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Day 3 at Corcovado National Park

Today we were going to hike to a cave with bats known to live there,  but we only made it about 8 miles total. We traveled through the hot, steep, sandy beaches; the thick dense jungle; and the wet muddy lowlands. On the way we encountered a ospray eating a freshly caught fish, and while we where watching the ospray, a 9 foot crocodile came swimming out of the backwaters and up onto a far beach. We decided to stalk the crocodile and ended up with some absolutely phenomenal pictures of him sunning – and a lucky shot of him as he spotted us and tore off down the beach into the water. Later, we encountered several migratory species of bird common to Wisconsin. It is amazing the journey that these tiny little creatures make. We also saw some incredibly brilliant colored macaws – getting some great shots of the resting and flying poses. The midday rest on the beach and swim in the ocean was greatly needed and deserved. All in all, today was fantastic and was a once in a lifetime experience. -Ethan

A message from Ethan

Day 2 at Corcavado National Park. Today we went off hiking at 3:45am! We hiked through the jungle, down to the ocean and watched the sun come up. The temperature is sweltering here, but when I was watching the sun come up and shine down on the ocean I was overwhelmed with the scene of peace and tranquility. Here it is care free and “enjoy everything as it comes,” not wishing that anything will change. This ecosystem is self-sustaining and so diverse – it is incredible. There is layer and layer of life all intertwined by the tiniest details; but if one of those tiny details is altered it could have a catastrophic ripple effect in the environment. This entire ecosystem is in perfect balance, which is something that I feel is almost non-existent these days. And surprisingly, human beings are part of that balance. It is all hanging together by individual threads, but together these threads are extremely strong. I personally am just stunned by the quality of life here and the joy and kindness that this amazing ecosystem bestows on all. -Ethan As of Friday evening, our intrepid explorers have photographed almost 100 species of animals: Great Tinamou Great Curassow Crested Guan Spotted Sandpiper Common Black Hawk Yellow Headed Caracara White Collared Swift Charming hummingbird White tipped dove Black throated trogan

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Fall Collection: Continuing In a New Light Photography at CAC

Hi! My name is Amanda Xiong, and I am the Expressive Arts Intern for the Child and Adolescent Center (CAC). At CAC, Northwest Passage’s clinical assessment center, I’ve had the great opportunity of mentoring and teaching photography with students ranging from ages 6-17. I graduated with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in Studio Arts from St. Catherine University. This allowed me to combine both of my passions: youth development and photography. My hope for this internship is to help youth build self-confidence by creating self-expression through photography. Students are placed in CAC for 30 days as a part of their treatment. During their time here, students are able to develop their photographic style and apply general photography techniques such as lighting, subjects, and the rule of thirds. Most importantly, they are allowed to capture a moment expressing their time in assessment and reflect on their journey or a memory, using photography and nature. Each student is unique and creative. They come from different backgrounds with different stories and are able to capture the beauty of Northwestern Wisconsin within their 30 days. Here are a few photographs from our fall collection. The Rusted Root, Daniel The root is the boot of Wisconsin’s past It’s what feeds that grass nutrients and helps produce cheese So, please listen hear and don’t

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It’s Magical, but it’s not Magic: Equine Assisted Interventions

by Angela Fredrickson, LCSW  |  Clinical Director I have been inexplicably fascinated by horses for as long as I can remember. By the age of 13, I had pestered my parents (who did not have much of their own experience with horses) enough that they purchased me my very own horse. This has lead to a life in which I have always been in the presence of horses. My horses have helped to lift me out of despair and have been the source of great joy for me. They have been with me at every turn and they have inspired my career path. I first witnessed horses helping humans in a planned and deliberate manner when I was 16 years old. I had the opportunity to observe a therapeutic riding session in which a tiny, vulnerable looking little girl was lifted from her wheelchair and onto the back of a horse.

The Northwoods Wildlife Safari Continues at Passage I

The winter of 2014 has gone into the record books, and our collective memory, as one of the coldest, snowiest and most indomitable in our  history. The young men at Northwest Passage 1 braved their way through many cold days to be rewarded with a vibrant and rich spring and summer full of stunning subjects and captivating light. Moreover,  they found inspirational moments  and opportunities for reflection. We hope you enjoy this insight into their experiences. Little Manitou Falls at Pattison State Park during spring runoff. Photograph By: RJ My Turtle Shell By D’Angelo My walls are up, no one can hurt me My shell is protection from those who desert me If I am bothered I tend to snap at others Otherwise, I am cool as night in summer I mind my own business walking and swimming slowly My shell at the ready if any danger is showing. Hi, my name is D’Angelo and I am 17 years old. I am from Jim Falls, Wisconsin. Photography was an extremely helpful coping skill for me. It was a way to express my emotions in a positive way.                                                                 By: RJ

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Beginning In a New Light: Photography at CAC

by Caroline Wood, Expressive Arts Intern This summer, I’ve had the privilege of working with the kids at CAC, Northwest Passage’s assessment center. Their ages range from 6-17, and they stay for a month in a residential assessment setting. As one of the Expressive Arts Interns, I go on photography expeditions with the kids twice a week and help them edit their photos. It’s been wonderful to get to know them as artists and people, and to see the ways that photography can impact their lives. In this post, I’m going to share some photos by the younger kids. I’m so inspired by their enthusiasm and originality. This photo is by Christian. I can tell he loves taking photos–he is always seeking out interesting things hidden under tree branches or behind bushes, and he captures things with such a unique perspective. Ernie found a green tomato in the garden and took a wonderful picture of it. When we were going through his photos, he said that he loved this photo but he wished that the tomato could be red…so I taught him how to use Photoshop to create a red tomato. He loved being able to edit the color of a specific part of the photo, and he was so proud of his “red” tomato. This photo is by Hunter.

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New Light under the Surface

Since In a New Light’s inception several years ago, the young men and women of Northwest Passage have spent literally thousands of hours exploring the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, the watery wilderness we’re so lucky to call our backyard. On foot and with paddles, the photographers have captured countless stunning images of the riverway’s landscape and wildlife, they’ve revealed this land’s ever changing textures, and they’ve helped us all understand our place within it.  Hundreds of thousands have seen their photos and read their reflections in exhibitions all around the country. Yet, an enormous piece of the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway’s story has remained untold. An essential dimension of its character has been hidden. Until now. Through a National Park Service Youth Partnership Program grant, the artists of In a New Light are now heading underwater in Northwest Passage’s newest program, New Light under the Surface. Armed with waterproof cameras, high-powered lights, wetsuits, snorkel gear, and more than a little grit, the young men of Northwest Passage II have spent the last few weeks trailblazing a new realm experienced by incredibly few. Initially delayed almost a month by spring’s unusually high, cold water, the young men are now making up for lost time, and are producing a flurry of astonishing images. We’re thrilled to partner with Dr. Toben

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Pictures into Words: The Girls of PIII Write Reflections

Foreheads scrunched, heads bent intently toward screens, eyes narrowed with determination, the girls of Northwest Passage III scrolled through hundreds of pictures taken during their photo excursion to Interstate Park in St. Croix Falls. As I walked among the girls, they pointed with pride at their favorite pictures and navigated photo shop with ease, working with the other expressive arts interns, Caroline and Marit, to crop and enhance their photos. I had been set the task of facilitating reflection writing. Each girl was to choose a photo that made her particularly proud and write the story of that photo—How did she feel when she caught sight of that colorful burst of flowers or of the vivid red cardinal against solemn piney branches? What was she feeling when she finally captured the perfect shot? What did the photo remind her of, in particular? Did she see some of herself in her subject? Never having worked one-on-one with the girls before, I was somewhat apprehensive. Writing, many students feel, is tedious, even daunting, work. A question that Ben Thwaits, creator of the In a New Light photography program, poses over and over to the his interns is “How do we unleash the expressive power of a medium?” He wants us to find ways to “demystify” different forms of creative communication. This includes

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Overcoming the Fear of Failure

By Marit Aaseng, Expressive Arts Intern This quote in the newly decorated intern office at the In a New Light gallery perfectly sums up one of the biggest challenges that artists face: the fear of failure. The arts involve breaking outside of what is expected, unleashing one’s imagination, and expressing deep emotion. Displaying your artistic work for the world to see puts yourself on display and invites criticism. What if the world doesn’t like what they see? What then? This question stops most people from reaching their full creative potential. They do what they think is expected in order to avoid judgement and failure. They keep their imaginations bottled up inside and they become their own harshest critics. They procrastinate. They convince themselves that they have no talent, that they are worthless, and that their ideas are stupid, unoriginal, or embarrassing. This internal fear of failure grows within people of all ages, backgrounds, and experiences. The girls of Northwest Passage III are no exception. I have worked with the young ladies at Passage over the last two months, and I have been awestruck by the talent within each of them. During their time in treatment, they develop unique styles of capturing natural beauty, mastering the tools of light, subject, and composition. They create emotionally compelling narratives behind their work, and add deep layers meaning to their art. Yet, like

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Intern Invasion: Introducing In a New Light’s First-ever Expressive Arts Interns

This summer, the In a New Light program is wading into some completely new territory. For the first time, Northwest Passage is playing host to four expressive arts interns from across the Midwest who are looking to be part of Northwest Passage’s inspiring project to promote hope and healing through nature photography. I am one of those interns. Over the course of the summer, we will be using the In a New Light blog to chronicle our experiences here at Northwest Passage. As young people completely new to the therapeutic arts field, we are uniquely positioned to share what we learn from this one-of-a-kind program, its participants, and the people who make it happen. Visit the In a New Light blog often to keep up to date on the In a New Light project and to see photos and writings from the kids themselves. Keep reading to learn a bit about each of the interns that will be writing this summer. “Hi, I’m Caroline! I am from Chicago, and I’ve spent the last four years in Northfield, Minnesota as a student at St. Olaf College. I majored in History and Studio Art, studied Russian, traveled to Italy and St. Petersburg, pursued my passion for photography, and discovered new interests in bookmaking, design, and teaching. My mission in life is to

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