Wild Profile: Ronni McGlenn
Founder, Washington Outdoor Women
“I remember that growing up in the 50’s was magical,” said McGlenn, a Northwest native. “There were no cell phones or computer screens. The outdoors invited freedom and adventure and its own kind of learning – it was the best! ” Encouragement and coaching from three older brothers and a supportive mother instilled a love and respect for the environment and wild things.
After graduating from Holy Names Academy and the University of Washington Ronni taught high school English, developed mentored writing programs and later taught in the U of W’s Sportskills Department. Raising their three children with husband John meant family trips fishing, duck hunting, backpacking and clam digging. In the 80’s Ronni began expanding her involvement in conservation. Today, she and John both serve as leaders and board members for the Washington Wildlife Federation which focuses on recruiting new participants into traditional outdoor activities and encouraging them to become devoted stewards of wildlife and their habitat.
In 1998, Ronni founded a new organization committed to helping women enjoy the outdoors with more confidence and awareness. Washington Outdoor Women (WOW) offers hands-on workshops dedicated to teaching women and girls traditional wilderness skills such as map and compass, survival, fishing, hunting, wildlife identification and more. A particular success is that these skills are taught to women by women in outdoor settings.
In 2011, Ronni received the Governor’s Recognition Award issued by Governor Christine Gregoire on behalf of the people of the State of Washington for her work with WOW. She is the 2018 recipient of Washington Wild’s Karen M. Fant Founders Award for her decades of dedication as a volunteer activist, inspiring women to experience the outdoors through Washington Outdoor Women, and for protecting wildlife habitat and wild landscapes through the Washington Wildlife Federation.