Becoming an Outdoors-Woman: Barriers and Strategies to Minority Women's Participation in Natural Resource-Based Recreation
Schnell, Michael J.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
MetadataShow full item record
Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) is an educational program that teaches introductory level hunting, fishing and non-harvest skills to women. It is offered by resource management agencies in 46 states and seven Canadian provinces. At the 1997 BOW coordinators conference, a primary concern was how few ethnic minorities participate in workshops. This concern prompted a survey of BOW coordinators. They reported percentages as low as zero with a high of ten percent and an average of about six or seven percent minority participation across the country. Minority instructor numbers were even lower. In October, 1999, the International Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program held a conference -Introducing Women of Color and Low-Income Women to Natural Resource-Based Recreation: Barriers and Strategies (designated Barriers 2). Representatives from agencies and conservation groups in eleven states and a variety of ethnic backgrounds attended. The mission of the conference was to identify problems and formulate strategies to overcome barriers. This research identified three major barriers to participation: lack of minority role models at workshops, distance of workshops from urban centers, and the perception that minorities are not invited. Following the Barriers conference, we planned pilot workshops to test strategies. In Missouri, minority instructors were trained to provide minority role models. In Texas, BOW programs were planned for an urban one-day format. And in Wisconsin, federal natural resource agency personnel from a large urban center were targeted with specific invitations to participate in a BOW field day to encourage participation at future BOW workshops. BOW needs to continue long-term activities for education and recruitment, based on what this research has provided.