DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY BRIDGE TO NATURE
The “Digital Photography Bridge to Nature" project will stimulate a lifelong
appreciation for wildlife and Minnesota’s outdoors for children by providing
hands-on nature photography experiences and subsequent enjoyment that they
can derive from using their own photos in an educational classroom context.
Eighty digital photography workshops will be carried out over a two year period
for elementary and middle school teachers (grades 3 through 9) at schools, state
parks, nature centers, and national wildlife refuges throughout Minnesota. At
these workshops teachers will learn how to plan “photo safaris” to outdoor sites
where children can experience nature photography with resident resource
managers, biologists, and volunteer photographers and conservationists.
The goal of these 80 workshops will be to reach 1000 teachers. They will
subsequently conduct “photo safaris” at their schools for an estimated 30,000
students with digital cameras provided by the project. The photos taken will be
used in the classroom to achieve learning outcomes associated with science,
math, art, language arts, physics, and engineering. These workshops will teach
ethics for wildlife photography, identify appropriate resource materials, teach
digital photo skills and identify desirable outdoor sites where nature photography
photo safaris can be conducted. These workshops will begin on July 10, 2010, at
Luverne, Minnesota, featuring National Geographic photographer Jim
Brandenburg as the keynote presenter.
Staffing for these workshops will be provided by two statewide coordinators (one
for the metro area and one for greater Minnesota) and nine workshop facilitators
who have expertise in education and nature photography. Two years of funding
for these positions ($160,000) has been allocated by the Legislative-Citizen’s
Commission on Minnesota Resources.
Project partners include the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources,
Watchable Wildlife Inc., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-National Wildlife Refuges,
Minnesota Master Naturalist Program, Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota
Extension Service and 4-H, White Earth Indian Band, and Minnesota Nature
Pivotal to the success of this project is creation of 30 photography learning kits
that will each contain 12 basic digital cameras, memory card readers, and wildlife
field guides. The Nongame Wildlife Program has purchased 550 Nikon S 550
cameras and created portable kits with cameras and field guides for teachers to
check out for a week at a time after they have participated in a workshop so they
can carry out photo safaris with their students.
As of November 4, 2010, we have carried out 27 Digital Photography Bridge to
Nature Workshops for 440 teachers, and the response by teachers has been