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Click the tabs below to view details about each day of conference. Specific session information will continue to be added as conference gets closer.

All conference activities will take place at the DECC-Harbor Side Convention Center unless otherwise noted.

OWAA Board Meeting 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Members welcome to attend

Registration Noon – 7 p.m.
DECC-Harbor Side Convention Center

Photography Workshop: Photographing Birds in Flight and Other Wildlife in Action 2 – 4 p.m.
Join professional wildlife photographer Michael Furtman for this workshop focusing on camera settings and techniques for capturing birds in flight and other action photos. This field-based workshop will meet at the DECC Harbor Side Convention Center and then head to Canal Park for instruction. Participants should bring a DSLR camera and a lens of at least 300mm but which can still be handheld. No tripod needed.

Becoming an Outdoors Communicator Workshop 3 – 6 p.m.
This free, three-hour workshop, open to the public, will feature some of OWAA’s most prolific and best-known communicators who explain the ins and outs of their area of expertise. This year’s topics include opportunities in outdoor organizations, newspapers, photography, radio, state conservation agencies, nonprofits and the outdoor industry. Please join Pat Wray and fellow OWAA members for this popular prelude to the OWAA conference.

Women in Outdoor Media Summit 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Duluth-Downtown
Join us for a discussion on what it’s like to be a woman working in outdoor media. A panel of seasoned outdoor journalists will kick-off a conversation not only about the challenges of working in a traditionally male-dominated field but also the growing demand for female perspectives in outdoor publications. A networking happy hour will follow the panel discussion.

Green Ribbon Meeting 6 – 6:30 p.m.
First-time at an OWAA conference? Haven’t been in a while? Join program chair Paul Queneau and conference planner Jessica Seitz who explain the ins and outs of the conference and what the “can’t miss’ events are. Meet other OWAA members happy to act as mentors to help you navigate your first conference.

Dinner out in Downtown Duluth
Meet up with old friends and make new ones while experiencing some of the great dining options, breweries and distilleries in Downtown Duluth.

President’s Hospitality & Past President’s Hospitality 8:30 p.m.+
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Duluth-Downtown
Come celebrate and help toast OWAA President Brett Prettyman for his service over the past year, then walk across the balcony to party with the organization’s Past Presidents and commemorate OWAA’s 90 years of history.

Registration (Daily) 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Coffee Break Station (Daily) 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sponsored by Mississippi Tourism

Opening Breakfast 7:30 – 8:15 a.m.
Sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.

Keynote: Steven Rinella 8:15 – 9 a.m.
Sponsored by Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Acclaimed outdoor writer and TV personality Steven Rinella kicks off conference with a keynote address about finding common grounds for conservation between hunters, anglers and non-consumptive users of America’s public lands. Rinella is author of “The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine, American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon,” and most recently, “Meat Eater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter.” He is a contributing editor to Outside magazine, and his features, essays and reporting have appeared in many other publications. Rinella also hosts the top-rated television series “MeatEater” on The Sportsman Channel and a popular podcast by the same name. He’s a highly respected, well-spoken and bold advocate for hunting and conservation that has addressed a wide range of audiences about his life as a modern-day hunter-gatherer. He uses both humor and irreverence to talk about the hunting lifestyle, wild game, the ethics of hunting and the spiritual need for wilderness.

3-Day Displays (Daily) 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

EIC Winners Showroom (Daily) 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Press Room (Daily) 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Press Room Sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.

Writing Guidebooks 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
From producing maps and visuals to penning pithy text to cataloging topics and lists, writing a guidebook is more than just capturing your outdoor adventures. Walk through the process from start to finished product with this panel of guidebook authors, including the surprises and successes they found along the way.

The Pursuit of Podcasting 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Author and hit TV-show host Steven Rinella has expanded his following with his top-rated podcast MeatEater, which speaks to a wide audience about his life as a modern-day hunter-gatherer. In this session, he will sketch out his creative process, take questions from the audience and discuss how he got started, the equipment you need, and his strategies and philosophies for keeping a podcast crisp and relevant.

Spouse/Partner/Family Welcome 10 – 11 a.m.
Welcome event for all spouses, partners, families and guests. Meet new people and become reacquainted with others. Find out what opportunities are available to you throughout the conference. A Visit Duluth representative will be on hand to help you plan additional activities.

Bike Access in Wilderness Areas 10:45 – 11:45 a.m.

Rebirth of a River 10:45 – 11:45 a.m.
A success story of the Clean Water Act is on full display next to downtown Duluth. The St. Louis River Corridor, Lake Superior’s largest U.S. tributary, was once highly polluted, but has been rehabbed into a prime fishery and recreation destination. But what does the future hold for the Clean Water Act? And how do we continue to achieve these kinds of conservation victories for our national waterways?

Brown Bag Discussion Lunch Noon – 1:15 p.m.
Choose a small group discussion table on a range of business and news topics. The list of topics will be available in your registration packet and in the ballroom at lunch. Sack lunches will be available to pick up and take to the session of your choice.

Shoot from the Heart & Photography section meeting 1:30 – 3 p.m.
Looking for photographic inspiration and to connect with your fellow OWAA photographers? Hear what a selection of OWAA shutterbugs are most passionate about right now as they share their latest projects, new discoveries, and exciting stories from their journeys in this fast-paced PechaKucha presentation-style event. 

Ethics in Outdoor Television 1:30 – 3 p.m.
Television and video can capture the magic of the outdoors and allow viewers to connect with that experience in a powerful way. But the road to creating television gold is not without its pitfalls, and crossing certain ethical lines can even land you in legal trouble. Join panelists Ron Schara and Dan Small, who have spent their lives filming the outdoor experience, as they tackle some of the ethical and regulatory issues in their industry, spanning various television and broadcast mediums.

Meet the Agents, Publishers and Printers 3:15 – 5 p.m.
Connect with literary agents, publishers and book printers to help advance your book project, whether it’s still in the idea stages or a polished work. Then, after our panel explains their work and role in the book industry, get some face time! Time slots will be available for one-on-one meetings after the panel.

OWAA Membership Meeting 5:15 – 6:45 p.m.
OWAA members are invited to a business meeting hosted by OWAA board president Brett Prettyman and executive director Brandon Shuler. Learn how OWAA has been working for you and its short-term and long-term goals. Voice your feedback in this open forum for general discussion and suggestions.

Welcome Dinner at the Great Lakes Aquarium 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Sponsored by Visit Duluth

The Great Lakes Aquarium inspires people to explore their connection with Lake Superior and the waters of the world. Experience over 30 interactive exhibits including glaciers, lava flows, current weather, environmental problem solving, and geology. The Great Lakes Aquarium has an extensive collection of photographs of Lake Superior, regional Twin Ports landmarks, animals and local legends.

Hospitality Suites 9 – 11:30+ p.m.
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Duluth-Downtown

Roll n Run 6 a.m.
You are invited to run with other fast feet rather than run solo in a new city. This is a no-fuss out and back run with start and finish at the DECC-Harbor Side Convention Center. Run a 5k or a 10k depending on how your head feels. Walkers welcome too.

Registration (Daily) 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Coffee Break Station (Daily) 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sponsored by Mississippi Tourism

3-Day Displays (Daily) 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

EIC Winners Showroom (Daily) 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Press Room (Daily) 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Press Room Sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.

Continental Breakfast 7 – 8 a.m.
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Duluth-Downtown – Lyric Room

Past President’s Meeting 7:30 – 8:30 a.m.

Buses begin for Breakout Day 8 a.m.
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Duluth-Downtown – Superior Street Exit

Breakout Day 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
United Northern Sportsmen Club
Learn about and test the latest firearms, vehicles, watercrafts and outdoor gear from OWAA supporters and local companies. Visit with outdoor destinations, take a test drive or brush up on the most recent happenings with our outdoor organizations. And don’t forget to grab your contest score sheet and track points for the Outdoor Skills Contest!

Section meetings 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
United Northern Sportsmen Club

Lunch at Breakout Day 12:30 – 1:15 p.m.
United Northern Sportsmen Club
Sponsored by National Shooting Sports Foundation

The Evolution of Online Content 2:15 – 3 p.m.

Lessons from the Masters 2:15 – 3 p.m.
Here on OWAA’s 90th anniversary, this session looks back at outdoor writing’s deep roots in the conservation movement through the likes of Aldo Leopold, Sigurd Olson, Gordon MacQuarrie and many others, and how environmental journalism and outdoor writing share a common heritage.

Communicating from the Wilderness 3:15 – 4 p.m.
Communicating from remote locations while on assignment is becoming a necessity. Luckily, satellite technology is getting cheaper, more user-friendly and more accessible than ever. Dave Freeman have used satellite communication for more than 15 years to share some of the world’s wildest places with audiences of all ages. Dave will discuss how to keep cameras and other electronics charged and protected in the field, as well as the latest hardware, apps and techniques allowing you to email, post to social media, blog and send print-resolution images for publication from remote locations where cell towers are nonexistent.

Newsmaker Session 3:15 – 4 p.m.

Meet/Ask the Editors 4:15 – 6:15 p.m.
Acquisitions editors discuss their outdoors publications, unique editorial needs and provide tips on how to sell your work, followed by questions from the audience. Then afterward, they will fan out into the audience to give one-on-one face time! This is a tremendous opportunity to talk in a less formal setting, build relationships and sell your work to prospective buyers. Clip boxes will be available for you to leave samples for any of our editors or publishers.

Supporting Group Business Meeting 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Employees of supporting groups, agencies and businesses are invited to a meeting hosted by Katie McKalip, supporting group liaison to the board, and OWAA executive director Brandon Shuler. An open forum for general discussion and suggestions is welcome.

Silent Auction 5 p.m.

EIC Awards Dinner & Party 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Sponsored by The Wilderness Society

Celebrate our members’ best work from the past year at this fun and entertaining show. After enjoying an audio-video presentation of the award-winners’ work, we’ll eat, drink and dance the night away to live local music!

Hospitality Suites 9 – 11:30+ p.m.
Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Duluth-Downtown

Registration (Daily) 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Coffee Break Station (Daily) 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sponsored by Mississippi Tourism

3-Day Displays (Daily) 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

EIC Winners Showroom (Daily) 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Press Room (Daily) 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Press Room Sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.

Silent Auction 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.

OWAA Board Meeting 7 – 8 a.m.

Breakfast 7:30 – 8:15 a.m.

Keynote #2 8:15 – 9 a.m.
Sponsored by Wildlife Acoustics

Making Initial Contact with Editors 9:15 – 10:15 a.m.
That first outreach to a new editor can be a critical moment whether you are new to outdoor writing or just new to that publication. These tips from editors and freelancers alike will help you create the best first impression and improve your chances to build new relationships and sell your stories.

Will Wolves Help Take Down the ESA? 9:15 – 10:15 a.m.
Growing wolf packs across the northern tier of the United State have ignited a tug-of-war over the future of the Endangered Species Act, carrying the issue to Capitol Hill for legislation aimed at circumventing courtroom stalemates. Should the ESA evolve to survive?

Engaging Your Followers on Instagram 10:30 a.m. – Noon
Crafting a strong social media presence is no small task made harder as new outlets multiply. Instagram has emerged as a powerful tool for many organizations and brands, but using an image-driven platform requires a different approach. Learn how and why to add Instagram to your marketing mix and develop a successful strategy.

Mining the Headwaters of the Boundary Waters: Tracking the Controversy 10:30 a.m. – Noon
With changing regulations and priorities for mining on some federal lands, to what extent should outdoor recreation meccas be protected? This session profiles two large copper mines being proposed in Northern Minnesota, including one within the watershed of the Boundary Waters. Hear the economic, recreation and environmental considerations from a diverse group of panelists and land managers.

Lunch 12:15 – 1:15 p.m.
Sponsored by Nissan North America Inc.

Finding the human story in an adventure 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Outdoor Writing and Politics 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
America has a long, proud history of outdoor writers inspiring the public to defend conservation and our cherished traditions. But in this era of immense partisan division, how do writers sidestep entrenched politics to inform a broader audience, and make a real difference? America’s influential outdoor writers gather for a panel discussion.

Photography Copyrights and Protections 2:45 – 3:45 p.m.
Using the internet to market and sell your photos is almost a no-brainer, but image theft is rampant and tough to avoid even for seasoned professionals. Join this discussion of experts in intellectual property protection and technologies to prevent loss of property—and profit.

Newsmaker Session 2:45 – 3:45 p.m.

Photo Scavenger Hunt Critique 4 – 5:30 p.m.
Win cash and prizes from behind the lens! All attending members are encouraged to enter this fun contest in which professional and amateur photographers submit just one frame of each of the five required subjects, forcing them to “get it right” on a tight deadline. Doubling as both the annual entertaining critique of scavenger hunt entries and a general photo critique, two of OWAA’s top photographers tell us what they like and didn’t like about each photo helping everyone improve their photography skills.

Circle of Chiefs Meeting 5:45 – 6:45 p.m.

Honorary Awards Banquet 7 – 9 p.m.
(Coat and tie recommended.)
This special event and formal dinner recognizes members for their professional achievements and exceptional commitment to OWAA. These awards announced represent the highest honors of OWAA: the J. Hammond Brown Award for devoted service to OWAA; the Excellence in Craft Award for continued excellence in one’s career; the Jade of Chiefs Award for conservation; the Outstanding Board Member Award; and the Jackie Pfeiffer Memorial Award for goodwill, generosity and kindness.

Left Over Luau 9:30 p.m.+
Join your fellow OWAAers as we wrap up another conference with a casual gathering for fun and friendship. Bring a bottle of wine, your beverage of choice or hospitality suite leftovers to share.

© Outdoor Writers Association of America