Updated Location -- Fiwygin Outdoors (Today, May 21st)

It's going to be 49 degrees outside today.  When we first envisioned this weekend's event, it was a sunny day, where people could relax at "the monument" and honor their loved ones.  But, at 40 something degrees, it's too cold!  Rather than cancel, we've moved the location down to Hidden Falls, so that we can have a bonfire in addition to all the other things we had planned (short meditation, nature books, frisbee/football, snacks, etc...).  

We hope to see you there!  If you get lost or can't find us, call 651.295.2773.  Guided meditation will be just a few minutes long (we think), and will take place around 6:30ish.  Feel free to bring food, games, etc to share.  



You Don't Have to Sweat to Spend Time Outside -- Fiwygin Outdoors (May 21)

A lot of times, folks think about spending time outdoors as something that has to be active. Something we need stamina, equipment and talent to be able to do.  Well, that's not always the case. This Sunday, we invite folks to come spend time outdoors and remember the ones that they love.

Next Wednesday marks the 1 year anniversary of the passing of my #1 homegirl, Ardes.  She was 93 years old, and was my best friend.  I never met anyone like her, and doubt I will again.  When she passed away, my heart was broken.  I still miss her -- and cry once a week (give or take).  I know I'm not the only one who is missing someone or having a hard time right now.  We are in some tumultuous times -- and now more than ever, we should be able to find safe space outdoors to mourn our loved ones, celebrate life and build/sustain community.


Join us this Sunday (May 21st) at 6pm at Hidden Falls in Saint Paul to simply spend time outdoors and honor the people in our lives -- in whatever ways make sense. We will have a short (non-religious) guided meditation around 6:30pm.  Please note that the location has changed from The Monument (Summit and River Road) to Hidden Falls, so that we can stay warm with a bonfire.   


We'll bring a frisbee, a football, some snacks, and some nature books (birds & plants).  Feel free to bring whatever you want -- whatever you need to feel at peace in the outdoors.  You may consider bringing a lawn chair or a blanket, a bite to eat (or share), a photo or poem that reminds you of someone no longer with you, etc...

Since we will be at Hidden Falls, know that there is easy access to the river, but the river is likely very high and fast right now.  While we encourage folks to go check out the water, we ask that you do so with caution.  It probably won't be the best day to fish.  

PS if you haven't lost anyone or aren't feeling down -- come anyway.  There's lots to explore around "the monument" and coming together (even to be alone) is how we build community and become stronger.   

You Have 20K for a Car, so you buy.....?

This started out as a Facebook post, but got too long.  So here you go....

HELP!! You "need" a car and have a budget of no more than 20k.  You could go higher, but don't really want to -- the lower the price, the better.  


Your requirements are:

You Need:

  • Something reliable.
  • Something you can see well out of.
  • Something that is safe.


You Want:

  • "Good" Gas Mileage (i.e you just sold a car named Salvador, who got about 37mpg city/highway combined, and while you know you won't get this same thing necessarily, you sure like not having to always fill up your tank). And it doesn't make sense to get a gas guzzler -- does it?
  • A hatchback/Wagon/SUV/Crossover so you can carry what you need and not have a small trunk be an issue or a buzzkill.
  • Heated Seats
  • Sun/Moonroof
  • Decent ground clearance so you aren't scraping bottom like you did with Salvador when the streets weren't plowed well or there were big ruts in the road.


You prefer:

  • Something extra fly (because you are a bit of a diva) -- with good speakers, slick technology, a roof rack that is built in and includes something to tie a canoe down to, and enough room to throw your camping gear in.
  • Something NOT made in America, cuz just like me -- there are pretty rad things that are not made in America.



  • There's a trailer hitch in case someone donates a bunch of canoes and a trailer to Fiwygin Outdoors, you can pull all those vessels using your own vehicle.


You don't care about:

  • AWD. You know the secret about snow tires (getchu some if you don't already).


What do you get? Help me please! I've been fortunate to borrow my mom's car for the better part of 2 weeks. I need to give this woman her car back and quit pretending like I'm gonna bike everywhere now that I sold my car. I've been consumed by consumer reports, carsoup.com, autotrader.com, etc... I need to make a decision and can't seem to do so!


Any advice y'all can share, would be much appreciated!

Fiwygin Outdoors Turns 1 Year Old! Celebrate with us on April 9th!

A year ago today, Fiwygin Outdoors came to life as we had our very first event!  It was cold and I was underdressed,  but it was a great start to this idea I had long dreamed of.  

Our first event was April 2, 2016 at the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in Minneapolis.

Our first event was April 2, 2016 at the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in Minneapolis.

In our first year, we enjoyed: 

  • Mountain Biking
  • Hiking
  • Wildflower searching
  • Canoeing
  • Kite Flying
  • (Ice) Fishing
  • Birding
  • Little Library searching
  • Park clean up
  • And more! 

From our first event with 5 people, to our largest event this February with upwards of 50 people, we have grown intentionally.  Fiwygin Outdoors started out as a group to ensure that people who are underrepresented in the outdoors know that they have a safe place to engage in green space.  

While all are welcome, we continue to extend an extra invite to POC, Indigenous people, LGBTQ people, and people with limited income/resources/experience/mobility.

That is the foundation of this group -- ensuring that underrepresented folks find safe, accessible, meaningful and sustainable ways to spend time outdoors.

We invite you to join us for our 1 year birthday party at Theodore Wirth Park, where it all began a year ago.

  • When: Sunday, April 9th at 10am
  • Where: The Theodore Wirth Beachhouse (3200 Glenwood Avenue)
  • What: Keith will be taking folks geocaching throughout the park.  If the weather is decent, we'll likely bring a canoe.  Feel free to bring yard games, kites, bikes, naturalist guides, or anything else you want!  We will bring snacks -- perhaps even a cake!  
  • Who: Anyone who wants to spend time outside -- with an extra shout out to those who are historically underrepresented in outdoor spaces.  

If you can't come, but find value in the work we're doing, please consider supporting us in any of the following ways: 

  • Monetary donations to pay for supplies, snacks, equipment/gear: PayPal.Me/FiwyginOutdoors
  • Volunteering to lead a session in your area of knowledge/expertise: i.e. paddling instruction, geocaching, wildflower identification, birding, mountain biking, etc...
  • Donating new/gently used gear: such as canoes, life jackets, warm weather clothing, hand warmers, a small trailer, fishing gear, rain gear, nature guides, etc.  Please reach out to FiwyginOutdoors@gmail.com if you have an interest in donating gear.  

We thank you again for all of your support over the last 12 months.  We look forward to this second year, in which will will develop a leadership team, get more support for (and from) the community, have at least one overnight adventure, and will continue to grow our program intentionally and sustainably. 

We'll see you on April 9th!  



February 2017 -- Fiwygin Outdoors presents Asha's Celebration of Winter 

February 2017 -- Fiwygin Outdoors presents Asha's Celebration of Winter 



Fiwygin Outdoors Presents Asha's 13th Annual Celebration of Winter


Join us for all or some of Fiwygin Outdoors + the 13th Annual Celebration of Winter, on Saturday, February 18th.  

We'll start at Crosby Regional Park for some snowshoeing/exploring/(perhaps) fire building at 2pm.  At 3:30, we'll head to Summit Brewery, where the taps flow freely and kids are welcome!  


Things to keep in mind:

There are two entrances to Crosby Regional Park.  Go to the one near Watergate Marina (2595 Crosby Farm Rd, St Paul, MN 55116).  Crosby is part of the Great River Passage, and is a beautiful space to play outdoors and build community.   

All are welcome to come -- kids, friends, leashed pets, etc.  Not sure if dogs can come into the brewery, but they sure can come to Crosby! 

Every year, I collect funds and supplies for a cause.  This year I'm welcoming donations towards Fiwygin Outdoors, the program that I officially launched in April 2016 that ensures spending time outside is accessible to everyone.  To donate, click HERE.  What will this money go to?  To help pay for park entry fees, snacks for our events, equipment for participants, and anything else to make sure that creating sustainable and meaningful connections to the outdoors can be free of barriers.  

Can't donate?  That's okay!  Join anyway, in whatever way makes sense to you.  Come for the outdoor fun.  Come for the tasty drinks at Summit.  Come to see me and wish me a happy birthday.  


Hope to see you on the 18th!  Give a holler if you have any questions -- fiwyginoutdoors@gmail.com or on my cell phone.  

Fiwygin Outdoors Celebrates Winter Trails Day

Screenshot from Winter Trails Days Facebook event page

Screenshot from Winter Trails Days Facebook event page

Mixing things up a bit for our January event. Rather than do something on our own, we'll be joining the activities at Fort Snelling for Winter Trails Day 2017! Get ready to ski, snowshoe, hike, ice fish and more -- lots of ways to engage and have fun!

Plan to meet near the front entrance (ranger station) at 1:30pm. Fiwygin Outdoors will cover the cost of the $5 park entry if you don't have a park sticker on your vehicle. If you need warm weather gear, let us know ASAP so we can figure something out.

Also, tentatively save the date for February 18th -- for Fiwygin Outdoors + Asha's 13th Annual Celebration of Winter! We'll be going all out!

December Fiwygin Outdoors

For December's event, we went around the Highland Neighborhood and checked out a bunch of free libraries, as they are everywhere!  We went in two groups -- a morning one and an afternoon one.  Several new folks came, including some that don't really "do the outdoors."  Great conversations were had, and we finished each outing with donuts at PJ Murphy's Bakery!  Yum!  


The morning group!  

The morning group!  

The afternoon group!

The afternoon group!

Opt Outside with Fiwygin Outdoors on Black Friday

Yesterday we hit up Como Lake to spend time outdoors.  Our group was about 20 people strong, including kids and a puppy.  Since the snow melted already, we decided to spend time together picking up trash around the lake.  We picked up quite a bit!  

We enjoyed hot chocolate, clementines and other snacks before and after the clean up.  Friends met one another and created community.  It was a wonderful sight.  Now more than ever it is important to spend time outdoors, take care of what we have, and be kind to one another.

Little people make our events so fun!  

Little people make our events so fun!  

About half the group.  Additional folks joined us as the morning went on.  

About half the group.  Additional folks joined us as the morning went on.  

Our next event will be December 10th.  We hope you will join us.   

October 8th - Fiwygin Outdoors is in Saint Paul!

Apologies for the belated (and missed) posts.  We took some vacations, bought a house, etc... 

Fiwygin Outdoors next event is Saturday, October 8th at 9:30am.  We're mixing up the time a bit - in hopes some new folks can join us. 

Plan to meet at 9:30am at Indian Mounds Park (at the building on Mounds Boulevard and Earl Street).  Aside from taking a trek for about a mile, while checking out over 20 species of trees and 2,000 year old Indian Mounds...we will also be having a contest for "best fallen leaf."  We can't yet share what the winning prize will be, but rest assured it will be good! 

The weather is getting colder, so plan ahead and bring a sweater/jacket.  If you need cold weather clothes, let us know in advance and we will make sure you're covered....literally.  

Let us know if you have any questions.  If you've come to a Fiwygin Outdoors event before, we hope to see you again -- and please bring a friend!  If you haven't yet been to one of our events, there's no better time than this weekend to join us.  All our events are free, accessible, and all are welcome/encouraged to come -- especially those who are underrepresented in outdoor spaces (i.e. POC, LGBTQ people, people with limited income/resources/experience/mobility/etc...).  

Hope to see you this Saturday!  Please RSVP on Facebook (if you can), so we know how many snacks we should bring.  If you can't join us, but are spending time outdoors that day, post a photo of the best leaf you can find with the hashtag #FiwyginOutdoors to join the fun!   

See You August 6th at the Wildflower Garden!


Hello everyone!  Fiwygin Outdoors is happening this Saturday, August 6th at 1pm at the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden.  You can see the official facebook event HERE.  


We will be taking a stroll through the wildflower garden, with the potential of joining the Birding Basics class that starts at 1pm.  We will bring a pair of binoculars and a few books about birds and plants. Bring your own too if you have them. 

Kids, strollers and friends are encouraged and totally okay. No pets allowed unfortunately. There is no cost to attend the wildflower garden, but it is paid parking at the wildflower garden parking lot. Parking for 2 hours is probably $3-4.  
We will have some money to help cover parking costs for those who would like to park near the entrance of the garden. 


If you want to park for free at the beach house (3200 Glenwood Avenue), plan to meet there at 12:30, and we can walk/skip/wheel our way over to the garden parking lot, which is less than a mile away and up hill. 

As always, Fiwygin Outdoors will provide snacks for everyone, and a prize for best
#fiwyginoutdoors photo. Please bring a bottle of water so you don't get dehydrated. 


Let asha know if you have any questions.  Hope to see you on Saturday!  If you get lost, call 651.295.2773 and asha will try and help.  Don't forget to invite your friends!  All are welcome.  



Fiwygin Outdoors - A Survey to Guide Us

July 9 2016 Collage.JPG

We had an awesome Fiwygin Outdoors event yesterday.  As Fiwygin Outdoors continues to grow, we want to make sure we are reaching the folks this group was intended to reach.  Regardless of if you have attended a Fiwygin Outdoors event, please take a few minutes to take this survey.  It will help us better understand who is spending time outdoors, what the barriers are that folks are experiencing, and what we can do to make spending time outdoors more accessible and inclusive.  Thanks!  

Canoe for Sale (SOLD)

We recently purchased a new canoe, so we are selling "Rachel," a 16 foot Old Town Penobscot canoe.  Rachel is 58lbs, holds up to 1100 lbs, and is great on moving or still water.  

We've had many memories with Rachel (i.e. a paddle down Minneahaha Creek, a day trip on the Crow River, a blood moon eclipse viewing party on Cedar Lake, many boat picnics on Brownie Lake, and a proposal no less)! 

Rachel retails new for $1800.  She is well used, so we are selling her for $600.  She comes with a small Indian Flag sticker on one side, and a small Croatian flag sticker on the other.  There is one considerable dent in the bottom, but overall, the boat is in good condition and is a great canoe for anyone who wants to be out on the water.

We could sell Rachel on Craigslist, but our hope is to sell her to a friend - someone who would be a good steward and appreciate Rachel as much as we do.  Please take a look, let me know if you want to take her out for a test paddle, and share with friends who might be interested.  

Thank you! 


May 7th

Saturday, May 7th is just around the corner.  Why is this date important?  Because the weather should be better than last month, and it's about time to get together and have some fun outdoors, and it's the next Fiwygin Outdoors event,

Here are the details: 

Who: You.  Anyone, and everyone.  Especially the folks who have ever felt like they didn't belong outdoors, weren't welcome in outdoor spaces, or are afraid to spend time/be active outside.

What: Anything outdoors.  Want to run 5 miles?  Go for it!  Want to hike 100 meters?  Cool!  Want to ride a mountain bike or paddle a canoe?  Why not (we'll have 2 bikes, and 1 canoe to share -- bring yours too if you have one).  Want to sit on a bench and draw some of the beautiful wildlife?  Please do!  Have kids (or not) and want to play on the playground?  Why not?!  Want to go fishing?  Wirth Lake is right there (and if you're under 18 you don't need a fishing license).  Want to play volleyball or basketball?  Bring a ball and a few friends!  Interested in checking out the spring flowers at the wildflower garden?  You can - and we have a naturalist to serve as your guide.   

Where: Theodore Wirth Park - meet at the Beach House (3200 Glenwood).  

When: Noon on May 7th.

Why: Because spending time outdoors is good for the body, mind, and spirit.  And Fiwygin Outdoors is all about making spending time outside a safe, welcoming, and inclusive place for all folks to thrive.  

Bonus: Whoever posts the best photo with the hashtag #FiwyginOutdoors on Saturday during the event - will win a copy of James Mills "The Adventure Gap -- Changing the Face of the Outdoors."  Snacks will be provided for all who attend.  

Hope to see you on Saturday, May 7th at noon.  All are welcome and encouraged to come exactly as they are.  

PS - If you are planning on watching the Kentucky Derby -- rest assured, it doesn't start until several hours after Fiwygin Outdoors.  You'll have time to do both! 

Inaugural "Fiwygin Outdoors" Event

This Saturday is the first ever Fiwygin Outdoors event! 

What is Fiwygin Outdoors?  Well, first of all, it's pronounced the same way you'd say "fusion" in English or "few-zhin" if you spelled it out phonetically.  Secondly, it's a concept/group in response to and in solidarity with all the people who have ever felt like they didn't belong or fit in outdoors.  A big part of the purpose of Fiwygin Outdoors is to eliminate the fears and barriers that folks have to getting outside, and making it fun, accessible, and welcoming to all people! 


Here are the details for our first ever event: 

Who: Anyone.  But especially those who don't usually feel comfortable or welcomed in the outdoors or outdoor activity.  Nervous about going to things like this alone?  Bring a friend!  

What: An hour (or more or less if you want) to play outside, alone or ideally with other people.  You can run, walk, play frisbee or football, fish, birdwatch, visit the wildflower garden and more!  There will also be a photo challenge, which will be explained the day of.

Where: Meet at the beach house on Glenwood at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis.

When: Saturday, April 2 at noon.

Why:  Because there's a lot to do and see outside, and sometimes we don't always feel safe, comfortable, welcomed, or knowledgeable to do these things on our own. Saturday (and every event thereafter) will be a space/group that is intentionally welcoming and safe for you to come as you are, and enjoy yourself in whatever way makes sense to you.


As Fiwygin Outdoors grows in popularity/attendance, there will be opportunities for more activities, overnight trips, people to take on leadership or teaching roles, and for us to really get creative with what we do!  


Hope to see you on Saturday, April 2nd.  If you have questions, you can reach me at ashashoffner@gmail.com or shoot me a text message.  


PS Don't forget a water bottle!  I'll bring some snacks to share, but you may want to eat something before you arrive.  

Fiwygin Outdoors (it's pronounced fusion)

It's official.  

Fiwygin Outdoors. Pronounced "fusion." Fit In Where You Get In. Fiwygin Outdoors. That's the name and the concept of the inclusive group I've been trying to wrap my head around and articulate for the last number of years. The blog I wrote last month really explains where this desire and movement is coming from.    

Fiwygin Outdoors is a concept/group in response to and in solidarity with all the people who have ever felt like they didn't meet the criteria to be outdoors, to be an outdoors person, who weren't welcomed in a certain spaces, and/or they weren't "fit to be" in the natural/outdoor world.  

The truth is - we should all be able to enjoy the outdoors, and we should all celebrate whatever and whomever we can bring with us. For example, I can bring a pair of busted feet/knees/legs, a loving and open heart, some essentials (water, maps, etc), some knowledge of Wirth Park, and my ladyfriend who just so happens to know a lot about the ecology of the park..  

What can you bring?  

Yourself. Your kids. Your partner. Your parent(s) and/or grandparent(s). Your knee replacement. Your achy body.  Your cat on a leash. Your busy schedule. Your fear of social and outdoor events. Your hesitant anticipation. Your excitement. Bring it all!  Everyone is welcome, which is exactly the point.  

Fiwygin Outdoors is all about fitting in where you get in, and Fiwygin Outdoors is making "getting in" 100% accessible. Be it time, supplies/equipment, comfortability, or something else, it is our hope, mission and goal to ensure that anyone who wants to spend time outside can do so.  

THIS Saturday, April 2nd is the first official gathering of Fiwygin Outdoors. Come as you are. We will meet at the Theodore Wirth Park beach house which is near (3400 Glenwood Ave South, Mpls) at noon.  For now, hold that time. Details will come soon.

The idea is to get outside and be active in a way that is meaningful to you (walking, running, talking, meeting new people, recovering, etc).  

Want to join us? I sure hope you do!

See you soon!

The 12th Annual Celebration of Winter

Thanks to your help, I've got most of the details down for the 12th Annual Celebration of Winter.  It's a 2 part event - and of course has a way to "give back" to others.  You can come to part one, part two, or both!  


Part one: 

When: Monday, February 15th from 4:30 - 5:30pm.

Where: Meet at the Wirth Park Beach House parking lot.  

Who - You and your friends/family/partner/kids/neighbors/etc.

What: Playing outside!  Bring skis, snowshoes, sleds, bikes, boots, or anything you want.  We'll have an hour to play!  Some folks may want to walk or run, that's fine!  Others may want to ski or bike.  That's fine too.  I think my mom wants to build a snow fort!  We don't all have to do the same thing - we just have to be outside for an hour and have some fun!  


Part Two: 

When: Monday, February 15th from 5: 30pm to whenever.

Where: Victory 44 - a few miles up the road from the park.

Who - Same as above.

What: Enjoy happy hour prices on food and drinks.  Get to know one another, reconnect with old friends, and celebrate winter!  


Bonus!  Feel free to bring non-perishable food items to donate.  I haven't figured out which food shelf to bring stuff to yet, but will know by the day of the party.  You can also donate to the Midway Y (http://give.ymcatwincities.org/ashashoffner2016) to help pay for memberships so that young people, old people and everyone in between can experience the amazingness of the Y. 

Holler if you have questions! 


Event Planning

I received great support and feedback about the unnamed group I proposed a few weeks ago.  In planning the first event for the unnamed group, I am hoping to have it coincide with my 12th Annual Celebration of Winter.


February 15th is President's Day, and is also my birthday.  What better way to celebrate winter, my friends, family and community than spending time outside together?  Well, perhaps there is a better way....

Please take a moment to fill out the 2 question survey below, to help with planning the event.  If you don't like the ideas/format, please suggest something else.