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AHS Senior Project Talk: Women in Outdoor Recreation

Animas High School Senior Lydia Blaisdell just returned from a solo four day, five night backpacking trip set to answer the question: "How does solitude and nature affect the mental health of women?"

Join us on Wednesday, May 15th at Pine Needle Mountaineering, 6pm for Lydia's presentation about the results from her trip, as well as discuss the benefits of seeking time in nature are, and how the gender gap in outdoor recreation and societal norms must change so that women can experience equivalent benefits to men.

women in outdoor recreation

Her Senior Project includes:

"My research was mostly focused on how the gender gap in outdoor recreation is still extremely prevalent in today’s society. Over the years there has been improvement, but women are still offered fewer opportunities in outdoor recreation than men. Many recent studies have shown that there can be incredible benefits from seeking solitude in nature, but these benefits may not be experienced in the same way for women due to current society in the United States. This presentation will address what the benefits of seeking time in nature are, as well as how the gender gap in outdoor recreation and societal norms must change so that women can experience equivalent benefits to men. Solo trips for women are commonly judged and looked down on for the potential dangers that could occur, which leads to societal pressure encouraging women to travel together. Many women and girls feel unsafe when alone, due to the common victimization of women in our current society. This can lead to the anxiety of being alone actually outweighing the positive benefits of solitude in nature. These conclusions have lead me to believe that creating equal opportunity in outdoor recreation will lead to more women seeking solitude in nature, and through this be able to fully experience the benefits of solitude in nature.

About two weeks ago I decided to embark on a solo backpack trip in order to find out for myself how solitude in nature affected my mental heath. This presentation will include both my research, and how my experience shaped and changed my opinion."