundamental Earth processes by interacting with elements such as nitrogen, iron, and carbon. Their presentations bring the audience along on virtual voyages from the shallow waters of Chesapeake Bay to the clear blue depths of the Sargasso Sea and the icy waters of Antarctica.

In Sickness and Health: Chesapeake Bay and You

An in-depth exploration of the links between Chesapeake Bay's environmental health and the health of humans and marine organisms, with lectures on flame retardants, harmful algal blooms, mycobacteriosis in striped bass, and anti-foulants in boat paint.

Environmentally Sensitive Landscaping

This coordinated series of lectures provides an in-depth look at the functions and ecological value of tidal wetlands, riparian buffers, and coastal watersheds, and provides practical advice for how to manage coastal property in an environmentally responsible manner. The course includes a field trip to the Teaching Marsh at VIMS.

Challenges on the Horizon

This series focuses on issues that are directly relevant to Virginia's coastal zone. Presenters discuss the status of marine resources, on-going research at VIMS, and research initiatives for the future.

Wetlands and Shorelines of Virginia's Eastern Shore

This series of presentations focuses on current understanding, new research, and management issues that are unique to the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

Overview of Coastal Marine Science

This course provides a broad overview of topical issues in coastal marine science, such as fisheries management, wetlands management, shoreline erosion, marine pollution, and habitat management and restoration.