Thursday, March 6, 2014
As part of the South Carolina Outdoor Education Program (SCOEP), more than 800 4th and 5th grade students from Pinckney participated in a field study on Bulls Island. The program is administered by Coastal Expeditions and fully funded through the Butler Educational Foundation.
Two primary purposes guide the trip. The first is to get students active in nature. To qualify for a Butler Educational Foundation Grant students must be physically engaged with the environment for at least 50 percent of the trip time. The second purpose is to address specific South Carolina State Science standards. Students in 4th grade focus on animal adaptations, and 5th graders learn about ecosystems.
Students traveled the waterways of the Cape Romaine Wildlife Refuge on a Coastal Expeditions Ferry to Bulls Island. Spotting wildlife and exploring the education table filled with natural artifacts were the big highlights. Students then hiked across the middle of the island. Each trip brought unique experiences depending on the weather and month. At least one group had to politely ask a large American Alligator to stop blocking their path (with careful assistance from the Coastal Expeditions naturalist). The halfway mark of the hike was the Atlantic Ocean which made for an ideal outdoor classroom. Students then enjoyed their lunch on the return ferry.
Planning is underway with Coastal Expeditions owner Chris Crolley to make Pinckney a pilot school for annual trips to Bulls Island for years to come.