Students find therapy in underwater photography

UW therapy

In 2010, teacher Ben Thwaits started the In A New Light nature photography program at Northwest Passage. The beauty of this story is that Northwest Passage is no ordinary school, it is a treatment program for young people battling mental illness, and the nature photography he teaches is not your average backyard nature photography, it is underwater photography.

The program is based in Frederic, Wisconsin and students have started taking their underwater photography to Lake Superior, the St. Croix River and even the Caribbean. The project has received funding from Wisconsin Sea Grant, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation.

This is what one of the students had to say about her new found skills: “I came to Passage struggling to see the good in myself. My depression and anxiety overtook me, which led me to become a threat to my own life. When I first started underwater photography, it was almost instant relief. Every time I put my face in the water, all of my worries washed away.

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