Contact us Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm at 715-327-4402

Prairieview at the Birkebeiner!


Six young ladies from Prairieview traveled north and braved the bone-chilling rain to volunteer and capture some special moments of the skiers as they traverse the trail in their final miles.

The 43rd American Birkebeiner took place over the past weekend and Northwest Passage was there to capture the action. The young ladies of Prairieview volunteered at the Gravel Pit Aid Station with helping hands. They passed out water, energy drinks, and snacks to the racers. Some of the fastest cross country skiers in the world were on hand along with dedicated citizen racers from around the country. The girls from Prairieview not only volunteered but captured the excitement and emotion of the ski marathon with their cameras.

Under the Surface showing in Cable

An exhibit featuring the New Light Under the Surface photographs was recently held at the Cable Natural History Museum. Several of the kids got the chance to showcase their talents and gain some well-deserved pats on the back.

The girls each showed off photographs they had taken under the surface and gave moving speeches about their underwater experience.

See other underwater photos on the online gallery at: New Light Under the Surface.

Underwater photography’s second year is up and running

What’s that sound you hear? It is the collective sigh from a group of therapists, project coordinators, and most importantly kids, in northwestern Wisconsin. We’re all breathing sighs of relief because our second year of underwater photography programming, New Light: Under the Surface, is up and running after a month of training and practice.

Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, a warm spring, and a little flexibility from everyone, we’ve been able to get our kids out and into the water four weeks in a row, where much healing and adventure takes place.

Follow us from safety training to critter finding below:

Week One: Safety Training

Week Two: Testing the Waters

Week Three: Getting the Hang of Things – Girls & Boys!

Week Four: Rainy Day Adventures

We’re devoted to providing our kids with a wide range of experiential therapy opportunities and underwater photography is just one of the many things our kids get to do while here. Check out all that we’re up to on our Facebook page or follow our blog to learn more.

Help expand our programming with Kickstarter

Help expand our underwater photography programming by supporting our Kickstarter campaign today. To donate visit our project, Under the Surface.

Last summer, we did an experiment. After four years of being awed by the astonishing strength and artistry of the youth in our In a New Light therapeutic nature photography program, we decided to venture under the surface.  Funded by a National Park Service grant, our intrepid teens created a stunning and unprecedented collection of underwater photos of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.  But even more importantly, the water brought out a level of skill, passion, and resilience that blew everyone away.  The “New Light Under the Surface” experiment worked.

This year,  we need your help to expand the world’s first and only therapeutic underwater photography program to accomplish the following goals:

1.  Double the number of youth doing underwater photography by expanding our programming to the Northwest Passage girls’ facility.

2. Expand our expeditions to build image collections of our region’s beautiful lake ecosystems, including Lake Superior and its watershed.

3. Publish a hardcover coffee table book of images to share with the world.

We’d be honored if you’d join us in this mission.

Watch the video and learn more by visiting our project today!

Ice Cave Adventures

“Ice Caves Go Viral” by Kaitlyn

As fleeting as they are iconic, the ice caves of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are considered an endangered national park experience.  With spring around the corner, the ice caves will soon be a memory, with no guarantee of their accessibility in winters to come. But the young women of Northwest Passage Prairieview (previously known as Northwest Passage III) are among the lucky ones.  Braving the biting cold of a couple weeks ago, they trekked across the big lake to experience–and capture–these elusive cathedrals.  Enjoy their photos below.


"Fingers" by Abby

“Fingers” by Abby

Untitled by Talise

Untitled by Talise

"Icicles Right On You" by Kaitlyn

“Icicles Right On You” by Kaitlyn

Untitled by Cody

Untitled by Cody

"People GALORE!!!" by Courtney

“People GALORE!!!” by Courtney

Untitled by Kiera

Untitled by Kiera


Racing Bikes on Snow?!?

“Intensity” by Margaret Ann


It’s true. The sport of Fat Biking has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. Athletes float across the snow on bikes with over sized frames and tires expressly designed for that purpose. The young women of Northwest Passage Prairieview (previously known as Northwest Passage III) captured images of racers at the Solstice Chase, the inaugural race of the Great Lakes Fat Bike Race Series. CyclovaXC, a local ski and bike shop and good friend of Northwest Passage hosted the event and invited us to be there to enjoy and document it. The Race took place at Big Rock Creek Retreat north of St Croix Falls, WI. It was a very exciting day and a first for all of us from Northwest Passage (myself included).  Racers role modeled camaraderie, perseverance, and a sense of humor in the face of challenging and chilly conditions. We hope you enjoy the photos!

-Ian Karl, NWP In a New Light Counselor


"Call of the Wild" by Abby

“Call of the Wild” by Abby

"Determination" by Talise

“Determination” by Talise

"Ghosts of the Past" by Abby

“Ghosts of the Past” by Abby

"If You Stop Smiling You'll Only Cry," by Talise

“If You Stop Smiling You’ll Only Cry,” by Talise

"Exhilaration" by Margaret Ann

“Exhilaration” by Margaret Ann

NOW AVAILABLE – In a New Light : The Art and Nature of Healing

In a New Light : The Art and Nature of Healing follows the youth of Northwest Passage, a mental health residential treatment center for children and teens, on their journey of hope and healing.

This new book is a beautiful photographic account of expeditions to six national parks, including Badlands, Yellowstone, Apostle Islands, Rocky Mountain, Isle Royale, and St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The photographs tell a story not just of the beauty of America’s natural places, but also the story of youth finding renewed hope in their lives.

To celebrate, the In a New Light Gallery will be hosting a Book Release and Signing Open House on December 18th, from 1:00PM – 6:00PM. Several of the young In a New Light Photographers will be in attendance to sign copies of books – which are available for 25% off during the open house. The book can also be purchased online.


Order your copy of the book HERE

please note you will be redirected to an external site.
In a New Light is conducted in partnership with the National Park Service, and is funded through a grant from the National Park Foundation. The new book is funded through the popular crowd source funding website, Kickstarter. 

Introducing Dooskaabi

Dancing – by Cody, 17


In June, 2013, Northwest Passage launched its newest photography project, Dooskaabi. Centered at our Hayward Group Home, Northwest Oasis,  Dooskaabi aims to empower Native American youth to tell the story of the natural and culture landscape of their community, with a special focus on the Lac Courte Orielles Reservation. The project blends training in nature photography and photojournalism, and connects youth with leaders in their community. “Dooskaabi” is the Ojibwe translation of “open eyes.”  We hope this small sample of photos opens your eyes, and know that there are many more to come. Enjoy!


Ordinary and Beautiful, by Jack, 17

Ordinary and Beautiful, by Jack, 17

“When I look at these leaves, it makes me wonder how something so simple and ordinary can be also be so beautiful.   Maybe nothing is ordinary.”

A Simple Bug, by Aaron, 17

A Simple Bug, by Aaron, 17

“A simple bug, no more than a basic form of life.  Yet at the same time, keeps going on day and night.”

Beautiful Bug, by Jack, 17

Beautiful Bug, by Jack, 17

“This bug is beautiful, even though it was as small as an ant. Nobody really notices something like this on a leaf. When you take the time to pay attention you can see the natural beauty in all things.”

"Eagle in Flight," by Brent, 16

“Eagle in Flight,” by Brent, 16

This is a beautiful sculpture at the LCO Ojibwe Veteran’s Memorial.

Run Away, by Cody, 17

Run Away, by Cody, 17

“Run away from your problems.  But when you look back they’ll still be in front of you.  When you look forward they stay behind.”

Beautiful, by Trent, 16

Beautiful, by Timmy, 16

“When you look out over the lake, the sun looks very graceful.”

Youthful Flower, by Aaron, 17

Youthful Flower, by Aaron, 17

“A youthful flower at its prime.  Of course, like all life’s things, it will die, but the earth will remember it through the tunnels of time.”

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