"Wisdom begins with wonder" - Socrates
I came across this quote the other day, and it made me pause and reflect on its truth. It also made me decide to share with you the "why" behind my trip to the Wilds. Of course, one of the most obvious reasons for going was to see all of the animals, and because I've been wanting to check the place out for several years now. But the combination of seeing the animals AND learning more about photography (not to mention a steal of a price for the program) sealed the deal. I had met Barb and Jerry Jividen this spring at the Shoot the Hills photo contest in the Hocking Hills. I knew they were good people and excellent photographers, and that they have been leading photography workshops for many years, so I jumped at the chance to go learn from them. And learn I did, both about photography and about the animals there.
I kind of felt like a human sponge that weekend, soaking up all the info they could throw at us. I had one ear directed at Barb, and the other directed at our bus drivers/tour guides, all of them throwing out interesting details and facts about everything I came to see and do that weekend. I do feel like I came home with more confidence with my camera and my ever-developing photographic eye, and with a great appreciation for and knowledge of the beautiful animals I saw. I went there full of wonder, and came away with some wisdom (and still more wonder).
This trip was the third "adult learning" (as I call it) camp that I've been to in the last 3 years, and I am now officially establishing it as a tradition. The previous two years I attended camps oriented toward giving women more confidence and familiarity with the outdoors, so this year's "theme" was obviously different, but the purpose has been the same every year: Get out there and learn stuff, new stuff... expand my horizons... develop my self-confidence... get out of my comfort zone. It was also a good chance for me to recharge myself and get close to nature in new ways.
I really felt like I was going out on a limb with the first camp I went to (the Ohio DNR's Becoming an Outdoors Woman program), but after that I was hooked. Last year I attended the Ohio state weekend event of the Women in the Outdoors (an outreach program of the National Wild Turkey Federation). It was at that event that I paddled solo in a kayak for the first time, and loved it so much that I decided I HAD to buy a kayak for myself! (Dave bought one, too, and we have had great fun this year paddling on different lakes close to home.) And this year... well, you've already seen evidence of my trip to the Wilds.
I cannot stress enough how important I think it is that we continue learning throughout our lifetime. Learning doesn't have to end, and should not end, after graduating from high school, college, grad school. But make sure you have fun while you're doing it. I think the knowledge will be more likely to stick with you if you have fun while you're learning.
And ladies, if you are at all interested in women in the outdoors type programs, check out the Women in the Outdoors link above for events in your state, or just Google "women outdoors" or something similar and see what you can find. I think this type of thing is a wonderful opportunity for women. There's a great video on the ODNR website that was shot during the year I went to BOW, and seeing everyone having so much fun makes me want to go back next year and learn something I know nothing about - how to shoot a gun! Not to mention trying out the Alpine Tower!
** All photos were taken at the WITO event that I attended last fall.