Last summer, we did an experiment. After four years of being awed by the astonishing strength and artistry of the youth in our In a New Light therapeutic nature photography program, we decided to venture under the surface. Funded by a National Park Service grant, our intrepid teens created a stunning and unprecedented collection of underwater photos of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. But even more importantly, the water brought out a level of skill, passion, and resilience that blew everyone away. The "New Light Under the Surface" experiment worked.
This year, we need your help to expand the world's first and only therapeutic underwater photography program to accomplish the following goals:
1. Double the number of youth doing underwater photography by expanding our programming to the Northwest Passage girls' facility.
2. Expand our expeditions to build image collections of our region's beautiful lake ecosystems, including Lake Superior and its watershed.
3. Publish a hardcover coffee table book of images to share with the world.
We'd be honored if you'd join us in this mission.
About New Light Under the Surface
This beautiful article published in the current issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine sums up the program well:
ARTICLE: "Finding Hope under the Surface," by Laura Proescholdt
This project will take place at Northwest Passage, a non-profit residential mental health facility for youth ages 12-17. Located in the Wisconsin Northwoods, Northwest Passage emphasizes nature-based therapeutic programming. Its In a New Light therapeutic nature photography program has been featured in dozens of exhibitions around the United States, as well as in the media, including this Emmy-award winning piece by Wisconsin Public Television:
There's no other programming like it anywhere. New Light Under the Surface is accomplished in partnership with Northland College ecologist and research diver Dr. Toben LaFrancois.
Why do we need your help?
We strive to help our kids find their voice, to empower them to rewrite their narratives through a lens of hope and strength. In turn, these young artist-adventurers are rewriting society's narrative of what it means to struggle with mental health, and the roles of nature, water, and creativity in healing. In the process of revealing an underwater world seldom seen, the young artists reveal their own rich, inspiring stories for us. They deserve the right tools and platforms to express their talent as powerfully as possible.
Durable, quality equipment and high quality publishing are expensive. Your contributions will enable us to get great gear and publish a beautiful book of underwater images.
Risks and challenges
A complex project like this is rife with potential hurdles. The upside is that we've already accomplished one season of underwater photography programming AND we've already published a book. We know where all the pitfalls lie. We were very fortunate last year to not have even one safety incident. However, keeping all of our kids safe will always be our top challenge and concern. Dr. LaFrancois is a certified rescue diver, and will lead all underwater excursions. Few in the world have higher levels of training and experience in underwater safety, and Dr. Lafrancois conducts in-depth safety trainings for all kids and staff. We also typically have as close as possible to a 1:1 staff to student ratio. This not only ensures safety of all the participants, but also facilitates ideal conditions for mentoring. In terms of producing the end products, we have been producing photos and books for the past five years, and have the experience to overcome nearly any production hurdle that may emerge. We operate out of the In a New Light Gallery in Webster, WI (a space solely dedicated to showcasing our youths' work) in which we are accustomed to high volume fulfillment, and are continuously building capacity.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (27 days)