Women Learn Tips, Tricks Of Surviving The Great Outdoors

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Payson High School graduate Mary Pendleton, now a married mother of one and living in Mesa, would like to help women acquire time-tested outdoor skills in, what she calls, "a fun, nonthreatening manner."

"Men have been taught how to enjoy the outdoors. Now it's women's turn," she said.

For Pendleton and others interested, the perfect opportunity to pick up those skills exists at a "Becoming an Outdoors Woman in Arizona" workshop.

As a coordinator of the program, Pendleton will help oversee a spring workshop April 5 to 7 and a summer version Aug. 16 to 18. Both will be held at Friendly Pines Camp in Prescott.

The sessions, Pendleton said, "are geared towards women who are interested in outdoor activities, but have little opportunity to experience them."

As a former Payson resident who still has close ties to Payson, Pendleton touts the virtues of the workshops for Rim country women.

The sessions, she said, will help Payson women enjoy the pristine camping, fishing, hiking and camping areas they live in.

Among the course options at the workshops are fly-fishing, basic firearms, Dutch oven cooking, camping, archery, big game hunting, backpacking, survival skills and rifle marksmanship.

In the highly popular survival skills classes, campers learn practical solutions for overnight survival in the wilderness. Also, participants learn how to avoid emergencies in the out-of-doors.

In big game hunting, campers will be taught how to scout, GLASS, track and stalk big game. The class, Pendleton said, "is a must for beginners and a plus for less experienced hunters who would like to hone their hunting skills.

The rifle marksmanship classes feature .22-caliber rifle shooting at paper targets from various positions. Most of the class time is spent on the range shooting.

In the basic camping sessions, participants are offered a hands-on opportunity to pitch tents, operate stoves/lanterns and become acquainted with other types of camping equipment. The focus of the class is on how to make a comfortable camp with low or no impact on the environment.

The instructors, all volunteers, are all seasoned veterans of the outdoors.

"They are chosen specifically for their interest in teaching others about the wonders and activities to be enjoyed in the out-of-doors," Pendleton said.

After successfully completing either the spring or summer workshops, "the new outdoor woman can find, catch, dress and cook their own dinner over a campfire or in a Dutch oven," Pendleton said.

They also will be able to "pitch a tent, pack for a hike, paddle a canoe, identify wildlife and tie a fly," she added. Both the spring and summer sessions run from 10 a.m. to noon Friday with a registration period. Activities continue throughout the day until culminating with a campfire at 9 p.m.

Saturday, campers participate in a bird walk from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. At 8:30 p.m., a night walk and campfire wrap up a day filled with outdoor activities. Another bird walk is held Sunday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. The camp wraps up at noon Sunday with lunch and farewell ceremonies.

The Arizona Wildlife Federation, Safari Club International and the Arizona Game and Fish Department sponsor the workshops.

The workshop fee is $195, which includes instruction, program materials, use of equipment, meals and lodging.

Mountain biking requires an extra $10 fee. No fishing licenses are required for the angling events.

To receive an application, visit the website www.azwildlife.org

For information, call Pendleton at (480) 671-7948 or (602) 819-4064.

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