Parks in Focus provides opportunities for underserved middle school youth from the San Francisco Bay Area to learn about nature through photography. For many kids, a Parks in Focus trip is not only their first exposure to photography, but also their first visit to a national park — and even their first time hiking or camping.

This Conservancy-funded program provides immersive five-day expeditions for students from California youth organizations, such as Boys & Girls Clubs and the YMCA. During these summer camping trips, students meet with rangers and photographers, completed stewardship projects and discovered the park’s natural history. As they learn to use digital cameras to explore the environment, they develop a deep connection to their surroundings. The program culminates with a special exhibit of the students’ work at the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Valley.

By supporting Parks in Focus in 2016, your gifts helped kids see the natural world through a new lens and fall in love with the outdoors. Visit the Parks in Focus Flickr pool to see Yosemite photos taken by the 2016 participants!

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


Shauna Potocky

Director of Education and Youth Program

Project Notes

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.