News and Announcements Archive

Parks in Focus Trip in Michigan


Posted: 8/15/2011

Starting August 10, the Stewart L. Udall Parks in Focus program will commemorate its fifth year of connecting Michigan youth to nature through photography by leading 14 middle school youth on a photographic exploration of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and other scenic sites in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Parks in Focus connects underserved youth to nature through the art of photography. The Udall Foundation not only provides digital cameras to the young participants to use and keep, but also trains program coordinators to execute active, weeklong, learning-intensive outings that explore national parks, wildlife refuges, and other public lands.

Dates: The trip will be held from August 10 - 15, 2011.

Participants: Fourteen middle school youth from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mecosta & Osceola Counties and TrueNorth Community Services Youth Programs (in Newaygo County) will be taught and guided by a team of trained Udall Foundation program coordinators. Program Coordinator Bret Muter, a 2005 Udall Foundation scholar, is guiding the Parks in Focus Michigan trip for the fifth year in a row.

Locations: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Seney National Wildlife Refuge.

Activities: Participants will get their hands and shoes dirty as they camp, hike, canoe, explore, and photograph Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Seney National Wildlife Refuge, and other scenic sites in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. They will learn about the history of the region, be introduced to the people who live and work within these areas, as well as the role of photography in shaping our National Parks system. All the while, cameras will be out, lenses will be focusing, and participants will be using photography to explore the world around them, interpret what they're seeing, and create the story they want to take back home through the images they capture.

The Michigan trip is being conducted in partnership with Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, North Country Trail Association, and REI of Ann Arbor.

The mission of the Stewart L. Udall Parks in Focus program is to connect underserved youth to nature through photography. For middle-school youth who rarely venture beyond their neighborhoods, Parks in Focus can open windows of story-telling and self-expression, it can spark a new interest in science and nature, and it can, ultimately, change lives. Tucson, Arizona, is home to the flagship program (and the Udall Foundation); though trips are run and community initiatives are being developed in additional states. In 2011, the Udall Foundation will support programs in California, Michigan, and Montana. To date, over 400 underserved youth have completed PIF with 175 expected to participate in 2011. Over 40 Michigan youth have completed PIF with 22+ more expected to participate in 2011.

For additional information about the Michigan program, contact Bret Muter at 989.284.0976 or bretm@udall.gov.


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