Women of the wild outside

Becoming an Outdoors Woman Workshop registration opens April 1

It’s back again this year and, based on the class list, the Becoming an Outdoors Woman Workshop promises to be bigger and better.


Organized by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, the workshop is aimed at adult women interested in getting their hands dirty to learn how to become savvy in the outdoors. The three-day course covers everything from fly fishing to kayaking, from how to hunt, shoot and dress a deer, to tips and tricks when hiking Juneau’s local trails.

Indeed, there’s a little bit for everyone.

This year’s event runs from Friday, May 17, to Sunday, May 19, at Echo Ranch, north of Juneau.

Already-planned events include evening programs on bear safety, a round robin to learn quick outdoor skills like building a fire in a soggy rainforest, how to pee in the woods, packing a kayak, tying boating and fishing knots, throwing rocks at small animals in case you are starving in the forest, and a campfire on the beach.

But that’s just Saturday evening.

Participants can personalize their outdoor education by signing up for a range of classes which are all taught by expert instructors, many from Juneau.

One of the new classes being offered this year is called “Day Hiking and Hiking Juneau Trails.” This class will go on a short hike, talk about what to take, how to stay safe, cabins on the Juneau trail system and how to reserve them, and how to start up those pesky cabin stoves.

The complete 2013 class list includes fly and spin fishing, Dutch oven cooking, fish-smoking, gravlax and pickling, kayaking, canoeing, filleting a fish, deer hunting, dressing and processing, crabbing, how to use a map and compass, GPS use, horseback riding, archery, chainsaw, survival, nature photography, day hiking and hiking Juneau’s local trails, wild edibles, wildlife viewing and tracking, taking kids outside, canning fish and meat, firearm safety, shotgun and rifle marksmanship.

Michele Elfers, a local participant and instructor in recent years, said these courses are really for everyone.

“Classes are geared towards beginners, so no experience is necessary.” she said. “They are focused on being hands-on, so participants can walk away and feel like they have the tools or skills to get outside and do it on their own. Class sizes are small, an average of eight students with two instructors, so there is plenty of one-on-one attention.”

In the end, she said the “focus is on fun and safety.”

The cost for the three-day workshop is $250, which includes meals, lodging and transportation from Juneau. Participants must be 18 years or older to participate.

Registration opens on Mondy, April 1 for this year’s event. Elfers said the workshop is often full by the middle of April, so she recommends signing up early.

To register, or for more information, call or email Sandy O’Brien at 465-6196 or sandy.obrien@alaska.gov.


Contact Outdoors editor Abby Lowell at abby.lowell@juneauempire.com.


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