Outdoor Writers Association of America Recognizes Top Communicators


Pictured Left to Right: Emily Stone, Katie McKalip, Jack Ballard, and Christine Peterson

From OWAA:

The Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA), the voice of the outdoors, selected six association members as recipients of the organization’s most prestigious awards. Winners were announced at the OWAA’s annual conference in Casper, Wyo., where four of the six winners were on-hand to receive awards in person.

Award winners are announced and honored by their OWAA peers and categories include: Committee Volunteer of the Year, Outstanding Board Member, the Jade of Chiefs award, Excellence in Craft, and the Ham Brown Award.

“Our members each bring unique talents to our organization and it is our pleasure to honor them with these awards,” said Katie McKalip, President of OWAA. “From the written word to photo and video, this group truly does an outstanding job in their respective areas of expertise and selecting this year’s winners was as challenging as ever.”

Ham Brown Award: Steve Griffin

“Steve has a unique style. It’s not unusual for him to take lonely stands in board meetings based on a personal sense of right and wrong, yet at the same time (he) is known for seeking common ground, for keeping an open mind, and suggesting creative solutions. He is often a sounding board for fellow members.”

– Bill Brassard, OWAA Board Member

Excellence in Craft: Jack Ballard

“Unselfish is one word that easily comes to mind when others speak of Jack Ballard. OWAA has received much of his energy and passion. Why? Because OWAA has been instrumental in developing and shaping his professional career. He has served on the board, as treasurer, a trustee of the Endowment, chair of the contest committee and education committee. He used to enter the contests and has won more than one can count. Now he serves as a judge.”

– Tim Christie, past Excellence in Craft Award winner

Jade of Chiefs: Katie McKalip

“Katie McKalip is not only a highly skilled communicator who has a deep knowledge of the issues, but is also someone who has helped so many of us better communicate issues around public lands, conservation funding, outdoor access and more.”

– Matt Miller, OWAA Board Member

Outstanding Board Member(s): Christine Peterson & Emily Stone

“Finding two more dedicated members of OWAA’s leadership than Emily Stone and Christine Peterson would be difficult. Consistently and impressively, they go above and beyond the call of duty in their active support of OWAA.”

– Katie McKalip, OWAA President

Committee Volunteer of the Year: David Van Wie

“David Van Wie worked tirelessly over the past two years to lead a much-needed overhaul of our annual Excellence in Craft awards. As a direct result of his work, and that of the committee he coordinated, we had much higher participation and interest in the contest. His work for OWAA cannot be overstated.”

– Christine Peterson, OWAA Past President

About OWAA

Recognized as “The Voice of the Outdoors,” OWAA is the nation’s largest organization of professional
outdoor journalists. Its membership includes writers, photographers, videographers, radio and TV
personalities, digital storytellers and artists. Formed in 1927, the nonprofit association’s mission is to
improve the professional skills and opportunities of its members, set the highest ethical and
communications standards, encourage public enjoyment and conservation of natural resources, and
mentor the next generation of professional outdoor communicators. https://owaa.org


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