The impact of becoming an outdoors woman

Women conquer the wild
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 8:52 AM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Becoming an Outdoors Woman is an event that helps women build the self-confidence they need to independently enjoy the outdoors.

TV6′s Pavlina Osta talked with one woman about the experience she had after attending her first BOW weekend in 2014 and how it changed her life forever.

Jen Davis’s journey to becoming a woman of the wild started before she ever attended an event.

“I wanted to learn how to get my own food and get involved in my own food,” Davis explains.

It came out of curiosity, out of wanting to know where her food came from, and being involved in her food.

“I started gardening and shopping at the farmers market and then foraging and it wasn’t long before I realized that hunting and fishing were sort of the next natural step for me,” Davis said.

Before long … Davis took a hunter safety class, where she met women who had attended the Michigan DNRs ‘Becoming an Outdoors Woman” event.

Davis decided to go, despite being nervous and driving up from Ann Arbor to Big Bay in the winter …alone.

“It was really intimidating that first night here alone in the dark. I didn’t know where my headlamp was, I didn’t know where I was going. and I just kind of like, had a panic. you know, I kind of started crying I called my husband, and I told him, I don’t know what I was thinking why I came up here by myself,” Davis said.

But after that first night in 2014, Davis got to go ice fishing, build a winter shelter, and met other amazing like-minded women.

Davis said, “It was the best weekend of my life. It changed everything for me.”

Now she lives as close as she can to the land, something once learned, felt organic for her.

“As I got my own hands in the process of feeding myself, it felt really natural and comfortable and it felt like something that I had known in my bones, you know, to be a part of that food cycle to be a part of the natural cycle of life,” Davis said.

After her first BOW weekend, her love for the outdoors continued to snowball.

Davis explains, “I got interested in other outdoor sports too, as that happened, like backpacking, kayaking, hiking, just a lot of camping in general that I had been doing.

These skills translate well into Davis’s work life where she works as a naturalist for the Pittsfield Township Parks and Rec Department.

“I’m heading up the nature programming side of what they do. They didn’t really have in-house nature programming until they hired me so I’m kind of getting to make the program as it unfolds,” Davis said.

Some new skills Davis is working on might shock you…

“I started learning about roadkill salvage, which really terrifies some people.”

Now that Davis has conquered the wilderness for herself… she’s on a mission to get others to do the same.

“I really feel strongly that if people get outside, they’re going to fall in love with it. If people will fall in love with being outside, they’re going to want to protect it. I feel like we’re at a point now, where if we don’t really galvanize people to want to protect our resources and the land that we have, then we could lose it,” Davis said.

Here at Becoming an Outdoors Woman, you now can find Davis teaching Wild Game Butchery and Wild Game Preservation Canning and Jerky workshops where she hopes to hold an encouraging space for women.

“The thing about women having a space that is encouraging for them to learn with one another and from one another is especially important because women have a tendency to share what they know,” Davis said.

Ultimately, by reaching beyond our normal lives, we are able to learn, excel and strengthen our abilities. Women who become that outdoors women accomplish knowledge of surviving and thriving in the wild but also confidence in themselves.

How wild is that?

To learn more about the Michigan DNRs Becoming an Outdoors Woman event, click here.

To apply for a partial scholarship, click here.