All across North America (and sometimes in New Zealand) women attend workshops, classes and weekend camps that teach them new outdoors skills, methods of conservation, how to hunt and more in an atmosphere where there is no pressure on the women. The programs designed by state and private organizations are intended to encourage women to be more active in the outdoors.

Since the 1990s two separate prominent women’s outdoor programs have existed. One is an outreach program of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF). It is called “Women in the Outdoors”, and is one of three outreach programs by the NWTF that include youth and the disabled. The other is “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” or BOW that is usually sponsored by an individual state’s Department of Natural Resources.

Differences between the programs:

Becoming and Outdoors Woman | NWTF Women in the Outdoors

  • Since 1991 | Since 1998
  • Must be at least 18 years old | Must be at least 14 years old
  • Happens in over 40 states | Happens in all 50 states
  • Organizes international trips (Bahamas, Mexico, New Zealand) | Active in Canada as well
  • Fee per event | Participants pay once for a one- year NWTF membership to attend all events
  • The number of events are determined by individual state’s natural resources divisions | Currently host about 4,000 events annually

Both programs are designed to put women in a comfortable learning environment with other women. Hence, many times men are not encouraged to come, although both organizations make exceptions at certain events and also sometimes host couples’ events.

The workshops and events are designed to teach archery, shooting, hunting, kayaking, canoeing, outdoor survival, plant/vegetation identification, horseback riding, photograph and a huge number of other classes.

The youngest possible participant age varies between programs, but the age ranges of women that show up to events are vast. Many 30- to 40-year-olds attend, but even women in their 70s and 80s participate.

For more information and to find a “Becoming and Outdoors Woman” program in your area, go to the founding university’s website.

For more information and to find a “Women in the Outdoors” program in your area, go to the NWTF outreach site, Women in the Outdoors.

Photo: Nina Hale

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