As Seen in Bluffton Today

on May 4, 2016

‘Living shoreline’: Port Royal Sound Maritime Center site for artificial oyster reef study Posted: May 4, 2016 – 12:08am By S.C. DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES For Bluffton Today For the students enrolled in Heather Rembold’s environmental science class at John Paul II Catholic School, the opportunity to get outdoors on a sunny day in April is a big deal by itself. But the group was also excited for a recent chance to get their hands dirty (and their boots muddy) helping scientists from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources assemble an artificial oyster reef on the banks of the Chechessee River at the Port Royal Sound Maritime Center. The project is part of a pilot study funded by the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium and Lowcountry Institute designed to gauge the effectiveness of this type of reef material. “Today we are going to be building an oyster reef using these modified crab traps,” said biologist Ben Stone, a member of the DNR Marine Resources Division’s Shellfish Research Section. “The primary goal of this study is to test a new ‘living shoreline’ structure that could potentially be used by private property owners.” Stone said the study is designed to see how well the mesh material used in commercial crab traps works as a base for creating living shorelines based on the development of oyster reefs. Unlike hardened structures such as bulkheads or seawalls, living shorelines have the potential to harness the power of sand, spartina grass and growing oysters to help stabilize shorelines naturally. They work to improve water quality by filtering upland runoff and create habitats for aquatic and terrestrial species. Oyster reefs filter large volumes of water, help stabilize salt marsh shorelines and provide essential habitat for many species of finfish and invertebrates such as crab and shrimp. Scientists are hopeful that living shorelines can help property owners fight erosion caused by high tides and boat wakes. In other Atlantic states, they have been shown to offer greater resilience than vertical engineered structures that separate land and water processes and prevent the marsh habitat from being able to migrate landward in the event that sea level rises. DNR is working with other the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental...

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“Sluice” – art in the water!

on Aug 10, 2015

Now on display in the waters surrounding the Maritime Center. “Sluice” is a mixed media installation by Henry Dean and will be on display through September 20, 2015. It comprises ten shaped canvas panels mounted on easel-rigs positioned in the lagoon/inlet adjacent to the Maritime Center. Structures are immersed by daily tides. The installation is a single entity, but each canvas is conceived as a singular composition designed in the studio and further developed by the painting action of saline water carrying geological sediments and bio-matter. “Sluice” can be viewed from the Maritime Center docks, or from the water. The Edgar C. Glenn boat ramp is a put-in for kayaks (or motor boats), and is only 400 yards downstream from the Maritime Center. Kayakers can enter the lagoon space between mid- and high tides. Following the installation in South Carolina the panels will be displayed with other artwork in Henry Dean’s solo exhibition = C r e e k s + F o l d s =, October 2 – 25, 2015, at the City of Savannah Cultural Arts Gallery, Savannah, GA. Dean’s art will return to the Maritime Center during the months of November and December when “Sluice” will be featured in the Habersham Rotating Exhibit Room. Click here to watch a video interview of artist Henry Dean talking about...

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Women In Philanthropy awards PRSF $16,000

on Jul 21, 2015

At its Annual Meeting earlier this summer, Women In Philanthropy announced that the Port Royal Sound Foundation was one of six grant recipients for its 2015 funding cycle. Women In Philanthropy (WIP) is a dedicated group of local women with the vision of making a difference in the Lowcountry through the power of collective giving. Each year, the organization awards grants to local nonprofits serving all of Beaufort County based on a grantmaking theme chosen annually. The theme for 2015 was “Protecting our Lowcountry Environment.” The WIP grant will expand the youth program at the Port Royal Sound Foundation’s (PRSF) Maritime Center, which opened in November last year. The overall goal highlighted in the grant application is to reach more students by using the grant money to help fund eco-boat tours, help cover the costs of marketing and education materials, supplies and educational takeaways, and help inform the community on ways that they can help save the Port Royal Sound. It is the belief of PRSF staff and volunteers that youth are paramount to environmental efforts. “By empowering our children,” says PRSF Director Jody Hayward, “by helping them make connections between the health of the Port Royal Sound and the health of their favorite sea creatures like dolphins, turtles, and sharks, we’re spreading our message. We’re confident that they will share their concerns with family and friends. Kids are just like that; they love to share what they learn!” The $16,000 grant awarded to PRSF was the largest amount of the six grants disbursed by Women In Philanthropy this year. The total amount awarded for 2015 was $60,000, which is funded through an endowment administered by the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. Since 2006, Women In Philanthropy has awarded over $215,000 in Beaufort County. # # # For more information on Women In Philanthropy, click...

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New Staff Members

on Jul 1, 2015

The Maritime Center is excited to welcome two new staff members to the team!  Rachel Jones and Chris Kehrer are both naturalists and bring a wonderful combination of personal characteristics, backgrounds and skills.  Working together to ensure the Center continues to provide excellent experiences to all of our visitors, Rachel will oversee programming and volunteers while Chris will focus on education and operations. Brief bios on each are included below. Please stop by and see what they’ve been up to! Rachel Jones – Originally hailing from the Sunshine State, I have always had a love for nature. Ever since I was a child, I had an insatiable curiosity for all things outdoors! I followed this passion into college, majoring in the Biological Sciences at the University of Central Florida, graduating in 2012. For the past 2.5 years I’ve worked as a Naturalist Guide in Charleston, SC where I’ve taught others about the nature surrounding them. I have now found a home at the Port Royal Sound Foundation as a Naturalist and Programs Coordinator where I am excited to combine my love of nature with my passion for conservation. It’s our opportunity to preserve this beautiful place and I look forward to doing so here in the Port Royal Sound area. Chris Kehrer – I am originally from Savannah, Georgia and made an easy decision by attending the University of South Carolina in Beaufort. I Graduated in December 2014 with a B.S. in Biology from USCB. While at USCB, I worked as a research assistant under Dr. Eric Montie in a marine bio-acoustic and toxicology lab from March 2013 to July 2015. I worked on the collection and analysis of wild and captive acoustic data files, to better understand spawning habits of Sciaenid fish (red drum, black drum, spotted seatrout, etc.). In January 2015 I started volunteering at Waddell Mariculture Center helping with the restocking program that releases hundreds of thousands of red drum and spotted seatrout every year in our coastal water...

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Annual Celebration Announced

on Jun 22, 2015

(June 19, 2015) — The Port Royal Sound Foundation is proud to mark the year anniversary of the opening of its Maritime Center on Lemon Island with its first annual celebration, Night on the Sound, on October 31st. Guests will experience a ‘Lowcountry Elegant’ evening with a cocktail reception and seated dinner at the Maritime Center.  The Night on the Sound program will feature guest speaker, Philippe Cousteau, a prominent leader in the environmental movement and grandson of famed ocean explorer and scientist Jacques Cousteau.  Live music, locally sourced foods, an outstanding silent auction and stimulating conversation will highlight this fundraiser that will support the educational and research efforts of the Port Royal Sound Foundation. Explorer, social entrepreneur and environmental advocate, Philippe Cousteau continues the spirit of his family’s legacy.  In 2004 he founded EarthEcho International, a leading environmental education organization that is creating a new generation of environmental citizens.  Cousteau is also a CNN special correspondent reporting on environmental and humanitarian issues around the world. The Port Royal Sound Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the betterment and conservation of the waters and lands of the Port Royal Sound area. Realizing that our unique salt marsh ecosystem touches virtually every community in Beaufort County and parts of Jasper County and, thus, impacts water quality as well as the overall quality of life for all of its citizens, the Foundation was formed to educate about and promote research into the Sound ecosystem, culture and history. For event details, to explore sponsorship opportunities and to receive invitations contact Alicia Taylor, Director of Development, Port Royal Sound Foundation at  or call 843.645.7774. (June 22, 2015) — UPDATE:  Tickets On Sale Now.  Visit the website to purchase tickets...

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New in Rotating Exhibit Room

on May 24, 2015

For Immediate Release (March 3, 2015) — The Sun City Photography Club on Monday completed installation of the Maritime Center’s newest exhibit in the Habersham Rotating Exhibit Room. Nearly three dozen framed photographs taken by members are displayed for pubic viewing. Everything from crabs to alligators to herons can be seen in this true celebration of the Port Royal Sound eco-system. There are even a few shots of the old Lemon Island Marina which the Maritime Center now calls home. The exhibit will run through the end of March. Framed prints are available for purchase with 30% of proceeds benefiting the the Port Royal Sound Foundation. The Maritime Center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please call...

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Oyster Reef Build

on May 1, 2015

For Immediate Release 100 Volunteers Needed for May 16th Oyster Reef Build  (May 1, 2015) – The Port Royal Sound Foundation is teaming up with the SC Department of Natural Resources and their SCORE program (South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement) to build an artificial oyster reef on Saturday, May 16th, at the Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Center located at 310 Okatie Highway in Beaufort County. The reef will be placed in the Chechessee River to stabilize the marsh and provide a nursery for many aquatic organisms, particularly oysters. Students have been bagging oyster shells for several months as part of field trip experiences. The bags now need to be passed down, fire brigade style, to the river for placement. This is a great opportunity to give back to the environment in a hands-on way, learn new skills, and meet like minded individuals. Call the Maritime Center at 843-645-7774 or visit their website ( to register, for directions and more information. Click here to see the...

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New Staff Member

on Feb 12, 2015

Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Center Adds to Staff (February 12, 2015)  The Port Royal Sound Foundation is pleased to announce an addition to its staff. Jennifer Jenkins started this week in her position as Volunteer Program Coordinator. She will oversee all facets of the volunteer program including the organization, recruitment, training, scheduling and recognition of volunteers working with the Foundation. Volunteers are integral to the daily operations of the newly opened Maritime Center as greeters, docents, field trip educators and even cleaning the 3,000 gallon aquarium and touch tanks. “Volunteers are the backbone of the Maritime Center,” says Jennifer. “They provide enthusiasm and knowledge of our unique eco-system to the many residents and tourists who visit the Center.” Several options are available to volunteers and Jennifer will work with each candidate to find the perfect fit.  Training and educational opportunities are available for volunteers to expand their knowledge of the Port Royal Sound. Jennifer has a lifetime of fostering healthy lives (nursing and healthcare) and environments (gardening, habitat restoration and preservation). She is enrolled in the Lowcountry Institute’s Master Naturalist Class this spring. She has organized city-wide volunteer efforts and volunteered within her community.  Since the PRSF Maritime Center opened, she has volunteered as a host and docent. Jennifer and her husband have been avid hikers and fly fishers throughout the US. They helped their fly fishing club sponsor partnerships between the Arkansas DNR and high schools. The Water Education & Training (WET) program taught teachers how to incorporate stream management and habitat preservation into the science and math classes. In addition, the students conducted field studies and sent data to the state database. Jennifer has a diploma in nursing, a BA in Biology from the University of Tennessee Knoxville and an MBA from the University of Memphis. She and her husband recently retired from Colorado and now live in Sun City Hilton Head. Interested volunteers can contact Jennifer by email (, via the website ( or by phone at...

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Eat, Sleep, Play post

on Nov 10, 2014

Love looking over the water while you’re driving over one of Beaufort’s many bridges? Ever wonder about the history of that water, what’s living in it, where it comes from, or how you can help preserve it? Look no further than the Port Royal Sound Foundation’s Maritime Center. Called by some the first large attraction in Beaufort in several years, the Maritime Center will finally open its doors to the public next week! On Saturday November 1st at noon, there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially welcome the public. The Maritime Center has made it’s home in the newly renovated building of the Lemon Island Marina, located in Okatie where Highway 170 crosses the Chechessee. There are several exhibits, not the least of which is the incredible view of the Chechessee River and it’s salt marshes, oyster beds, and mudflats. The view is one some Beaufortonians take for granted, but the Maritime Center will help remind us what there is to love and learn about our waters. The exhibits include a 3,000 gallon salt water tank displaying local fish, and a shallow touch tank that will showcase seasonal marine life from our local rivers. The Maritime center also boasts two rooms with beautiful photography of our lowcountry, both from Eric Horan Photography and the Callawassie Photo Club. The Port Royal Sound Foundation is also a temporary home for a model of Carolina Snowball, an albino dolphin who was frequently spotted in Beaufort waters beginning in the 1950s. Carolina Snowball was pursued by the Miami Seaquarium in 1961 to capture her and put her on display. Citizens and leaders of Beaufort County were so outraged that they passed a law protecting dolphins in Beaufort County in 1962. This law led to a statewide dolphin protection law, the first such law in the United States. In 1972, the national Marine Mammal Protection act was passed to protect dolphins, whales, and manatees! Not only was Carolina Snowball beautiful, but she was a catalyst to protect many other marine mammals in our state and our country, so the PRSF is so proud to house her model for now! The Maritime Center has two docks- one of which they call their educational...

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Ribbon Cutting

on Oct 24, 2014

(October 24, 2014)  November 1, 2014 marks the highly anticipated opening of the Port Royal Sound Foundation’s new Maritime Center on Lemon Island. Located in the newly renovated historic Lemon Island Marina, the Maritime Center is on the Chechessee River and accessible by car or boat. The Maritime Center is host to several exhibits that will appeal to all ages.  Crowd favorites will include a 3000 gallon aquarium and touch tanks which will be home to several species that live in the Port Royal Sound.  The life size tiger shark, rays and loggerhead sea turtle which are part of the incredible Predator Ceiling Diorama will captivate guests as they enter the main exhibit hall.  ‘Carolina Snowball’, the albino dolphin who once swam the waters of Beaufort County, now resides at the Maritime Center where her story and her son ‘Sonny Boy’ are on display for all to enjoy.  Photography exhibits from the Callawassie Photography Club and Eric Horan will adorn the walls for the next couple of months and remind visitors of the ever present beauty of this area. The MARITIME CENTER  is celebrating with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 12 noon Saturday,November 1. Open to the public every Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with FREE admission, the Maritime Center is the perfect destination for anyone who loves the beautiful waters of Beaufort...

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