2 events for youth will combine hiking and photography

2 events for youth will combine hiking and photography


Got kids, shoes and any kind of camera? Uplands Network of Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club invites families with teens and tweens to take two nature-photography hikes, Aug. 20 and Aug. 26. It’s the first in a series of events sponsored by Sierra Clubs in Indiana.

Hey, go play (and photograph and relax and observe) outside

Connecting people to nature — and getting people outside — is the organization’s general goal. The spaces they create are welcoming and inclusive, and they are always seeking diversity among participants.

Artists for Environmental Restoration members approached Sierra Club members about creating this art-hike project and have reserved a studio specifically for the follow-up, free workshop.

“I’m all about protecting nature through art,” said Marilyn Bauchat, volunteer leader and executive committee member of the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter, on the phone.

You’ll be in good hands, and it’s free

A certified Sierra Club leader will guide the 1.6-mile hike. Another certified leader will be the “sweep,” who follows the group.

“Keep ’em corralled,” said Sierra Club certified guide Mary Carol Reardon. “Guardians attend to be part of the experience and to comfort their kiddos.”

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Gotta get a guardian

The only rule is that all participating youth must attend with a guardian.

Before the hike, participants get a brief overview of the project and talk about what makes photographs fun to look at. The young photographers are urged to grab settings that grab them.

But “no selfies. Only nature shots,” Reardon said.

The idea is to be in the present, actually seeing, smelling and hearing the environment: insects, trees, the ground.  “Everything.”

This will be Reardon’s first artist-centered hike, as she normally leads environmental ones, her specialty being removing invasive plants.

It’s not over till it’s over, and that’s not until September

Then, in September, partnering artists open their studio for free follow-up art workshops.

As part of the state Hoosier Chapter of Sierra Club, this particular group leads local outings.

“Activities include regular outings and monthly meetings with topics of interest,” Bauchat said. Sierra Club members also work with more established environmental groups to protect and explore areas throughout the state.

Dena Hawes, a veteran of managing art workshops, will lead the September workshop, which she founded. The kids will meet to design artwork of what their cameras captured.

“In the past two years,” Hawes said, “we have conducted four art workshops for youth and held two youth field trips for students.”

Part of the fun is that the kids can ask questions of the professional artists.

A first for mixing cameras and conifers — plus a “freak out”

A student has a "freak out" moment while looking at crawfish during a 2022 educational youth workshop.

A student has a “freak out” moment while looking at crawfish during a 2022 educational youth workshop.

This will be Artists for Environmental Restoration’s first art hike/drawing workshop, so they don’t yet know if some of the youth will have forest-trepidation.

For instance, last year, the “Crawfish” part of Artists for Environmental Restoration’s youth workshops proved that some kids are fine with holding crustaceans including crawfish, water fleas and pill bugs, but not others.

No camera? They’ve got you covered

If youth don’t have a camera, Hawes and David David J. Emerson Young or Sierra Club hike facilitators will lend them one during the event.

David J. Emerson Young, left, shows kids his painting "Drowning Frogs" while talking to them about nature and art in a past educational youth workshop.

David J. Emerson Young, left, shows kids his painting “Drowning Frogs” while talking to them about nature and art in a past educational youth workshop.

Hawes and Young founded the nonprofit Artists for Environmental Restoration to start conversations. Environmental restoration is a movement that helps a disturbed environment recover.

The local group also comes up with ideas for specific actions for individuals and groups.

Hawes, a multimedia visual artist, has more than two decades of experience in professional research, administration, financial management, supervision and fundraising with domestic and international nonprofits, non-governmental agencies and universities. She has held leadership roles with six domestic and international nonprofits.

Her bachelor’s degree is from Indiana University, her MFA is from University of California, Santa Barbara, and she earned a master’s and doctoral degrees from the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, George Mason University, Arlington, Virginia.

Residents of these counties — Monroe, Morgan, Lawrence, Owen, Greene, and the western portion of Brown — are encouraged to participate by emailing [email protected]. Or see registration online at https://tinyurl.com/4us8k3uu.

If you go

WHAT: Two photography-and-art nature hikes, “Tweens & Teens Art Hike” with Sierra Club and Artists for Environmental Restoration.

WHEN: 9:30-11:30 a.m. Aug. 20 and 9:30-11:30 a.m. Aug 26.

WHERE: Meet in parking lot at Griffy Lake boathouse,  3400 N. Headley Road

MORE: Register at the Hoosier Chapter website, https://tinyurl.com/4us8k3uu, or email [email protected]. There is no cost for the event for youth ages 10-17. No unaccompanied minor will be allowed on the hike. Bring water and snacks. In case of heavy rain, the hikes will be canceled.

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Times: Hiking and photography events for youth bring art, nature together