There will be a change of scenery for 12 Georgia youths as they go on a camping trip to public lands in Georgia – a first for many of them. The students, who will be armed with digital cameras, are participating in the Stewart L. Udall Parks in Focus program, which gives young environmental leaders (Udall scholarship alumni) the opportunity to pass their knowledge to children who might never have seen a national park or spent time exploring a wilderness area.
Parks in Focus connects underserved youth to nature through the art of photography by introducing local Boys & Girls Club members to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the country. The Udall Foundation not only provides digital cameras to the young participants to use and keep, but also trains trip leaders to execute active, week-long, learning-intensive outings that explore national parks, wildlife refuges, and other public lands.
The trip will take a total of 12 underserved youth from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta to Cumberland Island National Seashore, Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge, and Steven Foster State Park from June 14-18. This is the eleventh year that the Udall Foundation has hosted a Parks in Focus trip, but the first time it has run a trip in Georgia.
The Udall Foundation trip leaders are Bob Filbin, Udall Scholar 2004, Gillian Locascio, Udall Scholar 2007, Emily Baca, Udall Scholar 2009, and Ashley Dronenburg, Udall Scholar 2009. The participants also will be accompanied by representatives from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta.
The Udall Foundation was created initially to honor the legacy of the late Morris Udall, who represented Southern Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years. The late Stewart Udall, who also represented Southern Arizona in Congress from 1955 to 1961, was Morris Udall’s older brother. The two brothers were leaders in many policy areas, including natural resources and the environment and Native American issues. They worked together on many initiatives while Stewart Udall was Secretary of the Interior and Morris Udall a member of Congress. In 2009, Congress enacted legislation to honor Stewart Udall through the foundation, renaming it the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation.
The Udall Foundation carries on their legacies through a number of programs, among them, education programs designed to foster a passion and commitment for the nation’s natural resources in the next generation. Stewart L. Udall Parks in Focus is one such program; it speaks directly to the first objective of the Foundation’s enabling legislation: “To increase the awareness of the importance of, and promote the benefit and enjoyment of, the nation’s natural resources.” The program began in Arizona with the Tucson Boys & Girls Clubs but has since expanded to support trips with Boys & Girls Clubs in California, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, and Washington. Since the program’s inception, approximately 300 youth have completed the Parks in Focus program.
For additional information, contact Libby Washburn at 505.332.9079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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