In 2012, several of my Outside Hilton Head colleagues and I formed a task force called The Green Team to address our company’s sustainability. We established company-wide recycling programs, educational initiatives and an outreach curriculum. The goals of the group broadened and, in 2014, a 501(c)3 non-profit was established. Called The Outside Foundation, the organization has a simple mission: to get kids outside and protect and preserve the local environment. Led by Executive Director Jean Fruh, The Foundation has done a great deal of important work in the community over its short history and has some excellent programs planned this spring.
The cornerstone of The Outside Foundation’s work is a program called Kids in Kayaks. Originally established in 1992, Kids in Kayaks has a simple mission—to get all middle school children in Beaufort County out kayaking.
This spring, all “South of the Broad” middle schools in Beaufort County will participate in the program. The Outside Foundation rewrote the curriculum for the science-based program, which combines a nature-based kayak tour with hands-on, on-land experiences, including touch tanks, watershed demonstrations, fish dissections, oyster experiments and water quality testing.
Local children pay $25 each to participate in the Kids in Kayaks program. For those who cannot afford it, The Outside Foundation has established a scholarship fund to cover the costs. On March 5, 2017, The Foundation will host a fundraiser called “An Afternoon on Page Island.” This fantastic event includes a round-trip boat cruise to secluded Page Island, an oyster roast, Lowcountry boil, live music, island tours, games, a silent and live auction and much more.
Then, on Sunday, March 18, 2017, The Outside Foundation hosts a kayak-based cleanup of Broad Creek. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and volunteers can come for whatever portion of time they prefer. Outside Hilton Head is offering free kayak rentals to volunteers but, as there are only a limited number of these free rentals available, reservations are required. This is the first of two annual cleanups run by The Outside Foundation. In the past, these volunteer events have collected over 1,000 pounds of trash from the waterway. If you enjoy the outdoors, protecting the environment or helping out, this is an event not to miss!
Visit outsidefoundation.org to learn more about The Outside Foundation and its aim to promote a healthy and sustainable salt marsh and coastal environment for current and future residents and visitors to the Lowcountry of South Carolina, purchase tickets for An Afternoon on Page Island or to check out some fun Kids in Kayaks photos. To reserve your free kayak rental for the Broad Creek Cleanup on March 18, 2017, call (843) 686-6996.