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Picture This: Ambassador With a Camera

Teen uses photography and video to inspire peers about nature.

By Earl Nottingham

Natalie Davis is on a photographic mission — to inspire her generation to spend time in nature, one “Like” at a time. The 17-year-old student from New Braunfels is using photography as a tool to move her peers from the sedentary techno-lifestyle of computers and video games to the healthy properties of getting out into nature.

“I grew up being outside all the time, and eventually I realized that my childhood was not necessarily the norm in my community,” Natalie says. “Kids my age were spending more and more time inside watching TV and playing video games, and yet they were missing something. I believe a connection with nature, a true, deep connection, could help them in more ways than they ever imagined.”

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As a Texas State Park Youth Ambassador, Natalie Davis takes photos at state parks and shares them with friends.

As an official Texas State Park Youth Ambassador, Natalie uses her own photos and videos in popular social media sites such as Instagram, YouTube and Facebook to share her love of the outdoors (especially state parks) and to connect with not only her classmates but other teenagers and young adults throughout the country.

It’s a niche she feels is important considering the aging demographics of traditional outdoor enthusiasts.

Natalie thinks social networking is the best way to connect with the younger generation. “Photos can convey things that words will never be able to,” she says, “especially these days when photos and videos are what really speak to my peers through the Internet. Now my friends can see how much fun the outside really is.”

Using her digital SLR camera, Natalie produces short video and photographic journals of outings that she and her friends make to nearby state parks such as Guadalupe River and Enchanted Rock. To these videos and photos she adds upbeat music as well as some of her own thoughts to encourage to other youth to create their own outdoor adventures.

“We were meant to be here – in the woods, on the beach with the wind in our hair and a fire in our hearts,” Natalie explains.

The Texas State Park Youth Ambassador Program is part of the America’s State Parks Ambassador Program, a national youth-led movement to promote and support state parks. For information,
go to www.americasstateparks.org/About-Ambassadors.

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For more on TP&W magazine photography, go to our Photography page

 

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