Sound to Sea Overview

Sound to Sea Program Overview and Goals

The Sound to Sea Program will help students understand why and how we are tied to the earth. Through the Biology, Cultural or Current Events Program options, students will have the opportunity to learn about the unique adaptations of the plants and animals that live on a barrier island, how man has used these plants and animals throughout history, or how the loss of this amazing biodiversity is harmful to human health. Baba Dioum, an African Naturalist, explains the situation most elegantly "In the end, we will only conserve what we love. We will only love what we understand. We will only understand what we are taught." We want the Sound to Sea Program to be the first step in this chain.

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What We Do

Sound to Sea, the only residential environmental education program on the Outer Banks, offers school groups a habitat-based program which includes multi-disciplinary hands-on activities, a Challenge Course and special evening programs. Last year, 110 school groups (over 6000 students-grades 2-12, teachers and chaperons) explored our barrier island and it's five habitats in Sound to Sea programs at Trinity Center on Bogue Banks. Sound to Sea benefits the school group academically and socially, both at Trinity Center and back at school. Teachers, students and chaperons valued our program, judging from comments on their evaluation forms:


All I do when I go with my family (to the coast) is lay out in the sun, swim and lay in a hot tub. Thank you for showing me that there is more to the beach than sun, water and a hot tub. (Student-New Hope Elementary, New Hope)

After reading your literature that was sent to our school, I became very excited about your programs and how they were parallel to our science studies. I hoped that the children would have some different experiences than at school. The expectations and goals were definitely fulfilled. (Teacher-Burgaw Elementary, Burgaw)

I learned I could depend on and trust other members of my school. (Student-Charles Erwin Middle, Salisbury)

I was very impressed with the (Sound to Sea) instructors. Their temperament, patience, sense of humor, concern for the development of each child, attitude, conflict resolution skills, energy-level and preparation was excellent. (Teacher-Erwin Open Elementary, Greensboro)

You gave me the trip of my life. It was almost better than Disney World. (Student-Claxton Elementary AG Program, Greensboro)


It makes us proud to read that, from a student's perspective, Sound to Sea compares so favorably with Disney World.

Who We Are

Sound to Sea is a non-profit educational service for public and private school youth, their teachers and other supervising adults. The program is sponsored by Trinity Center, a camp and conference center owned and operated by the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina. Trinity Center developed Sound to Sea as an earth stewardship outreach ministry. The classes and hands-on activities appeal to students from a wide range of capabilities and backgrounds.

Where We Are

All Sound to Sea programs are held on site at Trinity Center, located on Rt 58, 7 miles west of Atlantic Beach, on Bogue Banks. Trinity encompasses 62 acres of salt marsh, maritime forest, freshwater pond, sand dunes and 1/3 mile each of sound and beach front.

Program Goals

To increase awareness of the human community

In addition to recognizing the ecological communities across the island, students and teachers further explore their human community. By interacting with groups at the dining table and in cabins or classes, students begin to value their place within a community and realize how one individual affects others.

To introduce students and teachers to a variety of habitats typical of a North Carolina Barrier Island

Many students have never seen the sound, salt marsh, freshwater pond, maritime forest or beach habitats. Being able to walk from the sound to the sea, in a matter of minutes, and see the complex ecosystems they learn about in school has a tremendous impact on students.

To apply classroom learning in a practical way

Students often find it difficult to understand how and where they can apply school subject areas outside the classroom. In order to determine the salinity of the water of Bogue Sound, students use math skills to read the hydrometer and various charts. From the water cycle to plant characteristics, students make connections between what they learned in school and what they experience at Sound to Sea.

To enhance relationships between adults and students

Imagine students supporting a teacher on the swinging log at the challenge course. While interacting outside the classroom setting, students and teachers form lasting healthy relationships. Even planning the trip unites a classroom group as they pursue a common goal.

To stimulate personal growth--students develop a sense of independence and responsibility

For many children Sound to Sea is a first experience away from home for an extended period of time. In an atmosphere of support and encouragement, students help each other adapt to their new habitat, and individually begin to assume responsibility for their behavior and personal belongings. This contributes to the tremendous growth students experience at Sound to Sea.

Sound to Sea Facilities

Dorms and Indoor Spaces

Students and chaperons stay in dormitories located on Bogue Sound. The four dormitories (dorm floorplan) are each divided into two cabins, and each cabin houses 12 people. Also, cabins have a bathroom with private showers and toilets. In addition, every dormitory has one private room and bathroom for a head teacher. The dorms accommodate groups of up to 92 people (80 students and 12 adults). Each dormitory is made more comfortable by air conditioning and heat.

The Centrum pavilion, big enough for large group activities, also houses the Sound to Sea Program Office and three indoor study rooms. A sports field lies between the Centrum and the dining rooms, which are located in the central conference center area. The Sharp Building is our indoor meeting hall. Through the pedestrian underpass on the beach side is one additional indoor classroom. All Trinity Center facilities are handicapped accessible.


A carefully planned, well-balanced menu, including evening snacks, will be provided by an experienced food service staff. Trinity provides healthy, home-cooked meals served family-style with fresh fruits and salads daily. Any special dietary needs (diabetes, religious restrictions, vegetarians, food allergies, etc.) can be accommodated with advanced notice. However, we will not provide for fussy eaters.

Our dining hall can seat between 108 and 135 people, depending on the placement of a movable sound-proof wall. The tables seat nine people, usually seven or eight students and one or two adults. The number of teachers, chaperons and Sound to Sea staff members actually dictates just how many tables of seven or eight students there will be. Students will sit with their table groups for all of their meals, so that they can get to know each other better and share about what the different groups have been doing. However, adults can choose to sit with different tables for each meal.

Health and Safety

Over the history of the Sound to Sea Program, our accident rate has always been uncommonly low. Our safety record is a direct result of the care we take in our classes and in setting our behavioral standards. If there is any type of emergency during the day, all of our instructors are trained in Basic First Aid and CPR. If there are any emergencies after hours, schools can contact the EMS System and the Trinity Center Night Manager. In addition, be sure to pack your personal cell phone and charger in case of nighttime emergencies.

With the Rescue Squads in Salter Path and Pine Knoll Shores both less than 3 miles from Trinity Center, the average response time (over the last 6 years) after the initial call has been approximately five minutes. The local squads are very familiar with the property and conduct some of their driver training here. Carteret General Hospital is less than 12 miles from Trinity Center.

We also ask that all schools (especially ones that are coming on charter busses) bring some form of private transportation. Since many busses do not stay on property, it is helpful to have a car available in case a child needs to be taken to a doctor or to pick up a prescription.


Trinity Center has a full-time maintenance staff to take care of any problems guests have with the facilities. Tell a Sound to Sea Staff member about any maintenance issues as soon as possible so the maintenance staff can take care of in a timely manner.

Sound To Sea SAMPLE Schedules


The Sound to Sea Program has a number of different kinds of schedules to fit different groups' needs. Most of our groups come for three days and two nights. This is the recommended time frame for most groups. We also have a limited number of spaces for groups to come for a shorter two-day/one-night program. On a limited basis, we also have extended four-day/three-night, five-day/four-night or six-day/five-night programs for schools that are traveling long distances. You can click on any of the links below to look at typical schedules. Remember that these example schedules can be tailored to fit a specific groups needs. And remember that your school may not arrive or depart at the same time, or have the exact same schedule listed on these examples.


Three Day/Two Night Programming

For a Printer Friendly Version of this Example Schedule, click here

Example Day 1 Example Day 2 Example Day 3

SOUND TO SEA Welcomes:

?? Grade
*** Indicates Chaperone Coverage

7:15 Wake Up! ***
7:45 Waitrons
8:00 Breakfast
7:15 Wake Up!***
7:45 Waitrons
Please carry luggage to the Centrum on your way to…
8:00 Breakfast
  9:00 CLASSES
        Group 1-Sound/Salt Marsh, 2-Pond, 3-Dissection, 4-Challenge Course
        Group 1-Dissection, 2-Challenge Course, 3-Maritime Forest, 4-Dissection
12:00 Arrival
     Unload Busses
12:15 Waitrons
12:30 Lunch
10:15 Transition***
        Group 1-Beach, 2-Sound/Salt Marsh, 3-Pond, 4-Maritime Forest
10:00 Evaluations***
10:15 Closure***
10:30 Departure***
Cabin Move-in
Orientation Meetings
12:00 Transition***

12:15 Waitrons

12:30 Lunch



        Group 1-Challenge Course, 2-Dissection, 3-Beach, 4-Sound/Salt Marsh

3:00 Transition***

3:45 Transition***

        Group 1-Maritime Forest, 2-Beach, 3-Sound/Salt Marsh, 4-Pond

5:30 Transition***

        Group 1-Pond, 2-Maritime Forest, 3-Challenge Course, 4-Beach


Thank you from all of
us at Sound to Sea!
5:45 Waitrons

6:00 Dinner

6:45 Journal Writing***

5:45 Waitrons

6:00 Dinner

6:45 Journal Writing***

8:45 Snack
9:00 Good Night***
8:45 Snack
9:00 Good Night***