Tree’s com­pany: Ever­glades stu­dent photography project

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Society Scene - Palm Beach - - On The Scene -

More than 500 lo­cal adults and chil­dren vol­un­teered their time on Oc­to­ber 25 to help the Ever­glades at the Mar­shall Foun­da­tion’s Eigth an­nual Cy­press Har­vest & Stu­dent Photography Project last week­end.

The crowd, which in­cluded fam­i­lies, in­di­vid­u­als, scout troops and com­mu­nity groups, col­lected 175 pounds of cy­press seeds at the Arthur R. Mar­shall Lox­a­hatchee Na­tional Wildlife Refuge in Boyn­ton Beach. The seeds of the na­tive, wet­land tree will be ger­mi­nated into saplings at a lo­cal nurs­ery, and then planted to help re­store the Florida Ever­glades.

Vol­un­teers’ ef­forts were cap­tured on film by 60 stu­dents tak­ing part in the Mar­shall Foun­da­tion’s Stu­dent Photography Project. This unique project, held in con­junc­tion with the Cy­press Har­vest, aimed to ex­pose un­der­priv­i­leged youth to na­ture photography.

“The Har­vest is, by far, our most pop­u­lar out­door vol­un­teer event of the year and this is our best turnout ever. Peo­ple cer­tainly seem to be get­ting back in touch with na­ture,” ob­served Josette Kauf­man, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the non-profit Arthur R. Mar­shall Foun­da­tion. The Har­vest is held an­nu­ally and is com­pletely free of charge to par­tic­i­pants.

Also tak­ing place Satur­day was the Stu­dent Photography Project, which was spon­sored by a grant from the Palm Beach County Cul­tural Coun­cil. Par­tic­i­pat­ing chil­dren learned ba­sic pic­ture-tak­ing skills from ex­pe­ri­enced men­tors and then were al­lowed to pho­to­graph peo­ple and na­ture at the Cy­press Har­vest. One photo from each child will even­tu­ally be framed and ex­hib­ited at a va­ri­ety of lo­ca­tions through­out Palm Beach County.

“The goal of the Photography Project is to pro­vide young peo­ple with a pos­i­tive out­door ex­pe­ri­ence in the Ever­glades while teach­ing them the valu­able skill of na­ture photography. We’d like to help them learn to love the wet­land wilder­ness in their own back­yards,” said Kauf­man.

The stu­dents were re­cruited from lo­cal schools and af­ter-school pro­grams that qual­ity for “Ti­tle I” sta­tus, mean­ing more than half the chil­dren at­tend­ing are el­i­gi­ble to re­ceive free and re­duced-price lunches. They worked with dig­i­tal, film and video cam­eras.

Join Mar­shall Foun­da­tion for the River of Grass Gala on De­cem­ber 6, at The Ritz-Carl­ton, Palm Beach, for an el­e­gant cel­e­bra­tion of the Ever­glades fea­tur­ing din­ner, danc­ing, live and si­lent auc­tions and live en­ter­tain­ment.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.art­mar­shall.org.

Vol­un­teers of all ages got creative in their ef­forts to col­lect na­tive cy­press seeds.

Mar­shall Foun­da­tion Ad­vi­sory Board mem­ber Allen Tre­fry col­lects seeds from high atop a cy­press tree.

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