I love the outdoors...camping, gardening, hiking, cooking wild game, and enjoying wildlife photography and wildlife in general. I don't hunt, nor do I fish very often...my super outdoorsman husband does plenty of that. This may be the fall that I actually go out in the blind with him...we'll see. I don't know if I can sit still that long!
But, does being an outdoors woman simply mean that you know how to hunt and fish? Although that might be a big part of it, to me being an outdoors woman means being semi-knowledgeable, at the very least, about a variety of outdoors skills, their challenges, nature's challenges and respecting it, and respecting the equipment. To me, you don't have to be an expert...just have a basic working knowledge, appreciation and enjoyment. It means taking the time and effort to learn...and having someone to teach you.
Sometimes it's nice to learn with other women who are in the same boat...and two great opportunities for women to do that exist right here in Iowa and other locations around the world.
So, grab your girlfriends, daughters, moms, or just come by yourself, explore the outdoors, learn new skills, do some networking of a different kind, and become a wild outdoor woman!
Becoming an Outdoors Woman
Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) is an international program. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources sponsors a BOW weekend in September. Anyone 18 years or older (it's geared towards women) can take advantage of this great chance to learn outdoor skills and activities, whether they've tried them before or are completely new to the experience, and they learn with people who are in the same mind set..."what is this, how do I do it, will I make a fool of myself?" (Okay, that last one is what would be going through MY mind.)
This year's Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop is September 20-22 at Springbrook State Park. Lodging is available in dormitories with eight-person rooms...it's not required, but that's part of the fun and camaraderie! The line-up of workshops over the course of the weekend includes Introduction to Firearms, Basic Shooting, Wild Edibles, Wild Game Cooking, Dutch Oven Cooking, Basic Motor Boat, Fly Fishing, River Fishing, Archery, Survival Skills, Geocaching, Bird Watching, Stand Up Paddling, and so much more. Of course, you HAVE to have a campfire at night, too! The first night includes an optional, relaxing 5k run/walk through the woods and around the lake...a great way to meet other participants and the instructors.
For more information on registration costs and deadlines for the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program in Iowa, visit www.iowadnr.gov/bow/index.html. There are BOW programs around the world and you can get more information on other locations at www.uwsp.edu/cnr-ap/bow/Pages/default.aspx.
Wild Women of the Woods
"As a naturalist, I have coordinated other several events in different counties. It is always a good time and women come back year after year. It truly is a comfortable learning atmosphere and a great place to meet new friends."
She says there will be free camping for the event, with bathrooms nearby and showers available at the campground. She says if you want to bring a camper or have electricity, that's okay...you'll camp in the main campground, but WILL have to pay for the campsite. You can also just do the Saturday event, if you're not able to stay Friday night.
Herring says they plan on having different session each year and if a session is really popular and fills fast this year, they will try to offer it again the following year. A diverse program will be offered for women of all different interests - this year's offerings include: Wild Edibles, Kayaking, Silk Painting, Fly Fishing, Archery, Nature Photography, "Leave no Trace", Tree Identification and Ecology Hike, Rock Climbing, Bike Maintenance, Nature Drawing, Fire Building, Yoga, and Fossil Hunting.
Since the sessions fill up on a first come, first serve basis, Herring encourages those interested to sign up as early as possible!
For more information and to register for Wild Women of the Woods, visit www.storycountyiowa.gov/index.aspx?NID=1040!