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A Walk on the Wild Side

August 20, 1995|LINDA FANTIN

A cool gust of wind greets Ashley Alexander and Natalia Tucker, both 15, as they step from the small propeller plane, still queasy from the bumpy ride. It's their first day of camp. They have earned their way here, this trip to Teton Science School in Kelly, Wyo., from their native Los Angeles because they have chosen to do well when others around them have chosen a more slippery path. And now Natalia, with her head of braids, Ashley and others from places like New York, Louisiana and Wisconsin, will spend two weeks hiking, canoeing, camping and studying ecology. It is a gift from cinematographer Beverly Johnson, given by her friend, filmmaker Mike Hoover. After the 1992 riots, Johnson wanted to do something for inner-city youths. Before she could, she died in the same helicopter crash that killed Disney President Frank G. Wells. So Hoover helped set up the Beverly Johnson Memorial Fund with help from people like Clint Eastwood and "Endless Summer" director Bruce Brown. The fund will pay for annual trips to Grand Teton National Park for successful kids--those achieving in a challenging environment. Kids like Ashley and Natalia.

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