Whether they were excited to hit a bullseye in archery or clay targets using shotguns, savoring the latest dutch oven cooking, finding their way with a compass or just laughing at dinner, the 80 or so women at the latest Discover Nature-Women workshop put on by the Missouri Department of Conservation had great fun learning new skills. Although I wasn't able to attend it this year, I did get to read the comments on the workshops and the overall experience. Here is just a sample of them:
"Great info, great hands-on practice and the instructors were excellent"
"Best part: overcoming my fears of guns with patient and understanding teachers. It was an empowering experience"
"I love that my tax dollars support this."
"I can't wait to share my knowledge with my 5 year old and the Clover Kids in my 4H Club."
Each year our agency puts on a June weekend workshop (Friday to Sunday) designed to give beginners a chance to experience a variety of outdoor skills. Throughout the year, Missouri Conservation staff also offer shorter Discover Nature-Women classes around the state. The program gives women a chance to learn to fish, shoot, camp or canoe in a relaxed, supportive setting. Some come alone, some with friends, and others with daughters age 14 or older. The Conservation Department also partners with the Missouri Botanical Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve to do a weekend Discover Nature-Women event. It has also been in late Spring.
After I attended my first similar workshop some years back, I finally felt comfortable buying the 20-gauge shotgun I'd always wanted (but had never shot until then). A little later I bought a bow for archery practice. Some of the women at the recent event noted they'd be getting their own fishing gear to join their husbands. Others had already met new friends at the course a year earlier and attended a pheasant hunt together.
So if you're tired of the usual routine and wish you could get outside and feel comfortable with a bow, fishing rod, shotgun, or camping gear, check out the Discover Nature-Women events coming up now and next year.
By: Lorna Domke