6th Annual WOW Waterfowling March 19th, 2016.

March 19, 2016

Look at this stunning sunrise? Doesn’t that give you a hint of the beautiful day about to unfold at French Creek for WOW’s Annual Waterfowling Workshop? And a special day it was!
The 30 enthused WOWomen were ready to learn about shooting patterns and moving targets; about setting decoy patterns and wind effects;  about protocol in duck blinds; about successfully working with retrievers, and about safety and awareness in the blind and in the field.

And so they embarked on a day of new experiences and “aha” moments.  Laughter erupted as the women tried their first duck calls! There were unexpected moments (but with smiles) while cleaning ducks, when participants learned how and why you do that a certain way. And after that Field-to-Table session, tasting duck kabobs fresh off the grill brought the big picture of  hunting full circle. WDFW Biologist  Matt Wilson  showed the women the strong connection between conservation and duck hunting. He educated them on species identification, reasons for regulations and ongoing research and education statewide. The WOW, French Creek and WDFW instructors knew exactly what to teach and the results were insight, greater understanding, motivation and fun!

Thank you to French Creek for use of their amazing site, and to those who helped instruct, facilitate and welcome WOW’s future Waterfowlers!  Thanks to Conway Kennels for their dogs and training tips!

WOW’s 2015 Adult Weekend Workshop Matching Potential with Opportunity September 18-20, 2015

September 20, 2015

WOW’s signature weekend workshop was held at Camp Waskowitz in North Bend, WA. with 140+ on site. This workshop, 80% of the women participating were new to the WOW program. Sincere in their goal of functioning confidently in the outdoors, a ‘can do’ attitude best describes this year’s women! Their enthusiasm ignited anticipation and excitement and warm camaraderie grew from the first bonfire on Friday night! Eager to learn and willing to ply WOW’s traditional skill building, the participants delighted the WOW instructors with their positive attitudes and determination to learn. Included in the sixteen classes offered at this workshop, were three new additions: Bee Keeping, Duck Hunting 101, and Fire Building. This year, the participants’ curiosity about a skill transferred to spontaneous practice which instilled confidence and led to empowerment. We really did observe potential matching opportunity!
A Breakout Session led by Western Wildlife Outreach and the Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Enforcement Division highlighted interaction tips for living with bear and cougar.  A popular visitor was  Karelian Bear dog, Savute, with his handler WDFW Officer Chris Moszeter.
An added theme at this year’s workshop was the highlighting of Conservation groups, their important work, and the available opportunities for involvement. Featured deliveries were Audubon of Washington, Ducks Unlimited, National Wildlife Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, our Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington State Parks, Washington Wildlife Federation, Washington Trails Association, and the Washington Waterfowl Association.
A sincere thank you to our amazing 2015 Pinnacle Sponsors, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and REI, Inc., and  to the many generous donors of the WOW program.  An RMEF Scholarship grant  allowed 21 women to attend WOW who might otherwise have been unable to do so. REI  provided  headlamps, stuff bags and water bottles for attendees to incorporate into their weekend experience and adventures beyond….

WOW’s 17th Annual Weekend Workshop Mentoring the Next Generation September 12-14, 2014

September 14, 2014

In WOW’s 17th year, the ‘2014 Partnering Workshop’ was an inaugural event: a first in which mothers, grandmothers, female relatives and family friends could pair with 8-13 year old girls to promote and further outdoor family traditions. WOW’s vision was to mentor our younger generation and ignite an excitement for the outdoors by helping them gain confidence through hands-on experiences in informative, relevant and reassuring class settings. The goal to this end was to invite mothers and daughters to enjoy connecting with the outdoors and each other by attending this weekend outdoor skills workshop. Casting a fly on the river, cooking in Dutch Ovens, orienteering together through a course after map and compass instruction; discovering and understanding the wildlife signs on a spiked trail, making healing salves from our local plants, making survival shelters in the woods, shooting targets in archery, and learning about the why’s and how’s of hunting….are just some of the experiences WOW offered as we motivated participants to include wilderness and wildlife in their lives.
WOW’s hands-on experiential education meant survival shelters needed to be constructed, tents erected, make-believe wounds cleaned and bandaged, and knots tied – by hand !  These girls learned by doing and that sense of empowerment is priceless. We’d hear our motto throughout the weekend: “I did it. We did it!”  To get young people to root a real love of the outdoors into their lives, to offset the distractions of the digital world…can yield valuable dividends:  for their personal recreational opportunities and for support of conservation and wildlife issues in the future.
These workshop participants were a delight to teach! They were enthusiastically energetic in their approach to new skills; had very good with hand-eye coordination, and were great fun to watch as they experienced new accomplishments with new friends!
Special thanks to The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and to REI, Inc. for their incredible support of the 2014 WOW program: RMEF, for their generous scholarship funding and  REI  for their donation of backpacks and headlamps to make the girls’ workshop experience even more memorable!

WOW’s 5th Annual Waterfowling Workshop April 12, 2014

April 12, 2014

Once again the day dawned bright and clear at French Creek and WOW launched cheerful participants into the field for a day of shooting, placing decoys, and handling retrievers.  But beginning their day, Biologist Don Kraege of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department, presented a power point discussion of local duck species and their unique behavior and habitats; correct hunting etiquette and requirements; and Washington’s Waterfowling regulations.
The day’s group of future Waterfowlers ranged from complete novices to accomplished shooters. After a safety discussion and an example of shot patterning, women enthusiastically broke clays and amazed themselves with their capabilities. Moving targets are a challenge and most made contact and learned why their stance, awareness and timing made a difference. Patient instructors and many opportunities to shoot produced some special memories? Next, visiting a working blind used on the property, talking about protocol inside the blind and setting decoys yielded further understanding of the hunter-waterfowl connection. Moving on to Retrievers, women had the chance to see working dogs in action and then try their hand at over water guidance in the field. A  Labrador, a  Golden Retriever and an Irish Waterdog were the working dogs of the day and participants saw the value of partnership in the skill of waterfowling.  The final station was After the Catch which invited participants to clean a duck and discuss several ways hunters prepare waterfowl for the table.
The day concluded with three presentations: The first by Veterinarian Dr. Casey Kime  included tips for a First Aid bucket in your car; emergency moves for treating dogs in the field or after accidents, and many sensible tips for  safety and nutrition. Secondly, Don Kraege went over a ‘friendly’ test of information gleaned from the day and some surprise items from Cabelas went to happy participants! And finally, everyone gathered to taste the joys of the hunt – roast duck, duck kabobs, and summer sausage!
It was a fitting end to a wonderful and successful day at French Creek, whose generous hospitality made it all possible. Many thanks to the instructors and team who helped create the success!

WOW’s 16th Annual Weekend Workshop – Camp Waskowitz 2013

September 15, 2013

On September 13-15, 2013 over150 outdoor enthusiasts gathered at the Carl Jensen Environmental Education Center at Camp Waskowitz in North Bend, WA to learn or renew their choice of outdoor skills  and to share and celebrate their enjoyment of the outdoors.
WOW drew 122 participants from 75 different cities and towns in Washington and Oregon. 25 WOW volunteer instructors and a WOW Logistics Team of 13 coordinated the experiential education and the development of the event. In its 16th year, WOW is still providing this learning for women via hands-on application and practice in 18 different class offerings.  WOW continues to stay mission focused: traditional skill building that instills self-reliance, confidence and responsibility in the outdoors. At WOW weekend events,  fishing, hunting, shooting and archery techniques are always class offerings. These traditions are an integral part of our heritage and ones WOW will continue to pass on. Other outdoor skills – map and compass instruction,  backpacking fundamentals, survival education, herbal and wilderness first aid, cooking and preparing foraged food, wild meat and fish, medicinal plants for trailside emergencies – all of these relate to coping in the outdoors and fortifying a woman’s sense of being prepared to survive challenging situations.  Because of a 2013 grant from The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for this weekend workshop, WOW was able to award scholarships to interested women who otherwise would have been unable to experience the WOW program.
Especially motivating was a special presentation by Helen Thayer, a National Geographic explorer and bestselling New Zealand author who became the first woman to travel solo to the magnetic North Pole. Her example and her motto: A Goal without a Plan is just a Dream  served as valuable inspiration and a reminder of the ability and initiative within all of us…
Three new additions to the 2013 workshop line-up were a Challenge Course,  Soap Making 101, and a special break-out session by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Biologist Bruce Richards and his Karilian dog who assists in the capture of bear and cougar. Once again participant evaluations rated our line-up of instructors as outstanding. One women stated it’s “ the combination of skill-building and community !”  Another said ”Getting out of my comfort zone was empowering”; and another, “it was the experience of spending  all class sessions fully engaged.”
The workshop was a success on several levels but none more important than the women of WOW leaving with a renewed sense of confidence, motivation and investment in their potential…

WOW’s 4th Annual Waterfowling Workshop – March 23, 2013

March 23, 2013

Once again WOW’s Waterfowling workshop defied the wet Spring weather and March 23rd dawned clear, sunny and with only a slight breeze. By the afternoon waders and coats were shed and the blue skies facilitated excellent waterfowl identification! On site, participants from 13 different Washington cities joined six WOW instructors and five Ducks Unlimited (DU) instructors along with WOW’s Logistics Team to round out a perfect day of hands-on education!
First on the agenda was a power point presentation by Graham Peters, a Biologist with DU, on the history of duck hunting, its legalities, the conservation ethic and the beautiful variety of waterfowl we see here in the Northwest. He was assisted by Sara Peters, a Pacific Coast JV Biologist.  The shotgun station allowed a warm-up phase whereby women could get the feel of live firing a shotgun before stepping up to shoot moving clay targets. Decoys and Blinds dealt with proper protocol in a blind and for setting overwater decoys. At station #3 Labrador retrievers charmed everyone with their eagerness, ‘birdiness’ and stamina. Everyone visited actual duck blinds on the way to an adjacent lake to scare way several species of duck with novice calling!
 
The day ended with a ‘Hunt-to-Table’ session and a chance to pluck a cleaned Mallard and then, coming full circle,  to taste delicious Duck Kabobs a la Rory. WOW’s future duck hunters left with a bigger picture of Waterfowling, its ethics, its traditions and its techniques. With enthusiasm and  determination the WOWomen vowed to put their education into practice come Fall…

Celebrating 15 years of Washington Outdoor Women ! WOW’s September 2012 Weekend Workshop

September 1, 2012

In addition to celebrating 15 years of the WOW mission in action, this workshop was highlighted by 85% of this workshop’s participants being new to the WOW experience ! The intent of these women to make the experience personal created classes filled with enthusiasm, accomplishment and motivation.  Wet exits in kayaking, bandaging ears or paws on Emma or Bart, creating fire without matches, sore shoulders from  canoeing maneuvers, plaster casts of those cougar prints in Tracking, setting a fly on the Tolt River, building a shelter on their own, trying different tackle in Basic Fishing, making Bruise b Gone Salve, steadying that arrow to a bull’s eye in Archery, investigating gear ‘hands on’  in Big Game, tying a first ever Wooley Bugger, finally “getting it” in Map & Compass, learning those parts in Field-to-Freezer, finding out how delicious a meal in a cast iron pot can be, applying those digital tips in Outdoor Photography, mixing Calendula, Comfrey and Plantain in bees wax and olive oil to make their own Healing Salve, seeing how doing brings confidence in Backpacking, and being amazed by all of Washington’s wonderful wildlife – all of these added up to personal firsts that were enhanced by sunny warm weather.

Thanks to WOW”s outstanding instructors who facilitated all those personal firsts and to the 2012 WOW Team whose efforts made the workshop experience possible. ‘Matching Potential with Opportunity’ – 15 years and going strong….WOW !

WOW’s 17th Shotgun Workshop  ~  June 23, 2012

June 23, 2012

On June 23rd, 27 outdoor enthusiasts gathered at the Tacoma Sportsmen’s Club in Puyallup, WA to spend the day learning handling shotguns!.An enthusiastic class of 16 WOWomen, eight WOW instructors and four WOW team members made for an upbeat and eager group despite the unfavorable weather! Going through a morning of instruction on shotgun safety, gun parts and their function, ammunition, firing mishaps and their reasons, eye dominance, dry firing for awareness and process, the  correct stance for live firing, rules for safe shooting and range protocol – the 16 would be shooters were ready to apply their learning on the Trap line. They began with a balloon shoot to boost their confidence and call into play the combination of aspects for  shooting a shotgun correctly and successfully.  Through rain and wind, persistence won out and women hit clay targets. And with WOW instructors at their shoulders, each shooter assessed her body position, trigger-to-eye coordination, timing and follow-through after each shot. The afternoon was spent on the line, reinforcing what had been shared in the classroom. At day’s end, everyone cleaned shotguns as women recapped their experiences on the line.
Our thanks to the Tacoma Sportsmen’s Club for the donated use of their fine facility. Congratulations to WOW’s 17th  Shotgun class for a job well done… in Northwest weather!

WOW’s 3rd Annual Waterfowling Workshop — March 2012

March 24, 2012

On Saturday, March 24th, the morning dawned sunny and mild – with Mount Pilchuck as a beautiful backdrop over the ponds at French Creek. 35 duck hunting enthusiasts gathered for a day of insight, practice, and motivation.  French Creek, WOW and Ducks Unlimited instructors were joined by Trainer Pat Murphy of Northwest Performance Dogs to round out a stellar group of knowledgeable, in-the-field mentors. These instructors do what they teach and their enthusiasm is inviting and infectious. WOW participants completed five stations of learning:  1) Shotgun – which included a patterning board to display a shotgun’s target coverage and women shooting clay pigeons, 2) Decoys and Blinds which  had participants setting and retrieving  decoys over water and practicing proper blind protocol with open -action shotguns, 3) Working with Retrievers – a real treat to watch a trained, reliable Labrador happily find  and retrieve planted birds  as well as listening to training tips from an expert, 4) Trying one’s  skill with  a DU duck call while identifying sounds and species on Cripple Creek, and 5) cleaning a Mallard and learning tips for do’s and don’t’s.  The day ended with a wonderful tasting session of smoked duck and barbecued duck fresh off the grill! The students packed up their waders and headed home, determined to put into practice what they had learned. The day was enhanced by the generosity of French Creek’s hospitality, DU and ORVIS raffle items and the organization of the WOW Team. Perfect weather, a prime location, enthusiastic students and outstanding instructors – it doesn’t get any better than that!

WOW’s 14th Annual Fall Weekend Workshop — Sept. 2011

September 18, 2011

“Thinking Like an Outdoor Woman” best describes WOW’s 2011 participants at the annual weekend workshop September 16-18. These women – sincere in their goal  of functioning confidently in the outdoors – impressed WOW instructors with their hands-on determination to learn. With enthusiasm they practiced wet exits in Kayaking, no-match fire starting in Survival, paddled smartly on Lake Langlois, and were self starters with Dutch Ovens. They tied their own knots, got the 10 and 2 rhythm in fly fishing, made natural lip gloss, cooked wild foods, successfully maneuvered  a Map & Compass course and filleted a salmon. Archers hit the bull’s eye, would-be hunters talked preparation and strategy, and first time trackers found evidence of cougar.

The Saturday evening presentation by Survival instructor and clam enthusiast, Jill Eelkema, got everyone interested in visiting Washington’s clam beaches at low tide!  The Lost Art of Clam Digging showed the WOWomen how to identify, find, dig, clean and finally enjoy our wonderful Razor clams. Jill’s digital photography made all the difference in seeing the process and verifying how happy diggers use several ways of catching this elusive delicacy!

WOW offered 20 skills courses during the weekend but Sunday afternoon afforded time for two Breakout sessions. Back by popular request was Dr. Casey Kime and his very patient Rhodesian Ridgeback, Bart. Together they conducted another First Aid for Dogs on the Trail session. The American Red Cross generously shared instructor Bev Conrad who led a motivational session on Emergency Preparedness – a timely and important topic. Women recognized that many of the skills taught at WOW have a ‘carry-over application’ in emergency or disaster situations.

One surprise of the weekend was a presentation of the Governor’s Recognition Award to Director Ronni McGlenn. The framed certificate from Governor Chris Gregoire acknowledges WOW’s success in ‘equipping Washington’s women with outdoor skills and inspiring a renewed wonder in our state’s natural resources.’ The program, begun in 1998, continues to grow and reach women statewide.

Genuine interest marked women glad to be at WOW where curiosity about a skill invited actually attempting it.  This encouraged confidence and led to empowerment!  Tawanda!! Opportunity was matched with potential and hands-on practice was guided by WOW’s outstanding instructors!

We appreciate WOW’s 2011 Sponsors and the many workshop Donors and In-Kind givers who helped make this 14th year of the WOW program the best one yet!. Thank you to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) for its grant of 18 scholarships and to the US Fish and Wildlife Service for its grant of two more. The WOWomen of this workshop will be in the outdoors using and sharing their new skills with family and friends.  We are sure of it!

September 2005 Weekend Workshop, Camp Waskowitz

September 18, 2005

September 16-18 saw 115 women and 31 volunteer instructors participating in  the WWF/WOW 2005 Fall Workshop. The versatile site on the south fork of the Snoqualmie River provided miles of trails in old growth forest, shelters and classrooms for instruction, warm lodging, and rustic places for group gatherings: everything necessary for a wonderful weekend of outdoor skills instruction. Fly Fishing had an open field to practice dry land casting before setting a fly in the river. FFF provided 8 stations for fly tying novices to try their hand with a hackle. Survival, Wildlife Identification, Big Game Hunting/Wildlife Conservation, Map & Compass, Outdoor Photography, and Cooking with Wild Foods all used the outdoors for their classroom. Women paddled canoes on Rattlesnake Lake, cooked Dutch Oven meals, identified animal tracks, tasted wild game, and fired arrows. Field-to-Freezer students learned how to properly cut and wrap meat; Wilderness First Aid participants bandaged each other, and Birders constructed their own bird houses. The Growing Wild class put its new Backyard Wildlife Habitat concepts into place by re-planting the camp entrance with native vegetation to attract wildlife. The Basic Fishing class caught trout on Rattlesnake Lake after learning proper casting technique and bait tips. And After-the-Catch participants filleted salmon, cleaned crab, shucked oysters, and steamed clams. A new class in 2005, Cordage-making, wove lanyards from native vegetation and handmade a cedar pouch for needles or fishing flies. The entire workshop learned about first aid for dogs on the trail and personal self defense in the outdoors or when encountering bear or cougar. The camaraderie around the campfire created many new friendships. Resources provided by more than 50 clubs, agencies, and organizations showed beginners how to pursue any skill of their choice. WOW’s instructors, chosen for their knowledge, experience, and teaching style, do what they teach and they are the best! Many hold state rankings and certifications. All are passionate about the outdoor skill they teach, and willingly volunteer their time and experience to give women the opportunity to gain the confidence they need to approach and enjoy the outdoors.
A total of 18 skills were offered at WOW’s Fall workshop (Click on Course Descriptions to check out the variety).  
Plans are developing for other one day workshops throughout the year. Check this website for future selection and dates.

July 2005 Shotgun/Clay Targets Workshop, Renton Fish and Game Club

July 22, 2005

Wow hosted another of its one-day Shotgun workshops on July 23rd.  13 eager and enthusiastic shooters learned important gun handling safety and basic shotgun shills; practiced shooting clay targets, and learned how to clean their shotguns.
Eight WOW instructors – all NRA certified – and three support team members facilitated this outstanding day at the range.
Click here to view photos of the workshop.

September 2002 Weekend Workshop, Camp Waskowitz

September 1, 2002

Nearly 120 women attended this years weekend workshop at Camp Waskowitz along the beautiful banks of the Snoqualmie River. The 22 courses offered this year – the highest number yet – included After the Catch (preparing and cooking fish and shellfish), Archery (beginning and intermediate), Backpacking Basics, Big Game Hunting Basics, Birding, Cooking with Wild Foods, Dutch
Oven Cooking, Field to Freezer (cutting and wrapping game), Fishing (basic), Fly Fishing (beginning and intermediate), Fly Tying, Kayaking, Map & Compass (beginning and intermediate), Outdoor Photography (beginning and intermediate), Shotgun/Clay Targets, Survival Skills, Wild Edibles and Herbal Medicine, and Wildlife Identification.
WOW’s instructors are all experts in their fields and some hold state and national titles.

June 2002 Shotgun/Clay Targets Workshop, Renton Fish and Game Club

June 1, 2002

This one-day session focused on the basics of shotgun safety, handling and technique with several hours dedicated to shooting clay targets.
There is no other program in Western Washington dedicated to teaching outdoor skills to women that includes the three disciplines of hunting, fishing and shooting sports. WOW 2001 began its year with a one-day Shotgun/Clay target workshop at The Renton Gun Club in June.
Women were introduced to the basics of shotgun safety, handling, and technique. They had an opportunity for extensive target practice with over 3 hours dedicated to shooting Clays. WOW participants learned how to dismantle a shotgun and clean it properly. A short field exercise taught women to climb a log or fence; walk a trail with hikers in front and behind them and store and retrieve firearms from a vehicle- all while using safe handling procedures.
All equipment and ammunition were provided on site at the Gun Club. All instructors for WOW are WHEIA or NRA certified.

It was a fun and successful day for many who had little or no exposure to shotgun/clay targets. Participants from the workshop called it “excellent reinforcement of the classroom teaching”. 

WOW plans to hold future shooting workshops. The dates will be posted on this web site as they become known. The one-day, in-depth workshops are limited to a maximum of 10 participants due to our policy of one-to-one certified instructor per participating student.

September 2000 Summer Workshop, Camp Waskowitz near North Bend

September 1, 2000

The Summer Workshop included a full range of course offerings: a Challenge Course course, Map & Compass, Packing with Horses, Survival Skills, Archery, Shooting Sports, Big Game Hunting, Fly Fishing, Fly tying, Outdoor Photography, Backpacking, Birding, Personal Preparedness, Wildlife Identification, Wild Edibles/Wilderness Medicine, and Dutch Oven cooking.
 
Shooting sports were held offsite at Snoqualmie Valley Rifle Club in Fall City and Canoeing took place on Rattle Snake Lake. The outstanding setting, coupled with our usual fine weather in mid-September, provided the perfect context. 
In all, over 100 women participated, many of whom received special scholarships made available for the first time for qualifying participants.