An Interview with Artemis Program Manager Marcia Brownlee

By Artemis and Marcia Brownlee

Artemis sits down with Marcia Brownlee, Program Manager, to talk sportswomen, public lands, and her vision for Artemis.


Artemis:  What brought you to Artemis?

Artemis resonated with me from the moment I first learned about it. I admire the way it brings together education, advocacy and community building. Women are way too valuable in the sporting community to have been overlooked for this long in the national conversation. It’s time to bring our voices to the forefront. Artemis is the perfect messenger. We can lead the way to a conversation that talks about hunting and fishing in a respectful and emotionally intelligent way. We can highlight the fact that with the incredible privilege of a hunting and fishing lifestyle comes the obligation to preserve it and to advocate for it. We can create a community of women who share their stories and mentor each other. The co-founders of Artemis are an amazing group and they put together a solid foundation of values. I am really excited to be a part of that and to work with them to grow that vision.

Artemis:  Where’s your favorite place to hunt and fish?

It’s so difficult to narrow it down. I love so many places for so many different reasons. If I have to pick a favorite, I’d say I love fishing the Bitterroot River in Montana. It’s close to home so I can sneak out before or after work during the week, and it passes through the Bitterroot and Sapphire Mountains, which are two ranges close to my heart. The Bitterroot offers miles of log jams and undercut banks. It’s a new river every season, and I love getting to know it again every year.

For hunting, it’s a toss-up between hunting antelope in the rolling sage grass hills in south eastern Montana or trekking through the rugged terrain of the Bitterroot-Selway Wilderness in Idaho.

Artemis:  Who’s your favorite woman conservationist of all time?

Jean Bethine Church for her passion for people and politics and the role she played in securing and preserving some of my favorite public lands. And the poet Mary Oliver because I believe anyone who encourages or facilitates people to have a deep and meaningful connection to nature is a conservationist.

Artemis: What do public lands mean to you?

Growing up, my family vacations always involved public lands. I have deeply meaningful memories of spending time with my family at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, 12 Mile Beach, and Holland State Park in Michigan — all of which are public. That connection deepened as I got older and we did a whirlwind road trip tour of National Parks when I was 8 and a week-long hiking adventure on Isle Royale in Michigan when I was 18. The timeline of my life could very easily be detailed by the public lands I was spending time on. I don’t own any land. I will most likely never own any land. Public lands mean I always have somewhere to go to connect with the natural world and to relish in the solace and stillness that nature offers me. Public lands mean I will always have an opportunity to notice and observe and wonder and enjoy and connect and learn and grow and deepen my understanding of what it means to be a part of this planet. Public lands mean that I will always have a place to return to and honor my personal history and my family’s memories. That’s available to everyone, and that’s amazing!

Artemis: What is your vision for Artemis?

There are three intricately intertwined streams in Artemis’s mission: Advocating for conservation, building a community of women hunters and anglers, and bringing our voices to the national conversation. My vision is that Artemis will be your touchstone for all of these — That you will come to us for information on a specific issue, ideas for effective advocacy, and as a support for your developing skills as an advocate; That, through Artemis, you are able to build relationships with other women hunters and anglers who you can learn from, go out in the field with, and support; That Artemis will amplify a hunting and angling voice that you recognize, relate to, and are proud of.

I want Artemis to be nationally recognized as synonymous with a sportswoman’s conservation ethos. I want Artemis to empower you to effect change in your state and on issues that are important to you. I want Artemis to be a community of fun, diverse, active women – and men – who love hunting and fishing.

Artemis: What advice would you give women who are interested in becoming hunters or anglers?

I have two pieces of advice. First, don’t allow yourself to make excuses. I know from personal experience that it is very easy to say, “I don’t have the right gear,” “I don’t have the time,” “I don’t have anyone to go with,” or any number of other excuses. They may all be true to a certain extent, but they are also just excuses. You don’t have to dive into the deep end or go whole hog (or whatever other expression you favor). Start small, but just start. My first rod – including reel, flies, line, tippet, the whole get up cost me $200, which took me 6 months to save up for. I fished with that rod in cut off shorts and flip flops for 5 years before buying anything else. I think I’m a better angler for it!

Second, as I mentioned earlier, being able to hunt and fish in nature and on public land is an immense privilege and it comes with an obligation to care for it. If you hunt and fish, you are obligated to be a steward of the land. Take that seriously.

Artemis: What’s the first thing you’ll be working on Artemis as Program Manager?

Well, my first goal is to immerse myself in the culture and values of the organization and really get to know the beat of its drum. One of my first projects will be sage-grouse. The administration will be asking for public comments on the issue again soon. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and our website for educational information and advocacy tips.