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Landscapes, Special Wildlife Edition 2008

Weekend in the Wild

Through the National Wild Turkey Federation, Women are Learning New Skills in the Outdoors

Steve Vires and dog Bear

Photo by Jeremy Crow

AgriLand, FCS customer Misty Henderson learns the techniques of artistic blacksmithing. The Women in the Outdoors (WITO) event was held at Rusty Lowe’s Ranch north of Clarksville, Texas, with Farm Credit sponsorship.

Perhaps you’ve wondered how to tan a hide, control a flat-bottom boat or shoot a handgun but were afraid to ask?

In May, 168 women tried these and other outdoor activities at the third annual Women in the Outdoors (WITO) event held in Clarksville, Texas.

Organized by the Northeast Texas Pioneer Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), the weekend event offered 24 different outdoor activities, ranging from skeet shooting to bull riding to self defense. For those who wanted less “action,” there were courses in Dutch-oven cooking, trailer-backing, and basic emergency care, to name just a few.

“Some women feel too intimidated to try an activity in the midst of more experienced people, but they will try it in a setting like the Women in the Outdoors weekend, where there’s no pressure,” says Nanette Stockstill, NWTF women’s regional coordinator for New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and Oklahoma.

Bear retrieving a duck

“Our purpose is to provide opportunities where women can experience a variety of outdoor activities and possibly pursue them in the future,” Stockstill explains. “We teach a basic skill level, and then if it’s something a woman enjoys, perhaps she will continue that activity individually or with family or friends.”

Over the past decade, 47,700 women have participated in the NWTF’s Women in the Outdoors events in the United States and Canada. The programs range from one day to three days, depending on the location.

More than 400 Women in the Outdoors events are scheduled for this year, and the Clarksville event is the largest in Texas.

Online Labradors facilities

Terrie Christophersen, an AgriLand loan officer and WITO committee member, lines up at the driving range.

“This is the third year for the outdoor women’s weekend in the Clarksville area, and it has grown significantly each year,” says Terrie Christophersen, a member of the organizing committee and loan officer with AgriLand Farm Credit Services, title sponsor of the event.

“It’s a wonderful place for women to try out new activities without feeling any pressure,” Christophersen says.

The National Wild Turkey Federation started the program 10 years ago as a way to reach out to women who do not participate in traditional outdoor activities.

Besides AgriLand, several other Tenth Farm Credit District lenders also sponsor local NWTF programs. They include the FLBA of North Alabama, Great Plains Ag Credit, Land Bank of North Mississippi and Lone Star Ag Credit.

For more information, visit

– Photos by Jeremy Crow