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Posted: 7/16/2009


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.

From July 19-22, 2009, the Udall Foundation will host its first ever Parks in Focus trip in Washington with a group of sixth and seventh graders from six clubhouses of the Boys & Girls Club of South Puget Sound. The trip will take them from the mountains to the rain forest and coasts of the Olympic National Park.

The participants will be accompanied by representatives from the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound. The Udall Foundation trip leader is Gillian Locascio, a 2007 Udall Scholar. Intern leaders on the trip include Rebecca Guiao, a 2007 and 2008 Udall Scholar, and Tamara Sevier, a 2008 Udall Scholar.

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 & 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 & Girls Clubs in Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, and Washington with plans to include more states, more parks, and more participants in the near future. Since the program’s inception, approximately 200 youth have completed the Parks in Focus program.

For additional information, contact Libby Washburn at 651.343.4660 or

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