2020 Snowshoe Workshops

January 21, 2020

We had a couple of incredible days in the snow this January! Cheers to our intrepid winter adventurers that made it through wintery road conditions to trailheads at Blewett Pass (Jan. 11) and Snoqualmie Pass (Jan. 18)! We broke new trail, lost count of the the number of snowshoe hare tracks we saw, learned how to lessen risk when planning winter routes and outdoor activities, and delighted in all of the people recreating the in the snowy outdoors.

It was so much fun! I learned a LOT, too! – 2020 Snowshoe Participant

2019 Fall Weekend Workshop

September 23, 2019

WOW! What a weekend! Thank you to each participant that ventured out with us to Manastash Cayon for our 22nd annual Fall Weekend Workshop. We had an incredible time outdoors exploring Lazy F Camp and Retreat Center, learning new skills, and building up a community of empowered women for nature. We couldn’t have done it without our dedicated volunteer Instructors and Team, our partners at the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, and immense scholarship and resource support from the Washington Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, along with so many others, including REI!

There are still so many opportunities to learn new things and WOW offers the opportunity to learn new things in a safe environment. I am already out a lot in the outdoors but these classes continue to confirm that outdoors is the place to be. – 2019 Fall Workshop Participant

2019 Shotgun

September 23, 2019

For the first time in a long time, WOW offered an Introduction to Shotgun workshop in June 2019. Students left inspired to continue on their shotgun journey, armed with new knowledge that will keep them and others safe, their firearms clean, and their follow-through improving! For some, this was the first step in their journey to become a hunter. Others were excited to simply learn a new skill, become more comfortable around firearms, and take up the sport of trap and skeet shooting!

The first time I hit a clay during the workshop, I knew I was hooked on skeet and trap shooting, and it empowered me to consider turkey hunting. – 2019 Shotgun Participant

2019 Pre-WOW

June 11, 2019

WOW is proud to be part of a movement to cultivate the next generation of strong outdoor women. At Pre-WOW girls (8-13) learn alongside a loved girl-at-heart. This year we practiced setting up tents and camp stoves, shooting arrows (archery), building debris huts, and starting fires. We also refreshed our 10 essentials, made zipper pulls for our jackets, learned some primitive games that teach sensory awareness, and celebrated this weekend Rite of Passage by the bonfire.

As soon as we got home she started planning a camping trip with her dad, where she is going to lead setting up the tent and starting the fires. She is so thrilled to have these skills and can’t wait to practice them. I felt empowered by watching my daughter blossom in her confidence–this is what I wish for her as her mother. – 2019 Pre-WOW Participant

2019 Shellfish Harvest

May 21, 2019

We had an amazing time in the Quilcene Tidelands with our bivalve expert friends from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife this past weekend! We learned a ton about Washington’s coastal water resources, shellfish health and safety, how to harvest clams and shuck oysters (don’t forget to leave your oyster shells behind for good habitat!), and even got to taste Clamzilla’s famous oyster recipe. Thanks to all our awesome participants for joining us for a day of fun in the muck!

The chance to bring enough food, gathered by my own hand, for two suppers… well, the mind blowing part kind of hit as I tasted my first of (6 total) oysters. I did this for myself…and I could do it again! 2019 Shellfish participant

2019 Intro to Waterfowling

April 9, 2019

Immense thanks to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, the WOW Team, and our expert volunteer instructors for delivering perhaps our most successful Intro to Waterfowling Workshop yet!

Participants practiced shooting clays, calling ducks, running a retriever, cleaning birds (practiced on lead-poisoned swans), and even had the opportunity to make feather earrings before heading home with new knowledge and confidence to explore the outdoors in a new and immersive way.

I truly enjoyed this experience more than I can say. So much kindness, patience and knowledge was generously shared. Thanks to everyone who made this possible. – 2019 Waterfowling participant

2019 Intro to Flint Knapping

February 19, 2019

We had a fun and enlightening day learning the ancient art of flint knapping. Think rocks are boring? Not anymore! Check out the pictures of students breaking rock with a purpose! Using obsidian and/or colored glass, each student practiced percussion and pressure flaking techniques to create a sharp, multi-purpose, bi-face tool. Huge thanks to our wonderful hosts at Puget Sound Knappers. WOW was extremely fortunate to be in the company of and learn from some of the best knappers in the region – maybe even the world!

Incredibly knowledgeable instructors. Loved the initial history, and the small group workshops. Thanks so much! – 2019 Flint Knapping participant

2019 Intro to Snowshoeing

January 22, 2019

We had a fantastic weekend playing in the snow at WOW’s first workshop of 2019 – Intro to Snowshoeing – thank you to all the wonderful women who made the trek up to Gold Creek Pond at Snoqualmie Pass and embraced the winter wonderland! We learned a little bit about the history of snowshoeing and modern-day snowshoe options, winter and avalanche safety, the 10 essentials and more – all while enjoying Washington’s bountiful natural resources and making new friends.

Having never been snowshoeing and on top of that doing it with a large group of strangers was intimidating. But I did it successfully! And I left having made a new friend that I plan to get outside with. – 2019 Snowshoe Participant

2018 Pre-WOW Workshop

June 19, 2018

We have just returned from an incredible weekend at Camp Sealth on Vashon Island where an adventurous group of women and girls spent the weekend out-of-doors. Canoeing, fishing, and jellyfish exploration in Puget Sound, archery bullseyes, fire building, camp cooking and s’more roasting, gathering bag sewing and tinder gathering, and kelp powered jump-rope on the beach – these activities and more helped us all re-connect with nature and with each other.

Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your dedication to this program and your personal time and effort it took to put this together. It was great to see the smiles on the girls faces as they were trying activities for the first time. I think the adults had just as much fun, I know I did. – Sword fern and Oak (nature names)

20th Annual WOW Weekend Workshop 2018

January 9, 2018

WOW‘s 20th year was celebratory for so many reasons: the call for educating women with outdoor skills just keeps getting louder; experienced female instructors continue to volunteer their expertise; and the diversity, both culturally and geographically, continues to grow.  More women wanting to actively hunt, fish and meet the challenges of being in the outdoors is on the upswing. WOW’s 2017 workshops support the program’s authenticity of mission as genuinely beneficial to all who attend!

The 2017 Annual Weekend workshop, September 15-17, saw 153 on site at Camp Waskowitz. In beautiful Fall weather, survival students built forest  shelters, arrows hit targets, Fly fishers set flies on the river, and Dutch oven meals were tasted. The Field-to-Freezer class cut and wrapped meat, Wilderness First Aid’ers timed their tourniquets, gathered wild foods were savored, a spiked wildlife trail was investigated, women learned the reliability of a compass, and Knot tiers used their new skills to erect emergency shelters. Along the way, gear fix-it tips were shared, pollinator gardens were  created, a live beehive inspected, backpacking skills renewed, natural soap made and memory books created.

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…