Sound Experience 


Sound Experience is an environmental and sustainability education organization that uniquely delivers its programs on the 133’ National Historic Landmark schooner Adventuress.  In 2013, Adventuress celebrates her Centennial.  As Puget Sound’s environmental tall ship, we reach some 3,000 area young people each year.  They climb aboard, raise the sails and take the helm, sailing as they did 100 years ago. Shipboard programs and enthusiastic educators inspire in students a greater understanding of the complexity of our marine ecological systems and a stronger commitment to stewardship of a healthy Sound. Aboard Adventuress on day or overnight programs, participants learn how their daily actions make a difference and why the future of our marine environment matters to all of us. 

Mission Statement
Sound Experience sails the historic schooner Adventuress to educate, inspire and empower an inclusive community to make a difference for the future of our marine environment.
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Sound Experience
PO Box 1390 
Port Townsend 
(360) 379-0438 

Catherine Collins 
Executive Director 


Sound Experience Programs

Sound Experience's core programs are day and overnight education offerings for children and teens, most of whom come to the program with schools and youth groups.  One of the organization's strategic goals is to "ensure delivery of impactful and measurable educational experiences. Guided by a board-led Education Committee, the organization's programs reflect current environmental issues such as ocean acidification and the emerging issue of microplastics in marine waterways.  Sound Experience curriculum aligns with Washington State EALRs and the Environmental and Sustainability Education Standards. The organization is continuing to follow the move to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards and is working to support the state's STEM efforts.

Sound Studies day programs are 3-to-5-hours programs and are designed to connect children and teens with the region's marine ecology. Sailing throughout Puget Sound, Adventuress delivers engaging learning activities in marine life, ocean acidification, watersheds, plankton, resource usage, as well as nautical skills and teamwork necessary to sail the historic ship. Students come away with a stronger understanding of the marine ecosystem and how they can influence the future health of Puget Sound.          

Sound Explorations programs are 3-to-6-day overnight experiences where students explore the marine environment and sustainability issues in greater depth and where the ship, as a closed system, becomes a metaphor for the planet. Young people experience regional wildlife and explore environmental sustainability, ocean acidification, water conservation, recycling and waste management. They also become an integral part of a working community as they care for the ship, the environment and each other.         

Free and affordable public programs such as free Dockside Tours, Public Sails and Festival Events are an important means for Sound Experience to educate residents of the Puget Sound watershed about their role in its cleanup and future health. Our enthusiastic shipboard educators share their knowledge, whether dockside or underway, about issues affecting the region's waterways and the collective result of human impact on marine mammals, fish, shorelines and ourselves. Sound Experience frequently partners with schools and youth organizations to reach young people who otherwise could not afford such experiences.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

In the past three years, Sound Experience has undertaken a massive multi-phase restoration of its National Historic Landmark ship, Adventuress, coinciding with her 100th year of active service in 2013.  The Adventuress Centennial Restoration Project is nearly complete with the final phase scheduled for winter 2013-14. The project's goal is to keep Adventuress sailing Puget Sound waters for the region's young people for at least the next 50 years. More than $800,000 in funding has been raised to date from private and public sources over the past four years for this important capital project. Funders include the National Park Service's Save America's Treasures, the National Trust for Historic Preservation/American Express' Partners in Preservation program and the WA State Heritage Capital Projects Fund, among major individual donors. Restoration has been completed on the port and starboard bow, the counter stern, and the lower frames and planking on the port side.  Sound Experience is presently raising $400,000 in private funding to complete the final phase of the Centennial Restoration Project which includes the lower frames and planking on the ship's starboard side.  

A current, and perhaps the greatest organizational challenge, is that the economic climate in recent years has reduced, and often eliminated altogether, school funding for experiences such as Sound Experience offers to enhance classroom learning and curricula.  In its 2012-2016 Strategic Plan, Sound Experience's leadership has recommitted the organization its environmental and sustainability education mission and roots, with a primary focus remaining on serving our region's youth.  It will therefore take a combination of enhanced fundraising (such as growing our Sponsor a School program for area companies), creating greater efficiencies in program delivery, and building effective partnerships that can reduce costs in order to continue to most effectively deliver powerful shipboard education programs to children and teens.  The 2012-2016 Strategic Plan is available upon request at


Sound Experience works as a Puget Sound-wide resource to inform and engage the public, and to inspire action toward a clean Puget Sound. Sound Experience’s vision is for its historic tall ship, Adventuress, to be an iconic symbol for a clean Puget Sound.

Use of Best Practices
The ship, Adventuress, serves as a model of a closed system, allowing students to monitor and make decisions about resources such and water and fuel resources, and to experience firsthand the impact humans have on natural resources.

Accessibility and Cultural Competency
To more effectively reach underserved and at-risk youth, Sound Experience offers day and overnight experiences, offering scholarship funding when necessary, including to youth-serving organizations such as Treehouse, Girl Scouts of Western Washington Outreach, Sierra Club Inner City Outings and New Futures.

In partnership with the Center for Wooden Boats, Sound Experience’s National Historic Landmark ship, Adventuress, was docked at Lake Union Park during their off season. The development of this public space has created more access to the public and gives the organization a chance to support the CWB goals during the months they are focusing on restoration.

Their first year of their new individual small donor campaign - 29 Dollars, 29 days - was a success. As part of it, they put a number to the amount of money it takes to send one child on one of their programs, $29, and can connect with donors through that incentive.
In 2012 Sound Experience will begin its new corporate team-building and education program. This is expected to be both a new source of revenue and an opportunity to encourage corporate leadership in sustainability issues in the Puget Sound region.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

3/10/2012 $6,500.00support general operating expenses.
3/10/2011 $5,000.00support general operating expenses.
3/10/2008 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.


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