The Port Royal Sound—a tidal inlet of the Atlantic Ocean—is the body of water that defines the Lowcountry of South Carolina, from the beaches of Hilton Head to the salt marshes of Beaufort. The mission of the Port Royal Sound Foundation (PRSF) is to preserve the Port Royal Sound for the environmental, cultural, and economic well-being of our area. PRSF strives to be the leading authority and advocate for the Port Royal Sound, providing and supporting education, research, and conservation initiatives to preserve it. PRSF began in 2011 and opened the doors to its FREE Maritime Center museum in 2014. We center our exhibits, events and programs around ecology, art, culture, history, and recreation to ensure meaningful, well-rounded engagement with our community and the Sound. We believe that high-quality educational activities and outdoor experiences should be accessible for all, regardless of limiting circumstances. For this reason, much of what we offer is free or has minimal program fees, and our funding comes largely from generous donors and grants. The following is a description of programs that will be supported, in part, by your donation: Education • Maritime Center: a FREE museum housing 50+ exhibits (including live animals, gardens, history, biology, art, and more) that require ongoing updates, care, and maintenance • Field Trips: hands-on learning experiences for all grade-levels; agendas and curricula support South Carolina teaching standards; 3,000+ students/year • Pluff Mudder Summer Camp: week-long junior naturalist activities and nature experiences for children 6-13 years old, including nature hikes, kayaking, fishing, crafts, microscope activities, games, and more • Adult Pluff Mudder Camp: naturalist-led program for adults new to the Lowcountry or who want to learn more about the land, water, and animals of the Port Royal Sound • Junior Naturalist Program: preparing the next generation to love and protect our beautiful waters and be certified as a Junior Naturalist • Tuesday Talks/SoundVision Webinar Series: public lectures from local experts in ecology, art, culture, science, photography, fishing, birding, turtle watch, and more • Saturday Programs: naturalist-led educational programs for people of all ages, including nature hikes, fishing/crabbing, crafts, reptile meet & greets, and many more • Storytime: weekly opportunity for young children to watch the Sound come alive through the pages of a book, paired with a fun activity or animal encounter afterwards • STEAM Festival: annual event that showcases the innovation and excitement of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math); 800+ attendees each year Research • Citizen Scientist Program: local community members and organizations assist in the collection and compilation of long-term, widespread water quality data in collaboration with USCB and Clemson Extension Adopt-A-Stream; 75+ volunteers sampling 19 sites across the county • State of the Sound Symposium: first annual research symposium in February 2022 that convened 11 area experts from SCDNR and USCB to present what knowledge currently exists about the ecology of the Sound and how future research can help us better understand and preserve it; select recordings can be found at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAv_68a8MqnvXUf6ggGXXkefjMS4__E5E • State of the Sound Report: a comprehensive report that collects and analyzes historical data about water quality and the health of the Sound; currently being written, will be made available to the public and scientists to inform future research Conservation • Annual Recycled Art Contest: 100+ entrants from schools, families, and amateur and professional artists make art displays with litter or items that would be recycled; art is displayed in the Maritime Center and a jury decides winners in multiple categories • Litter pickups: quarterly clean of highway around the Foundation; volunteers average approximately 100 pounds of trash each time; 1,500 bags of litter kept out of the Sound since 2014 While this list is not exhaustive, it gives you an idea of the breadth and depth of our commitment to the health of the Port Royal Sound and its inhabitants. Being a coastal community comes with a lot of perks, as well as a lot of responsibility. Preserving the healthy water and unique wildlife supported by the Sound goes hand-in-hand with preserving the scenery, seafood, art and recreation in which we take pride and that make our home so special. Caring for the Sound is about more than just protecting the environment- it’s about protecting our Lowcountry lifestyle, today and for generations to come.
Our mission is to preserve the Port Royal Sound for the environmental, cultural and economic well-being of our area.