By Olivia Watts • 8th March 2022
As an environmental education charity, we thrive to provide opportunities and experiences to all. We want to be part of a world that protects and cares for nature and believe that everyone should be able to access the great outdoors. All our staff are helping this vision come to life, with every member of staff helping vitally.
For #InternationalWomensDay, we want to celebrate some of the wonderful women that are part of the team. We have asked them what they love about the great outdoors, delved into some fond memories, and explored some of the changes they would like to see to make outdoor opportunities more accessible for women.
I love being outdoors in the elements. Nature calms me on a sunny day, or a fresh coastal breeze blows away the cobwebs. Both allow me to rebalance and appreciate the world around me.
My favourite memory of being outdoors is probably going to Bempton Cliffs RSPB and seeing the puffins. Although my proudest moment was working as part of a team to climb Cadair Idris, in our group of 15/16 year-olds, we had a few injuries, but we worked together and supported each other to summit the mountain.
It sounds silly, but women’s outdoor clothing isn’t as practical as men’s, and things that are unisex often don’t fit properly. For example, men’s waterproof coats often have a chest pocket suitable for fitting in a map; in women’s jackets, the pocket is smaller so an OS map, for example, doesn’t fit. There is also a lack of choice in good quality women’s technical clothing if you are not a size 12 – 16.
I enjoy walking the same routes and seeing new things or changes in the landscape
My name is Jennie, and I work in grants and fundraising as part of the Field Studies Council Central Services team.
One of my fondest memories of being outside is the freedom of running on the beach as a young child. If everything gets too much for me as an adult, I need my fix of ‘horizon scanning’ on a beach to get my head straight again.
I’d like to see more women in leadership roles. I’d like to see more people taking up part-time hours to better balance work and life and reduce the perception that full-time work and long hours are the only way to succeed in a career.
I love nature because it gives me time to stop and think, to stand and stare. I love its vastness
Hello! I’m Rachel, the West Midlands Project Officer for the BioLinks project.
My hobbies and my work take me outdoors regularly, so it’s hard to pick just one experience as a favourite! However, one that stands out is finding moth eggs left behind after a night of light-trapping. This gave me the opportunity to try rearing moths at home and led to weeks of daily nettle hunts to find fresh food for the caterpillars.
I found women-specific groups helped make me feel more comfortable going outdoors and trying new things. It felt like a safer, friendlier, more inclusive environment. As a result of these groups, I had so many wonderful experiences that helped my confidence grow. I now volunteer to help other women find their confidence outdoors by leading women-specific cycle rides for British Cycling. I’d like to see more initiatives that help get women outdoors and more publicity for the women who are already out there (because there’s a lot of us!).
I love getting outside and escaping the hustle and bustle that comes with everyday life. Even just taking 5 minutes to sit in my garden can help me to reset
Hi, I’m Bek Trehern, an Engagement and Training Officer for the Field Studies Council– I help bring our natural history courses to life!
One of my favourite things about nature is that every time you go out, you could experience something new. I love searching for both the big and small – as you never know what you might find! Although I’m a marine enthusiast, I enjoy learning new taxa too – I’ve recently become very interested in fungi! I also love how nature changes with the seasons.
I would like to see schools showcasing successful women of the world, especially those in the environmental sector, in senior roles. At university, I had a lot of incredibly inspiring female lectures who really encouraged me to get out there and believe in myself. I think as a woman, that is something we are lacking, self-confidence. It would also be great to see organisations making more flexible options for women, especially for those with children.
As a child, I would spend a lot of time rock pooling with my sister in Cornwall. I used to love hunting for any marine wildlife I could find – it’s still something I love doing now!
I’m Roisin McAteer, Marketing Team Leader at the Field Studies Council.
I love the rawness of the outdoors. I actually love ‘bad’ weather. My dream is to go storm chasing in America! Wild weather engages all the senses; thunderclaps, lightning strikes, the smell of the rain, strong wind messing up your hair. It makes me feel more alive than lying on a beach.
I was lucky to visit Africa when I was five, creating some of my fondest memories. Both my parents were teachers, so we visited some schools in Malawi during the holidays. I remember exploring the jungle in Zambia and hearing all the exotic animals calling to each other to say we were coming. It was really incredible and something I’ll remember forever. The experience made me respect nature from a young age. I’m privileged to have visited such an amazing ecosystem before the decline in biodiversity we’re seeing now.
I would like to see more children (especially girls) being encouraged to play outside – even in ‘bad’ weather. We’re taught from a young age that when it rains, you have a ‘wet-play-day’, and I think that’s a shame.
I’d like to see more girls making mud pies and treehouses, getting as muddy as the boys and learning to love the outdoors in all weathers
Join the hashtag #BreakTheBias to follow the 2022 celebrations and tag us to share your outdoor photos and experiences – Happy International Women’s Day from all of us at the Field Studies Council!