MILBRIDGE – Women for Healthy Rural Living (WHRL), a nonprofit leader in Milbridge, has partnered with Maine Outdoor School, L3C to offer OWL: Outdoor Women Lead. OWL teaches outdoor and naturalist skills via videos, blog posts and interactive activities that participants can do in their own backyards. The goal? To strengthen women and girls’ confidence outside, because everyone deserves to feel comfortable and empowered in the outdoors.

“Maine Outdoor School focuses on getting people of all ages outdoors, having fun, and learning from nature,” says Hazel Stark, co-founder of Maine Outdoor School. “The outdoors can be a place where we can find peace, get inspired, discover our strengths, and develop new skills. For people who already spend time outside, OWL shares ideas for deepening your experiences there, such as creating phenology journals to track seasonal changes and learning how to catch and identify insects. For those looking to gain outdoor skills, we will offer videos on how to go camping and basic canoe skills. We will also share specific outdoor considerations for female-identifying individuals.”

Zabet NeuCollins, assistant director of WHRL, expanded, “Working with women and girls’ was a natural fit for us. WHRL’s mission is to advance and promote the health and wellness of the woman, her family, and her community. And since it is proven that spending time outdoors significantly increases your chance of a healthy life, let’s work on removing barriers that women and girls’ experience in the outdoors — whether that be as simple as where and how to use the bathroom or feeling safe and confident on the trail by yourself.”

Originally intended as a series of in-person workshops at the Milbridge Commons Wellness Park, Stark and NeuCollins quickly adapted to the reality the coronavirus pandemic brought to their community in early March. The OWL series is now fully accessible online; however, NeuCollins believes that once in-person gatherings are more possible and with enough community support, OWL could become a regular, hands-on program offered in Milbridge.

To learn more and access the OWL series, visit: :