The People’s Park Project: Diversifying and Expanding Hunting Island Access

Thanks to Friends of Hunting Island, South Carolina Parks Recreation and Tourism and the South Carolina Department of Education, a new ‘Open-Air Classroom’ program will get students out of the classrooms and into the parks in 2021.

Photo courtesy of Friends of Hunting Island.

Friends of Hunting Island just announced their plans for The People’s Park Project, an initiative to strengthen Hunting Island State Park’s role in education, particularly when it comes to the Island’s natural and cultural significance. 

The program has three curriculum areas for different grade levels – Sea Turtles (3rd grade), Salt Marsh Ecology (5th grade) and Barrier Island Ecology (7th grade). Moreover, the program is making strides to reach out and educate underserved communities throughout the Lowcountry by providing sponsored access to the park. 

From Friends of Hunting Island: 

Once we identify classes, families, or organizations that want to visit Hunting Island, we will provide the following based on the interests and needs of each participating group: 

​1. Entry fees for families and groups while funds are available. 

2. Lunch: for groups of children who do not visit with a school. (Students on school trips bring boxed lunches from the school.)

3. Gift bags: with environmental literature, books, and an identification guide to the flora and fauna of Hunting Island. Books for the younger children.

4. Educational moments: experts speak to small groups in the areas of sea turtles, lighthouse history, barrier island ecology, and salt marshes.

Keep in mind that the program can’t run without the help of amazing volunteers who believe in the cause and want to bring it to its full potential. While groups can’t come to the park just yet due to COVID-19, volunteers for the Summer and Fall of 2021 are needed in the following areas: 

  • Chaperones
  • Speakers/Educators
  • Food prep & service
  • Pre- & Post-activities

If you are interested in participating in the programs as a family, class, organization or volunteer, you can contact Friend of Hunting Island at Friends of Hunting Island is also taking donations to sustain the program – click here to donate!

Photos courtesy of Friends Of Hunting Island