Our idea is a simple one: if we give today’s young people the tools to connect with and understand their natural world through fresh eyes-then by the time they become adults, we will have helped create an army of engaged, illuminated and effective world citizens. And hopefully – the love and knowledge and storytelling skills they develop during their experience with us, help them to become better earth ambassadors—able to rally for and protect what they love. Our goal is to get our students on the ground with real people and real issues and introduce to them the ways they can effectively portray and relay what they are seeing. By immersing ourselves in new cultures and new environments, we get personal and meaningful experiences with our subjects. We want our students to connect with their natural environment, the creatures and humans that use it, and to learn to tell the stories they find there.
Our tool of choice is the camera. Beyond the obvious goal of making pictures, some of the most powerful takeaways from travel and photography are organic. In the small group environment we offer, team building and working together come naturally; self-confidence flourishes with group edits, critiques and presentations; irrational fears of wildlife are dissolved and curiosity overcomes; collaboration materializes out of creating a group-oriented photographic storytelling plan and encouragement comes easy when everyone is helping each other get the shots they desire. Respect for nature becomes obvious, and pride is built on standing in front of peers, hearing the encouragement and flattery from a supportive audience. We have fun, we explore new cultures and lands, but we also work to create a narrative of what we’ve seen. Youth education is an area in constant need of new and engaging ways to connect students with learning–and in our opinion, there is no better way to experience the world than with a camera in a small group workshop environment focused specifically on new experiences, and how to tell those stories.