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Falmouth nonprofit partners with local photographers to send Maine kids to summer camp

Gratitude for Maine, started by three Falmouth teens, sells items that feature their photos of Maine. Now local photographers have joined their mission.

PORTLAND, Maine — Two local photographers have partnered with the nonprofit organization Gratitude for Maine to help spread its mission of sending Maine kids to summer camp.

Gratitude for Maine was created by Emma Bowden, Elle Foley, and Sophia Turker, three teens from Falmouth who turned to photography during the pandemic. 

Their photographs of Maine are featured on notecards, calendars, and more. A portion of the proceeds is donated to the Susan L. Curtis Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping kids facing economic hardships thrive. 

Mike Berk and George Petkov, two Maine-based photographers, now have their work featured on notecard sets and calendars. 

Berk, who moved to Maine six years ago, said he started as a sports photographer but found himself drawn to the natural wonders of the world. He was contacted by Gratitude for Maine earlier this year and said as soon as he saw its mission he knew he wanted to be a part of it.

"Where I grew up there was a pretty good community of kids hanging out and around, so camp was never a big thing, but up here where things are a little more spread out you can definitely see how a kid who doesn't go to camp might feel a little isolated," Berk said. "We came up with a set of note cards with my images and we'll be doing more, but it was a great way to start and I'm really happy to be working with them."

George Petkov has traveled the world taking photographs. A photo of two plovers, taken in Maine, helped him win the title of Best Wildlife Photographer award from 35 Awards. He has known Turker since she was a baby and said he was more than happy to join Gratitude for Maine's cause.

"I'm so glad that I can contribute," he said."I know behind the smiling is a lot of work. All of the coordination and printing, shipping it takes an enormous amount of work.I just try to imagine the smile on the face of one of the kids that I helped to go to the summer camp. I don't know how many people they've helped but it's something priceless and very valuable."

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