Winterworld by Paula Wallis. (Paula Wallis Photography/Special to The News)

Winterworld by Paula Wallis. (Paula Wallis Photography/Special to The News)

Outdoors backcountry workshops for women in Maple Ridge forest

Courses include map and compass reading, small game prep, and nature photography

Hunting and survival training was once considered a man’s domain.

Not any more.

The number of women graduating from the Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Education (CORE) program – that is operated by the B.C. Wildlife Federation on behalf of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations – has doubled in recent years.

About 2,000 women graduate each year, said Randy Shore spokesperson for the federation. And that, he said, is why theSo the federation is holding a series of outdoors backcountry education workshops at Malcolm Knapp Research Forest in Maple Ridge that will be geared towards women.

To date, many of the courses in the Women Outdoors Skills and Experience Program have emphasized wilderness survival and hunting-related skills.

Coming up, woman can learn how to take amazing shots of nature on their cell phones, learn about basic map and compass navigation, and how to prep small game.

With the course, Michael Major, outdoor instructor with the wildlife federation, who developed and now instructs the Outdoor Safety and Map and Compass Workshop, saw a great opportunity to pass on his knowledge for safe outdoors recreation, that, he said is seldom pursued this century.

“Programs like the Women Outdoors Skills and Experience Program are critical because they provide a safe, inclusive environment for students to feel comfortable in and, in the process, develop foundational skills and confidence that they can build upon during their outdoor pursuits,” he noted.

Education coordinator with the UBC Malcolm Knapp Research Forest, Victoria Farahbakhchian, said they were happy to host the programs, adding they really value education.

Doug Forsdick, chief conservation officer with the BC Conservation Officer Service, emphasized the importance of being prepared.

“As Conservation Officers who spend countless hours outdoors, we know the importance of being prepared and knowledgeable when in the backcountry. Outdoor skills are essential to help ensure a safe, enjoyable recreation experience – and could maybe one day save your life,” said Forsdick.

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“Having the proper equipment, safety and planning experience is vital. The men and women in our agency undergo training for similar skills, such as wilderness survival. We support programs that teach such practical skills and hope these courses will help provide opportunities for interested women to acquire this expertise,” he added.

The next workshop in the research forest will be Capturing Nature on Your Cell Phone, a four hour workshop with Vancouver-based professional photographer Paula Wallis where students will learn the basics of composition, lighting, focus, and distance for stunning shots.

A guest speaker from the Invasive Species Council of BC will also share some interesting things that participants might come across on their walk through the forest and explain the importance of reporting invasive species in British Columbia.

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This workshop will take place 9-1 p.m. on May 28 at 14500 Silver Valley Rd., Maple Ridge.

In November women can register for the Outdoor Safety and Introduction to Map and Compass workshop where participants will learn how to plan for their trip, what to bring, and what gear they should have. The second part of the workshop will teach basic map reading and compass navigation.

Introduction to Basic Small Game Prep, a three hour workshop to teach participants how to prepare, process, and butcher game has yet to be announced.

To learn more about the program or to register for a class go to

For more information call 1-888-881-2293 or email

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