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Posted: 6/1/2009

Since 1999, Parks in Focus has been connecting underserved youth to nature through the art of photography. With the help of trained Udall Scholarship alumni leaders, the Morris K. Udall Foundation organizes week-long trips to introduce members of local Boys & Girls Clubs, many of whom have never before left their communities, to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the country. The Foundation provides digital cameras to the young participants to use and keep and teaches the basics of photography, ecology, and conservation while exploring national parks, wildlife refuges, and other public lands.

June 1-6 and 8-12, 2009, the Udall Foundation will host two Parks in Focus trips with two groups of 12 seventh graders from the Boys and Girls Club of Tucson (Holmes Tuttle, Steve Daru, Roy Drachman, Pascua Yaqui, Frank & Edith Morton, and Jim & Vicky Click Clubhouses). The trip will take them to Wupatki National Monument, Sunset Crater National Monument, Coconino National Forest, Slide Rock State Park, and Grand Canyon National Park. For many of the young participants it will be their first trip outside of Tucson.

The participants will be accompanied by representatives from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tucson. The Udall Foundation trip leaders are Robert Filbin (Trip One) and Meg Matthews (Trip Two), who are alumni of the Udall Foundation’s scholarship program and experienced Parks in Focus leaders.

The Udall Foundation was created by Congress to honor Morris K. Udall's 30 years of service in the U.S. House of Representatives (1961 to 1991). Udall was a leader in many policy areas, including natural resources and the environment, governmental reforms, and Native American issues. The Udall Foundation carries on his legacy through a number of programs, among them, education programs designed to foster a passion and commitment for the nation's natural resources in the next generation.

Parks in Focus is one such program; it speaks directly to the first objective of the Foundation's enabling legislation: "To increase the awareness of the importance of, and promote the benefit and enjoyment of, the nation's natural resources." The program began in Tucson with the Tucson Boys and Girls Clubs and often uses the Grand Canyon National Park as the setting for Parks in Focus trips.

The Foundation has since expanded and now supports programs with Boys and Girls Clubs in Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, and Washington with plans to include more states, more parks, and more participants. Since the program's inception, approximately 200 youth have completed the Parks in Focus program.

For additional information, contact Libby Washburn at 520.901.8506 or

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