The Parks in Focus program, which celebrated its 10th year of Yosemite programming in 2019, helps middle school students from underserved communities 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. During summer trips in Yosemite, participants meet with rangers and photographers, complete stewardship projects and explore their surroundings with digital cameras.

In 2019, with your support, Parks in Focus provided programming for more than 30 students from three Bay Area youth organizations: Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, Real Options for City Kids (ROCK), and Sequoia YMCA. After participating in introductory field trips to parks near their home communities, the students headed to Yosemite for five days of hiking, learning, fun and photography. As part of their Yosemite experiences, the students gained firsthand experience with environmental stewardship by completing habitat restoration projects in the Valley.

In addition to coordinating immersive experiences for the 2019 students, the Parks in Focus team showcased participants’ work in exhibits within and beyond the park, including at The Ansel Adams Gallery, the Children’s Creativity Museum, San Francisco International Airport and the Palo Alto Art Center. The team also hosted an inaugural two-day training workshop to share the proven Parks in Focus curriculum with staff and volunteers from the National Park Service and partner organizations.

Your support helped kids see the natural world through a new lens and fall in love with the outdoors.

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

Bret Muter

Program Manager, Parks in Focus

Project Notes

Parks in Focus encourages participants to use photography as a tool for environmental learning and as an outlet for creative expression.