Road Scholar Programs

Road Scholar Program List

Many of our programs focus on local culture and history (1600-present day) or the ecology and biodiversity within a barrier island ecosystem. Biology, ecology, hurricane studies, birding, photography, coastal music, national parks and water quality are just a few topics we cover during these short and week long sessions. Some courses focus on one theme, others feature three course topics for a bit of variety. Each session includes hands-on exploration, on and off-site field trips, and lectures.



Exploring the Southern Outer Banks: North Carolina’s National Lands

We will begin by traveling to Fort Macon to study its role from the time of the Civil War until its last working days protecting the coast from German U-Boats during WWII. We will then visit the Croatan National Forest, one of the south's most important undisturbed sites of long leaf pine savannah and pocosin habitat, and maybe have the chance to see the Endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker. The Croatan Forest is also home to many species of carnivorous plants, and is the only known habitat for the Venus Fly Trap. We will examine the role of the lighthouses that protected ships from the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" on a field trip to Cape Lookout, site of one of NC's remaining working lighthouses. This trip will include a talk with a Cape Lookout Park Ranger, and a tour of the Keeper's House and Museum. After this trip, we will have lunch at a restaurant in Harker's Island, and then visit the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum (also on Harker's Island) dedicated to preserving the unique heritage of eastern North Carolina. We will also visit the Rachel Carson Research Reserve, part of the NC National Estuarine Research Reserve System. We will take a walk with the reserve's research coordinator and learn about the current research projects studying the dynamics of estuaries and long-term changes in water quality.

Birding on the Outer Banks: Coastal Forests and Island Sanctuaries

Participants will learn the finer points of bird identification and bird watching. Classes include bird biology, flight dynamics, and small-group ornithological studies. The program showcases our live birds of prey and their importance to the beach ecosystem.

The classes include small group bird walks, led by an instructor, on site. The walks may be difficult for persons with limited mobility. Golf carts will be available for those walks.

Water and the Wilds Intergenerational

Create priceless memories with your grandchild and enjoy hands-on learning amid the diverse habitats of a barrier island, as expert-led excursions introduce the unique adaptations of plants and animals living in both sound and sea. Onboard a research vessel, observe species trawled from waters supporting five species of sea turtles and nearly 100 species of fish and invertebrates. Any creatures you don't observe at sea are sure to be out and about when you visit the North Carolina Aquarium's 306,000-gallon Living Shipwreck exhibit. Get up close and personal with a coastal creature during a squid dissection, and enjoy evening sessions learning about birds of prey, practicing wilderness survival techniques and singing campfire songs. For grandparents and grandkids ages 9-12. Walking up to 2miles, some sandy gravel trails, low rolling dunes.

Historic Homes and Gardens of the North Carolina Coast

Explore the historic manors, mansions and manicured gardens of coastal North Carolina. With local experts, learn the state’s history and culture through its beautifully restored homes.


What to Bring

Appropriate apparel: The daytime average temperatures will range in the 65-85 degree mark with humidity levels reaching 60 percent or more. Be prepared for anything though, it can get much cooler or warmer depending on the season. Rain gear is always highly suggested. We have no need to dress up for any occasion, so leave your formal wear at home.

Wet shoes:Some programs at Trinity Center offer the opportunity to get your feet wet as part of class. Sneakers, aqua-socks or any close-toed shoes that are comfortable are great when exploring the beach and sound environments.

Good walking shoes: A lot of the classes offered at Trinity include walking tours and exploration, so good support on your feet is recommended.

Sunscreen, lip balm, and a hat: These things serve as great protection from the hot sun.

Insect Repellent

Camera and binoculars (Great for bird watching)

Beach towels and chairs (And a good book)