Last night was one of the most surreal nights of my life. At the Outdoor Writers Association of America’s Honorary Awards Banquet at the annual conference in Little Rock, AR, I was shocked and thrilled and proud to receive the J. Hammond Brown Memorial Award, “OWAA’s most prestigious recognition of a member ‘for devoted past service to the organization over a period of continuous years.’” I’m the 4th woman to win this award in its 53-year history. With it, I was granted lifetime membership. .
As if that wasn’t reason enough to celebrate (!!!!), I also received the Outstanding Board Member award for this past year. I’ve been told I’m the only person thus far to receive this recognition four times (2014, 2015, 2017, and 2019) sInce the award’s inception in 1974.
Joining OWAA and attending their conference in 2010 changed my life. I was struggling to find my way with my then-three-year old freelance photography business. Thanks to OWAA, though, I learned how to write a cohesive sentence, blog stories, start a book publishing business, find new outlets for my nature photography, and so much more, including gaining endless inspiration from so many talented, kind, supportive people I’m proud to now call my dear friends. The organization has taught me how to not just survive, but thrive as an outdoor communicator. And the least I could do was give back.
I just completed six years of continuous service on the Board of Directors, the first three as a board member, the second three as Secretary. In that time, we’ve made great progress and endured trying times together—and we’re stronger now for it. I’ve tried to pitch in however I could when I could but there’s no amount of work I could do to repay OWAA for this unbelievably amazing life they have enabled me to live. I am forever grateful for this and these two recognitions last night. It has been, and will always be, my sIncere pleasure and honor to serve this great organization.
(Photo from this morning, since I was so overwhelmed last night, I forgot to get one while I was all fancied up...) #owaa2019 #outdoorwriter #outdoorphotographer #outdoorcommunicators #givemorethanyoutake #grateful