parks-everglades_web.pngMIAMI — Middle-school age kids enrolled in the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department’s “Fit2Play” Out-of-School program (south region) participated in an overnight campout and digital safari at Everglades National Park on Saturday, March 23, 2013, as part of the Department’s new ‘Focus on Parks’ program that aims to inspire local youth to connect to nature, history and culture through photography and other creative expressions.

This is the second group of kids to complete the six-week program which has included such experiences as a bike trip through Cape Florida State Park and a tour of the historical lighthouse, a boat trip down the Miami River, and a tour of the History Miami Museum.
The inaugural Focus on Parks session kicked off in January at Gwen Cherry Park in Liberty City.

Participants are provided digital cameras and photography instruction as well as round-trip transportation, food and beverages. The group displayed their photos at Goulds Park during a Gallery Night on Friday, April 5.

“Some of the children in our program have never traveled outside their own neighborhood, let alone seen the ocean or a forest,” said Miami-Dade County Parks Director Jack Kardys.

“By introducing photography to their outdoor experience we allow them to tell a visual story of their experiences and share it with other youth participants, as well as their families, friends, and the community.”

Miami-Dade County Parks operates the program in partnership with the National Park Service, the Florida Park Service and History Miami.

Other Program sponsors include and Whole Foods Market. Miami-Dade County Parks is supported by The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

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