Becoming an Outdoors Woman helps women develop outdoor skills

A long-standing Michigan Department of Natural Resources program, which has a decidedly female focus, deserves recognition, even as organizers start planning for the summer session.

It’s known as Becoming an Outdoors Woman, and for the past 22 years, it’s exposed women 18 and older to a wide variety of outdoor activities in a relaxed, informal atmosphere.

“Becoming an Outdoors Woman is a program where each individual is encouraged to learn at her own pace,” Michelle Zellar, BOW program coordinator in Newberry, said in a DNR press release. “The emphasis is on the enjoyment, fun and camaraderie of outdoor activities and sharing in the success of one another.”

Women will have an opportunity to engage in 30 different types of activities, including kayaking, wilderness first aid and survival, lake and fly fishing, field birding, geocaching, shooting sports, boating, basic land navigation and introduction to bird hunting with dogs.

The agency has a wintertime version of the program too.

BOW participants stay and take their classes at the Bay Cliff Health Camp, a universally accessible facility overlooking Lake Superior, which is situated about 30 miles north of Marquette near Big Bay.

Participants will be housed in a dorm-style facility with amenities including a sauna, tennis courts, hiking and biking trails, along with easy access to northern hardwood forests and Lake Superior.


A $200 registration fee includes all food and lodging, as well as most equipment and supplies. The deadline for registration is May 4. A limited number of partial BOW scholarships are available to help low-income participants with the cost of registration. The scholarship application deadline is Wednesday.

Class information and registration materials are available online at Michigan.gov/BOW. Registrations must be mailed with payment to the DNR Newberry Customer Service Center, Attn: BOW, 5100 State Highway M-123, Newberry, MI 49868.


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