By Katie McCormick

March 5, 2023—March is Women’s History Month. Apalachicola Riverkeeper kicked it off with a partnership paddling trip on Owl Creek with the Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI) of Florida State University. Committed to a dynamic learning framework, WLI is rooted in the belief that leadership is learned through experience, education and reflection. Dr. Erin Sylvester Philpot of FSU’s Center for Leadership and Change, and Cameron Baxley, AR Outreach Director, coordinated the outing to provide an opportunity for WLI student alumni to have first-hand experience of the Apalachicola River Basin. Exploration is an ideal way to learn about our remarkable Apalachicola River Basin  A few of the WLI alumni had kayaked previously, but for some this was their first time. For all of the young women, it was their first visit to Owl Creek in the Apalachicola National Forest. They were amazed that this beautiful place was so close to Tallahassee and they had never even heard of it. 

Eco-outing volunteers Angie Riviere, Elizabeth Swiman, and I joined Cameron and the students on the water at Owl Creek. We’re all RiverTrek alumni, too. We’ve kayaked the 107-mile Apalachicola River as part of Apalachicola Riverkeeper’s annual awareness and fundraising campaign. As you might imagine, we had some memorable river stories to share with the group. In turn, the WLI students, representing various academic majors and life experiences, shared some of their insights and knowledge with the women of Apalachicola Riverkeeper. After the paddle, we had a chance to talk over a picnic lunch. 

This dynamic group of women leaders – from FSU and Riverkeeper, students and professionals – shared more stories and strategies for learning, engaging, and sharing. 

Here’s the photo album of our Owl Creek outing. Big thanks to Angie for capturing many of these pictures.

More on Eco-Educational Outings

More on the Apalachicola National Forest

More on the Women’s Leadership Institute at Florida State University

Katie McCormick serves vice-president of the board of directors at Apalachicola Riverkeeper. She is Associate Dean for Special Collections & Archives at Florida State University. She especially enjoys hiking and camping along the Apalachicola River.

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