This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic Voices blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world.
Photos by iLCP Senior Fellow Dave Showalter
iLCP has been working in partnership with the National Forest Foundation and U.S. Forest Service on their It’s All Yours campaign to promote recreation and encourage Americans to develop a deeper relationship with their National Forests.
As part of this campaign, people are encouraged to spend time outside; to Go.Play, Go.Discover, and Go.Beyond. The idea is simple: to help people connect with their National Forests and spend time in nature. These lands are vital but are so frequently underappreciated and this partnership and campaign is meant to bring the importance to light.
iLCP Senior Fellow Dave Showalter spent some time with one of the programming partners, Big City Mountaineers, an organization that engages youth with the outdoors in order to work on improving their self-esteem, sense of responsibility, and decision-making abilities. In this program, Dave, the staff, and 5 teenage boys were in Colorado, for a week-long wilderness adventure in the Flattops Wilderness.
The first two days, the boys were outfitted for their journey, set up a camp, and still had some time for games before everyone retired to their tents. The next day, the group headed for the trailhead and started their adventure. The group headed through a big burn area 5 miles up to Wall Lake; the walk was a grind for the kids but they pushed through.
Dave was only there the first few days, but he was able to get a good sense of the program. He stated,
“I’m impressed with the program and instructors… the program is great, and [is] needed to expose young people to the natural world.”
Big City Mountaineers values the importance of our National Forests and works to engage people with the lands from a young age. The organization embodies the mission of the It’s All Yours campaign and encourages young people to Go.Beyond.
To participate in the It’s All Yours campaign use their hashtags on social media! #ItsAllYours #GoBeyond #GoPlay #GoDiscover