Focus on nature is a school-based program that inspires young people to explore and appreciate nature through photography. Specifically the program seeks to:
- Foster in young people a genuine interest in and appreciation for nature as a key step in inspiring environmental stewardship.
- Deliver experiential learning opportunities for young people to acquire creative, technical and critical skills in photography, enabling them to use this medium as a tool for exploring their place in the world.
- Provide a creative, interdisciplinary tool that can be effectively integrated into the curriculum to engage students in learning.
- Enhance young people’s physical and emotional well-being by providing them with positive, meaningful experiences in the outdoors.
- Build confidence and a sense of achievement by giving young people opportunities to express their inherent creativity and share their artistic achievements with their peers and community.
Consisting of a series of photography workshops, field trips, critiques, and a final photography show the program has been effectively integrated into a variety of classroom settings, and adapted as a tool to complement curriculum teaching in a variety of disciplines including the visual arts, science and technology and language arts.
Community partners in the fields of photography, environmental education and social work have been involved both in the planning and implementation of the program through three pilot projects, and natural science act as mentors for students as they learn to use their cameras as creative tools for observing the world around them, and communicating their discoveries.
Focus on Nature is provided in collaboration with Guelph Arts Council, with the generous support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) and the Ontario Arts Council (OAC).
Grant money will support expansion of the program to over 25 schools, development of strategic directions for future viability, and the involvement of local artists in the planning and delivery of a new and improved program model. A huge thank you to OTF and OAC for supporting this initiative.