North Country Trail to Host Youth Nature Photography Events

engaging youth on the north country national scenic trail

photo courtesy of Parks in Focus

We are always looking for ways to engage youth on the North Country National Scenic Trail. Whether it’s encouraging families to go on a hike together, helping schools develop programs to get students on the trail, or partnering with scouting groups — we love to see kids on the trail! It’s a bonus when we can help instill a love of the outdoors AND provide opportunities to expand a child’s creativity.

child taking photo on the trail

photo courtesy of Parks in Focus

We are excited to announce that Calhoun County, The City of Battle Creek, The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, The YMCA, The Boys and Girls Club, Parks In Focus, the North Country Trail Association, and the National Park Service (NPS) are sponsoring four events to introduce youths to local parks, nature and digital photography.  These events will be held at the Ott Preserve on August 3; Kimball Pines on August 5; Battle Creek Linear Park on August 18; and Fort Custer State Recreation Area on August 20.

Led by partners, agency staff and volunteers from the Chief Noonday Chapter of the North Country Trail Association, approximately 80 area youths will be hiking on the North Country Trail and other local trails observing plants and wildlife and taking digital pictures.  “Parks In Focus” will then select the best pictures for display in a local gallery or other public space during most of September.

Students learn to use cameras with parks in focus.

Students learning to use their cameras. Photo courtesy of Parks in Focus.

North Country Trail Superintendent Mark Weaver initiated this project as part of the NPS Find Your Park and Centennial campaigns.   “This event fits in perfectly with the National Park theme of Find Your Park,” said Weaver. “This is an excellent opportunity to engage kids with the outdoors, get some fresh air, gain a new skill and become familiarized with the local public lands.  We hope to encourage all the kids to come back again and again with their friends and family. Every visit will be a new and exciting experience.”

The public will be notified by social media and a news release of the location and dates for viewing an exhibit of the best prints of the kid’s photographs. We are excited to host these youth nature photography events on the trail.

How do you help youth engage with the North Country Trail or the greater outdoors? We’d love to hear your stories. Share in the comments below or e-mail

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