Have you ever held a cockroach or eaten crickets? Gone rock climbing or seen an Ansel Adams exhibit? Or simply made sure to spend time outside every weekend? Since January, more than 60 youth from the Tucson Boys & Girls Clubs have logged over 5,400 “outside” hours doing all that and more through the Tucson Community Development Initiative.
The Tucson Community Development Initiative connects middle school youth from the Boys & Girls Club of Tucson to their local environment—“nature” in this case means Southern Arizona and the surrounding Sonoran Desert.
Digital cameras and the art of photography are used as tools to both help establish the connection between youth and nature, and to provide a medium in which each youth’s connection can live on beyond a single activity, outing, or trip.
The educational goals of the initiative are to:
- Provide a systems-based understanding of biodiversity in the Sonoran Desert
- Explore, identify, and learn how to document local flora and fauna
- Focus on desert adaptations and highlight findings via photography
- Introduce web of life and use cameras to recognize interdependence of living things
- Provide technical and creative photography skills to boost creative expression
- Teach basic functions and composition
- Capturing a mood or message
- Use photographs to tell stories
With the help of our supportive local partners and volunteers, more Tucson kids are being exposed to photography and environmental education in their local community with Parks in Focus than ever before!
Check out some highlights of the kids and by the kids below! More photos are available on Flickr.