Picture Your World

Youth Photography Program

Since 2002, Green Spaces Alliance has connected children to nature through the camera lens with the Picture Your World Youth Photography Program.
Picture Your World provides a unique opportunity for youth and their families to share the experience of nature up close and personal. The program brings families and under-served schools to both new and familiar natural areas, forming partnerships with other conservation entities. As a strategic outdoor education program, Picture Your World actively connects children with their natural environment, teaches them about the nature around them, while endowing them with the tools, photography instruction and art concepts necessary to engage their imagination and express themselves creatively.

“The workshop taught me many things about photography and how it’s important to be outdoors because you discover new and interesting things.”       –  Alex L. 5th grader

The Program is designed for youth ages 8-18 and has three main components:  Sunday afternoon, Weekend Workshops, Title 1 Elementary Program and a spring city-wide Nature Photography Competition.  Programming for the workshops and competition follow the September through May school calendar to better represent the needs of our youth audience.

“When the kids are out on the trails or in the meadow or even just around the Visitor Center looking for subjects, angles and objects they are ENGAGED. Curious, excited, attentive…they are actually hunting for stuff EVERYwhere they go. They’re looking around and discovering. THEY drive the adventure. As I see it, PYW is a natural wellspring for young people’s energy and curiosity, and let’s face it…it’s pretty fun too!”  – John H. Koepke Peace Officer/Interpreter/Volunteers, Government Canyon State Natural Area

Studies show that children who spend time in nature are happier, healthier, and smarter.  Picture Your World addresses the intellectual, creative, and emotional needs of a diverse youth population by restoring their relationship with Texas’s rich natural environment.

1st Place_Keira Oakeson, Hill Country Elementary

1st Place – Keira Oakeson, Hill Country Elementary

The weekend workshops teach photographic composition and technique through hands-on demonstration and constructive critique. Participants will produce a visual memory of their day and begin a creative portfolio while experiencing the wonders of the natural environment. Each workshop is led by the Picture Your World Program Manager, Carra Garza, along with a professional photographer, and a Master Naturalist.

Weekend Photography Program:

  • Open to youth ages 8-18.
  • Held once a month on a Sunday from 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm, September through April.
  • Digital camera provided upon request.
  • Workshops led by Program Coordinator, Photographer, Master Naturalist
  • Format: power point photography lesson (25 min.), Hike through natural area and photography, feedback and critique.
  • Fees: $20.00 per workshop. Scholarships and waivers routinely given for requests in writing.
  • Parents and siblings welcome.

Register for workshops in our events section (see sidebar), or download and mail in the registration form with payment.

Each workshop is led by the Picture Your World Program Manager, Carra Garza, along with a professional photographer, and a Master Naturalist.

  • Services 5th grade students from select Title 1 Elementary Schools
  • Program offered to students in both the fall and spring at two different natural areas.
  • Students are bused from to and from their school to the location.
  • Workshops led by Program Coordinator, Photographer, Master Naturalist(s)
  • Digital cameras provided to participants (up to 28 youth participants per workshop).
  • Format: Introduction, photography Lesson (15 min.), Cameras assigned and operation demonstrated, hike and photography through natural area, lunch, supplemental art or science activity, photography critique and feedback (5 cameras), dismiss.

  • Open to all youth ages 8-18. (Prior participation in Picture Your World weekend or elementary program is not required.)
  • Applicants can submit up to 3 images on an entry form. $20.00 per entry form. Entry form waivers are routinely given for requests in writing.
  • Juried competition awards cash prizes in two age categories: 8-12; and 13-18. Twelve Honorable Mention awards given in each category.
  • Awards ceremony is held in the Spring. All participants and their families are invited. Awards and prizes are handed out at that time.
  • Winning photographs are displayed throughout the summer at REI, San Antonio in their community room and Phil Hardberger Park Urban Ecology Center in the Fall.

Winners ages 8-12:

Winners ages 13-18:

All of the 2018 Picture Your World Youth Photography Competition winners are displayed our Facebook page.

More about Picture Your World


For more information, contact Carra Garza, Picture Your World Program Manager:  (210) 222-8430.

  • Picture Your World at Confluence Park
    • November 18, 2018
      1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    Located near the convergence of the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek, Confluence Park is a destination for learning and recreation, inspiring visitors while teaching environmental science and sustainability. Come explore where art and science meet. Confluence Park is a living example of the promise of our river and what the future will be if we act as stewards of our river and all of our water sources

  • Picture Your World at Comanche Lookout Park
    • January 13, 2019
      1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    Adjacent to the Semmes Library, Comanche Lookout Park is a 96-acre public park owned by the City of San Antonio. The site includes the fourth highest point in Bexar County with an elevation of 1,340 feet. Native Americans used this hill as a vantage point for warfare and hunting. Meeting location is the Semmes Library,

  • Picture Your World at Hardberger Park Urban Ecology Center
    • February 10, 2019
      1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    The Phil Hardberger Park Urban Ecology Center, the city's first public nature center, contributes to a wealth of knowledge about our environment and the interaction of plants, animals and humans with each other in urban settings.

  • Picture Your World at Acequia Park
    • March 3, 2019
      1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    Acequia Park is located on the on the east side of the San Antonio River, between Mission San Jose' and Mission San Juan Capistrano. The origins of the park date back to Spanish missionaries who worked with mission Indians to create a water system sourced by the San Antonio River.

Picture Your World Events