35th Annual National Gathering
May 23 - May 26, 2014
Get Ready to Have Fun and Celebrate 35 years of Women Outdoors!
Every Memorial Day weekend, women from across the country come together for the Women Outdoors National Gathering: three wonderful days of fun and adventure at the Sargent Center in southern New Hampshire. Whether you are a hiker or biker, kayaker or swimmer, birder or star gazer, painter or poet, writer or reader, the Women Outdoors Gathering has something for almost everyone. Nature’s Classroom is now leasing the Sargent Center from Boston University so we are fortunate we are able to continue in the place we have come to love.
Most of the activities at the Gathering are volunteer-led workshops. Some of the favorites include the hike to the heron rookery to see the fuzzy heads of baby heron, the wildflower identification walk, trekking up Mount Monadnock, and biking New Hampshire’s back roads. Members also offer workshops such as orienteering, knot tying, bicycle repair, camp cooking, drumming and first aid. (Special note: You receive a $20 discount on your registration fee when you sign up in advance to lead a workshop.) Some of the quieter offerings may include chi qong, yoga, painting and crafts. In addition, women can canoe, kayak or swim in Half Moon Pond, explore the many walking trails at the Sargent Center or challenge themselves with an adventure activity such as the climbing wall.
Here are some of the kinds of member-led workshops we offer at the Gathering: Bike ride to Harrisville, Nature Walk to Heron Rookery, Receiving: The Law and the Spirit, Seeing Differently – A Workshop in Photography, Packing Safety Gear for Kayak Trips, Beginning Kayaking, Lantern Making Workshop, REIKI – Energy Healing Experience, Evening Birding, Wonders of the night sky, Native American Flute, Intermediate Kayaking, Paddle at nearby Edward MacDowell Lake, Leave No Trace Awareness Workshop, Intermediate Kayaking, Hancock Bike Ride, Making Celtic Knots, Quirky Races – Fun Competition Event for large group, Beginning Two-Step.
On Friday night, the Gathering opens with “getting to know you games” that leave you laughing with your new friends. Saturday evening features our keynote speaker followed by a dance with a mix of music sure to please everyone. On Sunday, we hold the Women Outdoors annual meeting and our always entertaining Coffee House Review – a talent show of Women Outdoors members. We end the evening with a campfire, s’mores and sing-along.
2014 Keynote Speaker - to be announced. Have a suggestion for a keynote speaker? Email Gathering@womenoutdoors.org.
2013 Keynote Speaker
The 2013 keynote speaker, Mary Holland, is a naturalist, photographer, educator, columnist and natural history blog writer. Mary’s enthusiasm for and knowledge about the natural world is contagious as she presents her program based on her book, Naturally Curious: A Photographic Field Guide and Month-by-Month Journey through the Fields, Woods, and Marshes of New England. This book won the 2011 National Outdoor Book Award in the Nature Guidebook Category.
Mary presentation took us through the year, month by month, highlighting species and events, and illustrated with her wildlife photography. Amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, insects, spiders, plants and fungi are all represented. Mary posts daily on her natural history blog, www.naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com.
The Sargent Center
Nature's Classroom operates the Sargent Center in Hancock, New Hampshire. Located in the Monadnock region of southern New Hampshire, the 800-acre camp features hiking and biking trails and a large lake – Half Moon Pond – for canoeing, kayaking, swimming and relaxing. Perhaps most important, the meals at the Gathering are fabulous.
Women have a variety of options for their stay at the Gathering. Cabins sleep 4 to 10 people in bunk beds and have a living room and a bathroom with hot showers. Dorm rooms sleep up to 6 people in bunks and have a bathroom with hot showers at the end of the hall. Cabins and the dorm are heated and have electricity.
Yurts sleep 4 to 6 people on cots in an open floor plan. The yurts are like round platform tents and are completely enclosed and above ground. There is no heat or electricity in the yurts. Women who want to camp can pitch their tent in the meadow. There is a separate bathhouse with hot showers for the yurters and tenters.
The Sargent Center prepares delicious vegetarian and non-vegetarian entrées for each meal. Desserts are fabulous. Meals from Saturday breakfast through Monday lunch are included in the price of the Gathering. Friday night’s dinner is an additional charge.
We encourage all women to lead a workshop and receive a $20 discount. Please help to create an exciting program at our national Gathering by sharing your skills.
Fees range from $110-$285, depending on the accommodations you choose and how many days you attend. Some partial scholarships are available. For a complete list of fees, see the 2013 Registration page.
Please note: Gathering attendance is for Women Outdoors members only. If you are not a member, please Join Now or Renew your membership!