Outdoor Writers Association of America  Recognizes Top Communicators & Members


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. The winners were announced at the OWAA’s annual conference in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

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, the Joan Wulff Enduring Excellence Award (formerly Excellence in Craft Award), and the Ham Brown Award.

“It’s such an exciting time for our association to get to recognize the unique talents that these long-term members bring to our association,” said Ken Keffer, President of OWAA. “This group really is the cream of the crop from our community of more than 630 vetted outdoor media.”


Ham Brown Award: Lisa Ballard

“In each of the many roles she has volunteered for or been elected to in service of OWAA, she has earned a reputation for being among the most reliable of volunteers, with careful and creative thoughtfulness and focused effort, often playing a major role in helping the organization evolve positively and succeed.”

  • Bill Powell, OWAA Legal Counsel

Joan Wulff Enduring Excellence Award (formerly Excellence in Craft): Michael Furtman

“Few wildlife photographers have contributed the breadth of outstanding images to the field in the last two decades as Mike Furtman. His exceptional waterfowl images set him apart as one of the nation’s best.”

  • Jack Ballard, Freelance author and photographer, OWAA member since 1998

Jade of Chiefs: Mark Taylor

““Over a career that includes stints as an award-winning newspaper journalist, military service and freelancing – and culminating in his current role with Trout Unlimited – Mark always approaches his work with a deep appreciation, respect and understanding of conservation. His work helps inform us – but, even more crucially, it engages us, spurring us to act on the issues, threats and challenges central to our outdoor pursuits and traditions.”

  • Katie McKalip, VP of External Affairs and Communications at Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and OWAA Past President

Outstanding Board Member(s): Matt Miller & Ken Keffer

“It’s no wonder that there was a tie in the voting for these two outstanding OWAA volunteer leaders. Both have been at the forefront of the organization, volunteering countless hours to the organization on special ad hoc committees, in reviewing and updating bylaws, by serving on the board and providing their expertise and leadership in a variety of committees.”

  • Chez Chesak, Executive Director – OWAA

Committee Volunteer of the Year: Andy Whitcomb

“Andy Whitcomb contributed to the successful execution of this year’s Excellence in Craft award—the higher participation and interest in the contest across all categories required more volunteer judges to be secured. Andy repeatedly stepped in to provide judging support over and above his original assignment to ensure that other assignments were covered.  The OWAA has benefited from this commitment.”

  • Howard Fox, President – Fox Coaching, Inc. and OWAA Contests Committee Chair

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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