Quinta Mazatlán and the Valley Land Fund have teamed together to offer a free summer nature photo contest for kids 8 to 18 titled “Southern Exposures”. Families are encouraged to take their children outdoors for walks and photograph the beauty seen in the Rio Grande Valley.

Photos are to be submitted online by July 31 to www.valleylandfund.com-just click on “Youth Photo Contest” and follow the simple instructions. The free Awards Ceremony will take place at Quinta Mazatlán on August 31, 7 pm. Every youth entrant will receive a free t-shirt and have one photo featured in the multi-media finale to be shown outdoors on the large LED screen. The top winners will receive cash prizes for their summers work.

Children and teenagers benefit from experiences in nature more than any other population, particularly in the area of academic performance. A study by the American Institutes for Research demonstrated that students in outdoor science programs improved their science testing scores by 27 percent. There is a strong body of research confirming that direct contact with nature increases mental health and psychological and spiritual development. Benefits include stress reduction, a sense of coherence and belonging, improved self-confidence and self-discipline.

Outdoor settings beg for activity rather than passivity as the world is best explored on foot! Take your kids to a park this summer—and participate in the free youth nature photo contest —all will win! For more information on the Youth Nature Photo Contest, please visit www.quintamazatlan.com or call 956-681-3370.