Artemis is an alliance of ten women from six Western states, including Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, who are fighting for a voice in the fishing, angling and conservation communities. In Greek mythology, Artemis is the goddess of the hunt, patron of hunters and wildlife. Artemis coordinator and founding member Jessi Johnson said that the group was formed through a shared love of hunting and the land.
“They’re all these sort of get-out-there, boots on the ground, sportswomen who are hunters, anglers, conservationists, teachers, and people that are willing to stand up and talk," Johnson said. "Very often we see that conservation groups and basically anything that’s hunting and angling related, is often marketed to men first, and I think that leaves out a really important voice, and an untouched voice, as far as conservation works."
During her seven years as an archer, she began to feel a real connection to the public lands she hunted on.
“When you’re out there and you’ve built a relationship with an animal, and you’ve put a ton of work in, and you’ve practiced, you really become a part of the ecology of the place, and you see where you fit in a little more," Johnson said. “This is dwindling, and this is precious, and this is something we can’t lose.”
Johnson knows many women who are active members and mentors in their hunting and angling communities. One in five hunters are women, and women are about 25% of the nation’s anglers. But proportionally, she adds, there are too few women in wildlife leadership positions.
As Artemis continues to grow, they have the potential for national growth, and are seeking to recruit women and men living in Utah.
“Anybody can be interested. You don’t even have to be a woman, you can be a supporter and be a man," Johnson said. "It’s just people who are wanting to see the women’s voice accurately represented and realize that there is an unused conservation army out there, in women.”
According to Johnson, recent efforts to transfer public land management to the states will be a priority for the group’s policy work.