Field trips are an integral part of our mission to increase awareness of Port Royal Sound and its contributions to the area. Through hands-on experiments and discovery, students will not only see the amazing life of our local environment, but also experience it firsthand. We welcome participants in all grades from public, private and charter schools and homes-schooling programs, as well as after-school and summer programs.
Pricing and Scheduling
Field trips typically begin at 10 a.m. Depending on size, classes are divided into groups and rotate through 45-minute stations. Students can bring lunches to eat on the grounds.
Please submit a Request for Information. One of our naturalists will contact you in the next two business days and work with you to set up curriculum, develop a workbook for your class and oversee all arrangements.
Field Trip Waiver: All participants must sign a field trip waiver. Download the PDF here to print and distribute.
Program Guide: Depending on the needs and requests of the teacher, we can create a custom lesson plan to fit what the students are learning in class. Curriculums have been developed around South Carolina’s Science Standards for kindergarten through eighth grades. The Foundation also is able to bring presentations, lessons and activities to your school.Scroll down to learn about themes for grade level field trips and/or download a PDF of our complete Field Trip Program Guide here.
General field trip pricing starts at $6 per student.
Boat excursions are as follows:
Up to 40 participants: $400
Up to 60 participants: $500
We are very grateful to Women In Philanthropy for their grant to help defray the cost of eco-boat tours for students who otherwise could not experience the Port Royal Sound firsthand. Please ask us about funding assistance that may be available for your class field trip.
Field Trip Themes
Depending on the needs and requests of the teacher, we can create a custom lesson plan to fit what the students are learning in class. Curriculums have been developed around South Carolina’s Science Standards for kindergarten through eighth grades. The Foundation also is able to bring presentations, lessons and activities to your school. Download a PDF of our complete Field Trip Program Guide here.
Kindergarten: Plant or Animal? Students learn the differences between animals and plants in the marine ecosystem by learning body parts and plants and the fundamentals of life in the marine ecosystem. Adult and juvenile body plans are assessed and taught through visual and interactive activities.
First Grade: Plants and Recycling. The maritime plants that surround the Port Royal Sound are vital for its survival. We discuss saltwater tolerant plants and their different adaptations. We also discuss the role they play in the marine ecosystem as buffers and fertilizer. Recycling plays a huge role in keeping the Port Royal Sound and its surrounding bodies of water healthy. Students will discover ways they can contribute.
Second Grade: Animal Classification. The ability to classify animals allows us to assess animals when confronted by them and properly take care. The marine ecosystem is so diverse that we discuss super fauna and common critters anyone could encounter on a day at the beach. Form and function is emphasized to help students better understand why animals function the way they do.
Third Grade: Life Cycles and Food Webs. The food web and life cycles are critical to understanding an ecosystem. We discuss the complex food web in our marine ecosystem and discuss the importance of keystone animals. We also discuss the life cycles many marine organisms go through as they make their way up the food chain.
Fourth Grade: Sun, Moon & Tides. The sun and moon and their gravitational pulls, along with our large continental shelf, are responsible for the incredible tidal range in our area. Tides create an extreme living environment, where few animals can survive. We talk about how tides develop, what lives in the tidal ranges and the special adaptations that allow those organisms to survive.
Fifth Grade: Port Royal Sound Ecosystem. Defining an ecosystem is very complex, with many variables affecting its health. We discuss the different parts of the Port Royal Sound and discuss what factors affect the Sound’s ecosystem, including barrier islands, the lack of freshwater input and turbidity.
Sixth Grade: Advanced Animal Classification. We discuss the lesser known critters found in the Port Royal Sound and the huge impacts they have on our ecosystem. Form and function are explained in detail to help students differentiate families and species.
Seventh Grade: Water! Biotic and Abiotic Factors. With the Port Royal Sound a purely saltwater inlet, few know the detrimental impact that fresh water has on the estuarine ecosystem. Students learn the major impacts, along with ways people can help with stormwater runoff.
Eighth Grade: Port Royal Sound Geography. Geography plays an important role in Port Royal Sound’s uniqueness. With no fresh water flowing into it, this tidal inlet is greatly affected by stormwater runoff systems, geographical depressions and man-made infrastructure. Students will learn how and why geography is so important to the Sound’s health.
High School: We’ll customize an experience for your students. Please call to discuss possibilities that correlate to your unit of study.
To enhance the field-trip experience, we have partnered with Spartina Marine Education Charters to offer a 45-minute excursion on the Chechessee River. This is no sight-seeing tour. Captain Amber Kuehn will lead a scientific expedition. Students learn about local marine mammals, birds, sea life and spartina grasses and environmental factors of the day and record what they see. They may play marine biologist and take samples of salinity, turbidity and water temperature. As a database of results is built, students will be able to compare samplings and develop cause-and-effect hypotheses.
Captain Kuehn operates a U.S. Coast Guard-certified, custom-made vessel designed specifically for school trips and educational excursions. Safety is always first and foremost; life vests are required and provided.
Plankton: The Corner Stone of the Food Chain Biodiversity makes the Port Royal Sound unique. Bill Weiss, a professional ecologist and conservationist, demonstrates biodiversity in its smallest, yet largest scale. Using plankton tows and microscopes, he explains his research on this important part of the food chain and how delicate these microorganisms are. The program offers firsthand research experience, hands-on activities and up-close observations of microorganisms.