It’s early spring. Small pockets of snow still hide in corners of the valley. A young girl crouches near the Ledges Overlook, examining a small pocket of bright green moss that caught her eye—a colorful spot in the slowly awakening landscape.
She holds a bulky camera in her gloved hands, fiddling with the settings. She points her lens at the moss, focuses… Click. The moment is captured, frozen in time within her camera.
Earlier this year, 150 students from Faircrest Memorial Middle School in Canton visited Cuyahoga Valley National Park to get hands-on photography experience, with the valley’s unique geology as their subject.
The students spent half their time in the park hiking the Ledges Trail to see its towering rock ledge formations. Education Center instructors led students among the 300-million-year old rocks and taught them how the Ritchie Ledges were formed by ancient seas, glaciers, and erosion.
The other half of their day was spent taking photos. Two professional photographers guided the children as they explored the Ledges, looking for unique rock layers, areas of erosion and deposition, and other scenic features. Later, after students had a chance to edit their work back at school, the photos were displayed at an art studio in downtown Canton and printed for future science classes to use at Faircrest Memorial.
“A lot of these students don’t usually get outside to any parks, much less a national park,” said the students’ art teacher Ms. Amy Eibel. The chance to get outside and take photos in Ohio’s national park was a first-time opportunity for many in the group.
The students’ trip to the Cuyahoga Valley tied together a popular creative pastime with concepts of earth science. The children had a chance to connect their studies with the real world—and experience the wonder of the park while doing it.
This program was led by the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center, which is co-managed by the Conservancy and the National Park Service and offers year-round day and overnight programming for Ohio youth. Learn more >