BY TOM SADLER
One of the exciting things about being OWAA’s executive director is the chance to visit with other outdoor communicators.
Recently I had the chance to attend the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association’s annual meeting. Here are a couple of highlights.
Virginia’s new Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward gave the keynote at the conference. We had a chance to visit and talk about the stewardship of our natural resources and the importance of outdoor recreation to Virginia’s economy. Encouraging the public enjoyment and conservation of natural resources is part of OWAA’s mission and having the chance to tell Secretary Ward about how important OWAA members and supporters are that effort was time well spent.
The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association, like OWAA, has an excellence in craft contest. Matt Reilly, an OWAA student member, was one of the winners. The cool thing about Matt was he was also a winner of Sportsmen For Responsible Energy Development essay contest and went to Washington D.C. to meet the Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell. According to SFRED, “Jewell has said that engaging young people in conservation and nurturing their connection to the outdoors are critical to the health, economic and social benefits of conserving our public lands.” (http://sfred.org/media-center/news/youths-interior-secretary-talk-public-lands)
Sportsmen For Responsible Energy Development is a coalition dedicated to conserving irreplaceable habitats so future generations can hunt and fish on America’s public lands. The coalition is led by the National Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, all OWAA supporting groups.
Part of the OWAA mission is being mentors for the next generation of professional outdoor communicators. That part of our mission is critical to our future. I think you will agree the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association, Sportsmen For Responsible Energy Development, and Secretary Jewell are doing a great job with that one.