Island Quest


Is Your Classroom as Big as Your Students' Imaginations?
Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge offers 66,000 acres of wilderness just waiting for exploration. Your students will watch science come alive as dolphins breach alongside the boat and American oystercatchers huddle on exposed sandbars.  They’ll walk the same paths of Sewee Indians and Civil War Blockage Runners as they investigate freshwater impoundments and the magnificent Boneyard Beach.



Coastal Expeditions is proud to offer our Island Quest programs. These quality field-study programs
are structured to meet S.C. Science Curriculum Standards and offer an unmatched hands-on marine and barrier island exploration for your students.

The experience begins when we board our covered pontoon ferry for the 30-minute ride to Bulls Island. As we travel through the estuary, your naturalist will talk about the natural and human history of the area and explain the dynamics of this super-diversified ecosystem. We will examine live marine specimens and discuss the numerous creatures that make the estuary the “nursery of the sea.” Once on the island, our programming continues, offering several different options.

Each Island Quest adventure is tailored to the class, ensuring that the curriculum is challenging and fun.  Students will gain a better understading of marine science, barrier island development, maritime forest and beach ecosystems and natural connections.

The history of Bulls Island has great depth and includes pirates, Civil War blockade runners, Sewee Indians and the original landing spot of the shipCarolina on its way to Charlestown Landing.  There is an old tabby fort foundation, oyster middons and the Magwood graveyard serving as markers of the island's history.


PROGRAMS OFFERED:

Island Quest
Bulls Island is well-protected and accessible only by boat making it perfect for exploration by your students.

Once the ferry docks and your class enters the maritime forest, the adventure begins.  Along the way to the freshwater impoundments on the island interior, your naturalist-guide will show your students shell mounds left by Native Americans, identify birds flying overhead and point out trees and plants with medicinal uses like Black Willow and Toothache Tree (and give them a chance to try a piece of this numbing leaf!).

Along the way to the pristine seven-mile beachfront, your guide will point out animal tracks and insects, describe the history of Bulls Island, and talk about the ecological importance of maritime forest and freshwater impoundments for migratory waterfowl.

The beach exploration includes activities such as searching for shore creatures and identifying shells (living and vacated), discussing geological beach dynamics and tidal cycles, and examining adaptations used by the shoreline animals in the transitional beach ecosystem.

Be prepared to learn, have fun, and get your hands sandy on this half-day exploration of Bulls Island.


Advanced Island Quest
This option offers a complete, well-rounded study of barrier island ecology, and is a great opportunity for your students to gain hands-on experience.  This in-depth field trip examines both the maritime forest and the dynamic beach of Bulls Island.  Perfect for advanced classes in science, social studies, ecology and college-level courses.

Island Quest + Birds of Prey
For a day that your students won’t soon forget, consider this special field trip to both Bulls Island and The Center for Birds of Prey.

This offering combines an Island Quest to Bulls Island with a guided experience at The Center for Birds of Prey.  As part of the shedule, your students will see birds like owls, hawks, vultures and falcons with naturalist interpretation. This is a world-class facility and it is just down the road from the Bulls Island departure point.




Since 1994, Coastal Expeditions has proudly served as the concession for Group Services within Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, in partnership with US Fish & Wildlife Service.  The 66,000 acres of Cape Romain are managed for the protection of endangered species, including wood storks and loggerhead sea turtles, and we feel fortunate to be active stewards and educators in this wildlife refuge.





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Island Quest field trips are available throughout the year, by reservation

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The IQ Experience

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Price:

Island Quest
$35/student

Island Quest + Birds of Prey
$45/student

*20 student minimum;
1 group leader at no charge
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Departure Point:
Garris Landing in Awendaw, SC
Directions

Note:  Ferry departs Garris Landing and Bulls Island Landing promptly at scheduled times.  Please allow yourself time to walk to the end of the pier by arriving at least 15-30 minutes before scheduled departures.
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What to Wear:
Bulls Island is a 5,000-acre remote barrier island, so dress for hiking.  Dress in layers and wear a hat for sun protection.  Once you get to the beach, you can ditch your shoes and dip your toes in the Atlantic, but you'll want closed-toe walking shoes while you are hiking the roads and trails of the island.
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What to Bring:
Small backpack to carry drinking water, lunch and a few necessities.  Insect repellant and sunblock are recommended during warmer months.
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Activity Level: Following a 30-minute eco tour to the island, students explore the island by foot and need to be prepared for a day of well-paced hiking.

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Activities Include:

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Read About Your Guides

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Boxed Lunches:
With pre-arrangement, boxed lunches are available for an additional cost.

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