California Kick-Off 2012!

In less than two weeks, Parks in Focus will kick off its third summer of programming in California, leading 12 outstanding middle schoolers from the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula to spectacular sites in America’s first government-protected natural space: Yosemite National Park. From July 16 to July 20, the group will connect to nature by using digital cameras to capture images of gigantic sequoias, towering waterfalls, dozens of types of wildflowers and whatever else brings inspiration.

Over the course of five days, Parks in Focus and NPS staff will teach skills influenced by the legacies of famous photographers and naturalists such as Ansel Adams and John Muir. Lessons will include nature photography, plant and animal identification, stargazing and more. The group will camp for the week at two different campsites in Yosemite, learning and practicing their camp-making skills such as cooking meals, setting up shelters and making fires. The group will also give back to the park by participating in an environmental stewardship project where they will help fight the spread of invasive plants. Participants will have the opportunity to become junior rangers and will be able to count themselves among the four million people (just one-tenth of one percent of the global population) who visit Yosemite each year.

After the trip, club members and their parents will reconnect with Parks in Focus staff to recap the trip and reminisce about it. Each member will receive his or her pictures to keep along with the camera they used during the trip so they can continue telling their Yosemite stories.

Parks in Focus: Yosemite is a collaboration of Youth in Yosemite, the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation, the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, and the Ansel Adams Gallery.

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