WASHINGTON (April 19, 2011)—A group of 16 girls from Baltimore will have a unique opportunity to learn about rising sea levels and the environment of the Chesapeake Bay through photography during a National Geographic Photo Camp on Smith Island, Md., next month. From May 19 to 22, 12 seventh-graders from the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women and four high school girls from the Refugee Youth Project (RYP) will have the opportunity to tell the story of Smith Island from their own perspectives using the tools of photojournalism. The RYP high schoolers will be team leaders for the workshop.
This first all-girls National Geographic Photo Camp, entitled “Disappearing Islands,” is being held in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, whose mission is to Save the Bay, to restore its ecological riches and thereby its economic and cultural health.
During the four-day workshop, National Geographic photographer Dave Harp and Photo Camp staff will mentor the students as they expand their understanding of rising sea levels on Smith Island and other bay communities. Harp and camp staff will brief students on photographic vision, equipment and technique, and lead them through the process of creating a story through photography and writing. The assignments and activities will focus on the culture and environment of Smith Island and the Chesapeake Bay and the use of photography to capture the place and the students’ experience. Camp staff will help the students document these issues in a meaningful way.
“We hope Photo Camp Smith Island will provide these girls with a unique lens on the world and motivate them to care about the colossal impact that rising sea levels have on island communities,” said Terry Garcia, National Geographic’s executive vice president, Mission Programs. “This is in line with National Geographic’s mission to inspire people to care about the planet, and we are pleased to participate in this endeavor.”
Participants and the Smith Island community are invited to a final presentation of the students’ work on Sunday, May 22, at the Smith lsland fire hall in Tylerton, Md.
Harp, a contributing photographer to National Geographic and other publications, has been committed to documenting the effect of sea level rise on Smith Island and other bay communities for years. He has also published three books.
Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women is an all-girls school whose mission is to provide students with an education free from the gender stereotypes of society. The Refugee Youth Project is an after-school program run by Baltimore City Community College in conjunction with local refugee resettlement agencies. RYP seeks to enrich the lives of Baltimore refugees by supporting their academic needs and making their acculturation meaningful. National Geographic’s goal in combining girls from both these groups is to connect inner-city youth who may not otherwise have an opportunity to work and learn together.
Cameras for the Photo Camp have been provided by Olympus Imaging America Inc.
National Geographic Photo Camp has provided programs for more than 1,000 young people in over 50 locations since 2003. Photo Camps are also being held this year in the Channel Islands of California and in Philadelphia. Visit www.nationalgeographic.com/photocamp for more information.
About the National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 400 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; exhibitions; live events; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 9,600 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.