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Art. Nature. Hope.

 In A New Light is a powerful therapeutic nature photography program at Northwest Passage. This program emphasizes skilled expressive arts training and nature immersion, ultimately empowering youth who are struggling with mental health issues to find beauty in the world that surrounds them, and in themselves.

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In 2014, instructors at Northwest Passage adapted their InaNewLight photography program by taking it underwater, and “Under the Surface” was born. They soon found that snorkeling with a camera was producing astonishing art, generating student-driven scientific inquiry, and above all, was positively impacting the mental health of the young residents. Due to its close proximity to Northwest Passages’ residential campuses, the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway is a regular destination for photography trips. Under the Surface provides a seamless integration of immersive experiences in nature with progressive, evidence-based mental health treatment. The resulting art has opened the eyes and hearts of thousands to the world that lies under the surface.

Under the Surface operates in partnership with the National Park Service and Dr. Toben LaFrancois of Northland College.

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Northwest Passage’s Artist-in-Residence (AiR) program offers youth who are struggling with mental health issues the opportunity for impactful artistic creation alongside world-class artists. Channeling the passion and insight of artistic mentors is one of the most efficient and effective means of providing transformative experiences for vulnerable youth, helping to redefine their potential, gain therapeutic personal insight, and instill a new sense of personal value and hope that carries with them throughout their lives.

During their time with Northwest Passage, the artists live, teach, and create art at Schaefer Cabin, a historic, beautiful, and secluded cabin on the Namekagon River in Burnett County. Schaefer Cabin has been fully restored to serve as a therapeutic artistic retreat through a partnership with the National Park Service. The artists lead workshops with Northwest Passage residents and create works of art that are displayed at the Northwest Passage Gallery in Webster, WI.

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Northwest Passage utilizes the EAGALA method of equine-assisted therapy and has an EAGALA-certified therapist on staff to work with all residential programs.

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For many, parks are places to find great opportunities for recreational, educational, and social activities. For some, parks are places where they can reflect, think, heal, and learn about themselves. The National Park Service encourages everyone to Find Your Park. Your park may provide just the right space to find yourself.

This video was created collaboratively by St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, a unit of the National Park System, and Northwest Passage, a non-profit mental health treatment organization for children, and produced by visiting interns Narud Obando and Andres Tencio, students at CEDES Don Bosco in San Jose, Costa Rica.

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Struggling with your mental health does not mean you are weak. Let’s stop the stigma.

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Watch as the kids of Northwest Passage bring the Jordan Buck to life and enjoy some fun at the Webster, WI July 4th parade.

The Jordan Buck costume was created in partnership with Chris Lutter, one of Northwest Passage’s Artists-in-Residence. The costume was modeled after the deer shot in 1914 by James Jordan along the Yellow River in Danbury. The Jordan Buck measured 206 ⅛ inches under the Boone and Crockett Club scoring system and was recognized in 1978 as the world record typical whitetail by the club. It held the top spot, arguably the most coveted big game trophy in the world, until 1993. The costume requires two people to bring it to life, one in the head and one in the rear.

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