Women in the Wilderness
WEN had a great turnout for our October 2016 event at the San Francisco Department of the Environment for my talk on what we gain from living lives of adventure and pushing our comfort zones in the wilderness. My long-distance hikes on the John Muir Trail in California’s High Sierra over the last two summers inspired me to share the experiences with the WEN community.
Close to 40 attendees joined us, and nearly every woman in the room posed a question during the Q&A or added her voice to the conversation. Participants included women who are considering pushing themselves more in the outdoors, changemakers who want to see more people of color out on the trails, a woman who is writing her dissertation on women and the wilderness and environmentalists concerned about the impacts of climate change on High Sierra ecosystems.
Connecting to Nature
During my presentation, I shared images of the High Sierra, from Mount Whitney to Yosemite, while exploring three themes along the way:
- The benefits of wilderness immersion and lessons from the trail
- What the science is saying about the benefits of nature experiences
- Women in the wilderness
In the coming weeks, I will be exploring these themes in a series on my blog, so please visit my website if you are interested in these topics. Or feel free to contact me if you are interested in exchanging ideas or partnering for a future event. My goal is to share this talk with more women and other audiences in the environmental fields to build a stronger constituency for our wild and open spaces.
Resources for Wilderness Education
If you are planning a hike on the John Muir Trail, seeking hiking partners or thinking of how to build a more diverse constituency for our wild and open spaces, please visit the following organizations and links.
Women blogging about the outdoors:
“Ultimately, the hope is for this blog to encourage folks of all colors, all walks of life, to experience our wild spaces and preserve them for the future.” – Amanda Jameson, Author of the blog: Brown Girl on the (P)CT and Backpacker’s 2016 PCT Thru-Hiker
- She Explores – www.she-explores.com
- African American Explorations –tmbaker1165.wordpress.com
- Brown Girl on the (P)CT Blog – browngirlonthepct.com
- Frogmom – adventures with kids – frogmom.com
- Sierra Club (local chapters, Peak Climbing Section)
- Meetups – www.meetup.com
- Outdoor Afro- www.outdoorafro.com
- Latino Outdoors – latinooutdoors.org
- National Park Service ranger-led programs in Yosemite National Park and Sequoia & Kings Canyon
- Yosemite Conservancy – www.yosemiteconservancy.org
- Outward Bound California – outwardboundcalifornia.org
- National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) – www.nols.edu
- Trail Mavens: trailmavens.com
John Muir Trail and High Sierra logistics planning:
- Elizabeth Wenk’s John Muir Trail guidebook (2014) – Wilderness Press
- John Curran Ladd’s John Muir Trail Survey
- Sierra Mapper – sierramapper.blogspot.com
Science of nature experiences:
- Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley – How Nature Can Make You Kinder, Happier, and More Creative” by Jill Suttie, Psy.D.
- Children & Nature Network – Research Resources
- Decision Point Online – A Dose of Nature is Just What the Doctor Ordered: But how big of a dose of nature makes a difference?
Christine Sculati is a nonprofit consultant, writer and board member for the Women’s Environmental Network. She works with environmental, educational and social justice organizations and consults and writes on topics of philanthropy, conservation, outdoor education, nonprofit journalism and social justice. She holds a BA in Environmental Sciences from UC Berkeley.
In her spare time, she volunteers for a Bay Area puma study and enjoys rock climbing, hiking, cycling and exploring the natural world. You can learn more about Christine’s work on her website and blog, where she highlights ideas, news and resources to spark creative thinking, action and progress for social and environmental causes.
All photos by Christine Sculati