Parks in Focus: Youth Explore Nature through Photography – 2017

Yosemite's Parks in Focus program lets underserved San Francisco Bay Area middle-school youth learn about nature through photography. Photo: Udall Foundation.

The Parks in Focus program, which has expanded in Yosemite thanks to Conservancy donors, lets underserved San Francisco Bay Area middle-school youth discover public lands and learn about nature through photography.

For many kids, a Parks in Focus trip is their first time hiking, camping or visiting a national park. After an initial introduction to the outdoors through activities in local parks, participants head to Yosemite for a five-day summer camping trip. They meet with rangers and photographers, complete stewardship projects and explore their surroundings with digital cameras.

In 2017, Parks in Focus provided programming for students from three Bay Area youth organizations. The students spent nearly a week in Yosemite; helped out with stewardship projects, such as improving pollinator habitat and  removing invasive plants; and took more than 12,000 photos, some of which were showcased in exhibits at The Ansel Adams Gallery, the Palo Alto Art Center, and San Francisco International Airport.

Your support helped kids see the natural world through a new lens and fall in love with the outdoors. Read our "Growing Heroes" blog post for a look at a special day from the 2017 Parks in Focus season.

Completed in partnership with Yosemite National Park, Udall Foundation and The Ansel Adams Gallery.

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Project Notes
Underserved youth learn about nature through photography in Yosemite.

Parks in Focus targets diverse, at-risk middle school youth, a group that is typically underrepresented in park visitation, and provides substantive experiences that inspire future visitation and stewardship. More than 95% of past participants expressed interest in continuing to visit national parks in the future; 90% said they were more interested in nature than before Parks in Focus; and 100% indicated they had learned how to take better care, and would continue to take photos, of nature.

Shauna Potocky
Director of Education and Youth Program
Yosemite National Park