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I’ll be better when I can get under the water…

Today the girls of Northwest Passage stopped into the In a New Light Gallery (where our kids’ stunning photography is displayed) to prepare for their third week underwater. I asked one of our girls how she was doing. She looked down at her feet and pondered her response for a moment. When she looked up, she made my day and she said, “I’ll be better when I can get under the water.” Here is a peek at their latest adventures under the surface; enjoy! “I’ll be better when I can get under the water.”

Passage boys’ latest adventures

The boys at Northwest Passage reviewed the photos from their most recent trip to Crex Meadows Wildlife Area and Shell Lake, and the results are great! Garrett captures two Lilly pad flowers at Shell Lake. Cooper discovers a bumble bee collecting nectar and pollen from a flower in order to make honey. Andre finds a family of Canadian geese swimming at Shell Lake. Holden sees a deer running through the water at Crex Meadows.

A reflection on love and hate

LoveHate I gave you everything I had, I risked everything for you to not get killed by my Dad. I kept it 100 with you, But all you did was play me for a fool. You always told me I was your baby girl & you’d love me to the very end, But now I just want to forget the entire world.   I forgive you, But I can’t forget…it hurts I really LoveHate you.   You were such a disgrace always leaving black and blue, I tried to play it cool, But I think everyone knew it was you. In the end, you always said that you were sorry and you’d never do it again, I believed you, But it was never to end.   I forgive you, But I can’t forget…it hurts I really LoveHate you.   When I needed you to lend a hand, You’d said to let ya know. But you weren’t there. I tried to leave and I couldn’t stand when you wouldn’t let me go. My name is Monnee and I’m 16 years old, I am here at Northwest Passage to work on many things. This picture reminded me a lot about a past relationship. I picture myself as the leaf and the raindrops as many things that bothered me such as the abuse

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The doctors are in… the barn!

Come rain or shine, the kids of Northwest Passage really enjoy their time with our most lovable staff; the equine therapy horses. Our Passage kids get to engage in all sorts of unique ways to express themselves and work through their feelings; from the arts to physical activity, we strive to give every kid an opportunity to heal. A program favorite is the opportunity to interact with these majestic beauties, two horses and a pony, through our equine assisted psychotherapy lead by Angela Fredrickson, LCSW and Shannon Brice, LCSW. Angela is a certified mental health and equine specialist through the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association or EAGALA. Our talented staff use metaphorical devices and purpose filled activities with the kids and horses, to allow kids to connect with their feelings. To learn more about the work we do with equine therapy check out an article we wrote last year: It’s magical, but it’s not magic.

Safety First! Underwater photography training for the ladies of Northwest Passage

This spring, Northwest Passage sought to bring our underwater photography programming to our girls intensive residential treatment center, Prairieview (formerly Passage III). Thanks to an ambitious Kickstarter campaign and its 84 backers, it is happening right now! The campaign raised $14,392 to bring this project to life and aims to bring the healing qualities of time spent in the water to the kids as a part of their journey towards better mental health. It also got the attention of some pretty cool people. Celine Cousteau, the documentarian and grandaughter of famed explorer Jacque Cousteau, made reference to the healing power of nature and an appeal for support of our project. And Wallace Nichols, author of Blue Mind, a book that helped inspire the project’s creation, also chimed in with support of our work. It was amazing to see people from around the country contribute to our programming and we can’t wait to see the photos the girls come up with this summer. Watch as the ladies of Northwest Passage hop into the pool to learn to use their flippers,  goggles, and snorkels!

Feelings, turtles, bees, and flowers!

The girls at Prairieview got to go outside and spend some healing time in nature today. “Mindful Excitement” This is an experience you want to live to see.  Have you ever seen something so exciting, But so mindful? This flower is working, but all you see is stillness.  There is much more to this flower than what you are seeing.  Be Mindful yourself, and you just may see that this flower has a little MOVE to it. “Pink Beauty” My Name is Monnee Ne’Wese Haack and I am here at NWP to work on the things that will make me healthier and happier. When I needed protection, You were there. When I needed love, You were there. When I needed an escape. You were there.   But you didn’t help, You harmed. And you didn’t love, You lied. And you weren’t an escape, You were an addiction.   And now I am learning to help myself, Love myself, And escape into my own soul. And I will fight you, And I will win. “Minding its own BEEsiness” I love spring. I love seeing everything turn green, and the snow melt away. I love the blossoms on trees and bushes. Being able to “bee” outside with only a sweatshirt comforts me. It’s warm. It’s nice. Lots of people dislike when the weather

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Sharp-tailed grouse dance in the Namekagon Barrens

Sharp-tailed Grouse dance in the Namekagon Barrens By Ian Karl, Northwest Passage Experiential Programming Coordinator Sharp-Tailed Grouse, with their mottled dusky feathers and signature short pointed tails, once populated a vast swath of North America. They could be seen from Alaska to New Mexico and they dominated the pine barrens of North Western Wisconsin. Through years of extreme habitat change, the population of Sharp-Tailed Grouse in Wisconsin was severely impacted. In recent years however, conservation efforts of organizations such as the Wisconsin Sharp-tailed Grouse Society and Friends of the Namekagon Barrens Wilderness Area (FNBWA) have begun to restore the population of these magnificent birds in their native habitat. Once a year, for a few short weeks, the males display their stunning purple and gold accented breeding plumage and perform a truly breathtaking dance in a courtship ritual to win the favor of the hens. In late April Northwest Passage was presented with an unprecedented opportunity by the FNBWA for one of our residents to view and document this fleeting event to share with the world. Weston, one of our star photographers from Passage I, joined Seth Pearson, Northwest Passage Creative Arts Teacher, for a very early morning in one of the FNBWA’s viewing blinds “lek” (courtship dance location) in the pine barrens of the Namekagon River, part of the St. Croix National

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An Interview with Sam Thayer

An Interview with Sam Thayer By Ian Karl and Garrett with assistance from Holden, Photographs by Weston and Dylan The young men at Passage I spent an afternoon on the Ice Age Trail with best-selling author and national expert on wild edibles, Sam Thayer . The day with Sam was the third in a series of community member interviews Passage I is undertaking, to meet with outdoors experts from our region who are passionate about regional wild foods. Northwest Passage Program Coordinator, Ian Karl, worked with residents, Garrett and Holden, to conduct the interview. Sam became interested in Wild Edibles at a very young age. He said that he grew up with a lot of siblings and food around the house wasn’t necessarily that abundant and his parents weren’t real interested in cooking. “Eating mostly cereal, I was always hungry and looking for something better to eat.” At four years old he got tired of it and decided to start taking matters in to his own hands. That is where his passion started. As, “necessity is the mother of invention;” the cards we are dealt in our youth, when properly played, can lead to successful careers. This was just the case for Sam. His childhood interests led to a hobby which led to years of research and study and ultimately authoring two of the

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