My favorite thing about Parks in Focus was everything!
~Ty’Awna (age 12)
Parks in Focus recently wrapped up its first initiative in Oklahoma City with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County. Over the course of OKC’s fall break, 25 BGC youth (ages 10 to 14) had the opportunity to spend more than 70 hours exploring local parks and natural areas while using digital photography as an outlet for creative expression of their outdoor experiences.
The two-week program kicked off with a series of field trips to local sites including Route 66 Park, Martin Park Nature Center, Myriad Gardens, Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge and Roman Nose State Park. Highlights included interacting with skilled photographers from the OKC Metro Camera Club, canoeing at Roman Nose State Park and spotting numerous wildlife species just minutes outside the city. The participants also learned basic camping skills and got up-close-and-personal with some Oklahoma wildlife (courtesy of Critter Tails) during an overnight camp-in at the Boys & Girls Club.
The program culminated with a weekend camping trip to Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and Great Plains State Park where 15 enthusiastic participants braved strong winds and nighttime temperatures in the 20s to photograph iconic bison and playful prairie dogs. They also challenged their physical limits as they successfully hiked to the top of Elk Mountain for scenic views of the surrounding landscape and took beautiful sunset photos from the east shore of Tom Steed Lake.
Combined, the 25 participants spent over 1,200 hours outdoors and took nearly 10,000 photographs of their Oklahoma adventures. You may see some of their photo highlights on our Flickr page.
Huge thanks to the incredible staff and volunteers at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County, the OKC Metro Camera Club and the Boy Scouts New Horizons District Troop 523 for making this pilot initiative a huge success!