About Lifetides Institute

Well worth the time, money and effort- we traveled over 3000 miles each way to attend. Well organized, effective teaching and very good accommodations. (and the food was outstanding!- of course we cooked it so what else would you expect me to say?)


If you like birding and want to experience the diverse coastal region of South Carolina, this is a program you will enjoy. The fact that the group was small added to the enjoyment, and the accommodations were comfortable and in a beautiful location.


The accommodations were great, a rental home overlooking salt marches to the east. Group meals were generous and served cafeteria style a short walk away in another building. During the four days we traveled by van to a variety of habitats along the coast. There was enough 'bird action'to keep us all occupied.


More smiles, less miles....unexpected adventures to be had around every bend....now I need to find fellow kayakers were I live. Everyone associated with this program was a beautiful soul. Accommodations superior . . . Check Food indescribable . . . Check Kayaking experiences/new skills to last a lifetime . . . Check Unexpected happenings . . . Check The weather for Nov. was exceptional, cool morning walks, warm sun out on the water....nice! Great Beginning Experience.


The leaders of this kayaking program have created a course that not only expands your kayaking abilities, but also a program that expands your mind about this beautiful, historic area of our country. We were exposed to food from the area, various types of water to paddle and thought provoking conversations regarding the Civil War. The program leaders, Jody and April, were outstanding in every way.


I learned so much in this program. Not only did I learn to be a better paddler, I learned a great deal about the history and culture of the low country. The scenery was beautiful, especially on the black water paddle. The leaders and presenters were very interesting and knowledgeable. All were warm and friendly. I would recommend this program both to the beginner paddler and the more experienced paddler. The leaders accommodated all skill levels.


Great leaders and great accommodations. Interesting trips by kayak every day with beautiful scenery. Small group to get to know everyone.


Low Country hospitality combined with great cuisine, above-average accommodations, and wonderful excursions make this a great program. Skilled instructors make paddling enjoyable for beginners and others who have tried the sport. The staff are welcoming, fun, enthusiastic and caring. This program's ability level is as advertised. It met and exceeded my expectations. Go paddle the Low Country! It's fun!


I learned more about kayaking on the first day of this experience than I did on all four of the previous roadscholar experiences, two of which were full time paddling and the other two part time paddling. Since all paddling was solo, there was no need to have another paddler compensating for weak skills. Having the opportunity to paddle several brands and lengths of kayaks was also good.


History, Mission and Vision, Community Service & Support to Veterans, and Governance

LifeTides Institute is a dedicated leader in lifelong learning and service situated in a unique and natural Lowcountry environment of the marshes along the Broad River—an extensive tidal channel that feeds directly into Port Royal Sound. Surrounded by over 750 acres of salt marshes, tidal creeks and the headwaters of the Broad River, the not-for-profit institute serves as an outdoor laboratory featuring unlimited access to the ecological, geological, and historical sites of the region. The Palm Key area is known for its peaceful setting and environment.


Founded in 2002 , the LifeTides Institute was established (originally named the Palm Key Institute) to provide lifelong learning opportunities for adults and children. LifeTides has collaborated with area counties, their school systems, the Boys and Girls Clubs; has organized festivals, arts and theater events and has educated explorers, weekend visitors, local community and school children and also veterans about environmental appreciation of the Lowcountry and its conservation and stewardship. The LifeTides Institute has created and implemented programs for the (historical) Elderhostel program, which today is known as the "Road Scholar" program, and continues to involve educational and exploration opportunities for adventure-oriented enthusiasts.

Mission and Vision

The LifeTides Institute serves the environmental, ecological, cultural, historical and other charitable and service needs and interests of the Low Country Region of South Carolina.

Our vision is to become a recognized regional leader in the efforts to preserve the unique and natural setting of the South Carolina Lowcountry, striving to set the highest standards for stewardship and protection though education of a broad segment of society and to support exploration and learning of this special environment.

Our mission is to provide educational programs ranging from young to old, to support the well-being of our programs’ members, and their families, to promote the environmental wonders of this region and learn about its challenges and cultural traditions. LifeTides uses its proceeds to support education and is working to acquire habitat to set aside for wildlife, ecosystem-based conservation, and to support local communities and causes.

Community Service & Support to Veterans

LifeTides has provided support to local community foodbanks, has provided dedicated clean-up events in selected waterways of the region through its Encore program (returning veteran Road Scholar participants). In 2014 it hosted a dedicated clean up in the town of Yemassee, SC. And LifeTides has developed programs to support veterans who suffer from Post-traumatic disorder, and brain injury and family reconnection following tours of duty.

Governance — How we operate

LifeTides Institute is a nonprofit organization registered in the state of South Carolina, recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) entity. It is governed by a board of Trustees having a broad range of interest in business, education, science and the arts.

The board members are:

Dr. John T. Herron, Board Chair - Scientist (retired), National Institute of Standards and Technology

Janis Schatz, Vice Chair - Owner Innovative Renovations, Daytona Beach, FL

Stephen Carter, AICP Founder and Global Strategic Development Officer

Beverly Bishop, Business Owner

Ronald Prast, OEM Account Manager, Greater Chicago Area

Gregg Jucha, Railroad Industry (retired)

Wally Bunker, Retired Baltimore Orioles

Andy Hooten, Owner and Principal of AJH, Environmental Services, Washington, DC

The planning and day-to-day operations of the Institute are managed by John Herron and Janis Schatz. Janis is responsible for initiating and managing LTI’s programs. LTI has no salaried staff; all service providers, including the managers, are compensated on a per-program basis.