Agenda

Click the tabs below to view details about each day of conference.

All conference sessions will take place at the Doubletree/Robinson Center unless otherwise noted.

FRIDAY

9 a.m. – 5 p.m. OWAA Board Meeting

  • Davis Room, Robinson Center
  • Members welcome to observe

1 – 8 p.m. Registration

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock
  • Sponsored by Ducks Unlimited

1 – 8 p.m. Silent Auction

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

3 – 6 p.m. Becoming an Outdoors Communicator

  • Porter Room, Robinson Center
  • This free, three-hour workshop will feature some of OWAA’s top pros giving presentations about their specialties, from writing for magazines to filming outdoor television and everything in between. Join Dan Small and fellow OWAA members for this popular staple of the OWAA conference as presenters share their tricks of the trade with budding professionals.

6 – 6:30 p.m. Green Ribbon Meeting

  • Porter Room, Robinson Center
  • First time at an OWAA conference? Haven’t been in a while? Join program chair Tim Mead and conference planner Jessica Seitz to get the ins and outs of the conference and an insider’s guide to the “can’t miss” events. Meet other OWAA members who have volunteered to act as mentors to help you navigate your first conference.

6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Dinner on your own in downtown Little Rock

  • Meet up with old friends and make new ones while experiencing the great dining options, breweries and distilleries around downtown Little Rock.

8:30+ p.m. President’s Hospitality

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock
  • Come celebrate and help toast OWAA President Paul Queneau for his service over the past year.

SATURDAY

7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Registration (Daily)

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock
  • Sponsored by Ducks Unlimited

7:30 – 8:15 a.m. Opening Breakfast

  • Salon ABC, DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock
  • Sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.

8:15 – 9 a.m. Keynote: Carolyn Finney

  • Salon ABC, DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock
  • Carolyn Finney, PhD is a storyteller, author and a cultural geographer. The aim of her work is to develop greater cultural competency within environmental organizations and institutions, challenge media outlets on their representation of difference, and increase awareness of how privilege shapes who gets to speak to environmental issues and determine policy and action. Along with public speaking, writing, consulting and teaching, she served eight years on the U.S. National Parks Advisory Board, which assists the National Park Service in engaging in relations of reciprocity with diverse communities. Her first book, “Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors,” was released in 2014.

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

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

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

  • Salon D, DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Press Room (Daily)

  • Salon D, DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Coffee Break Station (Daily)

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

9 a.m. – 6:20 p.m. Silent Auction

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

9:15 – 10:45 a.m. Building Diversity in the Great Outdoors

  • Still Ballroom A, Robinson Center
  • Attracting and helping diverse populations take part in outdoor activities is in everyone’s best interest. Grassroots user groups as well as many of the largest outdoor organizations and manufacturers in our country have established programs designed to increase the minority involvement in a wide variety of outdoor activities.  How have they succeeded and where is there room for improvement? 

10 – 11 a.m. Spouse/Partner/Family Welcome

  • Davis Room, Robinson Center
  • 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 during the conference. A Visit Little Rock rep will be on hand to help you plan activities.

11 a.m. – Noon Mixed-use river management

  • Still Ballroom B, Robinson Center
  • Managing water resources is a balancing act between energy production, agricultural and recreational uses, and wildlife needs. As droughts increase, water temperatures rise, and human populations grow, effective management of these often-competing interests is more important than ever. Mismanagement can have lasting financial and social consequences. Representatives from the energy sector, American Rivers and Arkansas’ Buffalo River watershed will discuss how to find this balance.

11 a.m. – Noon Facebook Tools for Journalism Workshop

  • Still Ballroom C, Robinson Center
  • This workshop, sponsored by the Facebook Journalism Project, provides training where journalists of all experiences can learn how to utilize Facebook for reporting, sourcing, story ideas and more. The training focuses on elevating journalists’ understanding of the social media platform, and tools you can use to make the platform serve your needs as a journalist. Our presenter will share products and tools to help leverage Facebook and Instagram for newsgathering and storytelling while connecting with the public.

12:15 – 1:15 p.m. Lunch

  • Sponsored by Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Supporting Groups Business Meeting

  • Still Ballroom A, Robinson Center
  • Employees of supporting groups, agencies and businesses are invited to a meeting hosted by Katie McKalip, supporting group liaison to the board, and OWAA’s interim executive director Phil Bloom. An open forum for general discussion and suggestions is welcome.

1:30 – 3 p.m. Are There No Barriers to a Border Wall?

  • Still Ballroom B, Robinson Center
  • Nothing defines the Trump Administration’s domestic agenda like the proposed border wall between Mexico and the United States. The REAL ID Act, passed in 2005, contained a provision that allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to waive all laws — except the Constitution – for construction of border barriers and associated roads and infrastructure. What’s been built so far has affected several wildlife species. More may further harm already threatened species. Hear pro- and anti-wall speakers present their viewpoints on this contentious topic and an examination of the legal landscape. 

1:30 – 3 p.m. Narrative Outdoor Writing

  • Still Ballroom C, Robinson Center
  • Webster’s defines “to narrate” as “to tell (as a story) in detail.” We narrate to friends and families every day about what happened during the day or since the last time we saw them. How can we make telling our outdoor stories more effective, more compelling? Each story has a beginning, middle and an end. When is it more effective to have the end appear at the outset? Who should the narrator be? Perhaps first person, such as “This happened to me.”  There are no secrets, but you will get some good narrative tips.  

3:15 – 4:30 p.m. Meet the Publishers

  • Still Ballroom B, Robinson Center
  • Connect with book publishers  to help advance your book project, whether it’s still in the idea stages or a polished work. After our panel explains their work and role in the book industry, get your questions answered.

4:45 – 6:15 p.m. Membership Meeting

  • Still Ballroom A, Robinson Center
  • OWAA members are invited to a business meeting hosted by OWAA board president Paul Queneau and OWAA executive director Phil Blom. 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.

6:20 p.m. Silent Auction closes

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Welcome Dinner

  • First Security Amphitheater, Riverfront Park
  • Sponsored by Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau, Arkansas Parks & Tourism, North Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
  • Celebrate the start of the OWAA Conference with dinner on the banks of the Arkansas River. Riverfront Park stretches eleven blocks on the south bank of the Arkansas River in downtown Little Rock. The Park provides 33 acres of urban parkland for outdoor events, leisure activities and a glimpse of the state’s history.

9 – 11:30+ p.m. Hospitality Suites

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

SUNDAY

6 a.m. Roll n Run

  • Roll out of bed and run with us. Kick out your conference kinks with a mild, early-morning 3 miler. Walkers welcome. Meet in the conference hotel lobby. It’s early so skip brushing your hair, but please attend to your teeth.

7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Registration (Daily)

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

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

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

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

  • Salon D, DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Press Room (Daily)

  • Salon D, DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Coffee Break Station (Daily)

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Opening Breakfast

  • Salon ABC, DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

8:45 a.m. Shuttles begin for Demo Day

9 – 11 a.m. Demo Day

  • Bass Pro Shops, Little Rock
  • Learn about and test the latest outdoor gear from OWAA supporters and local companies, visit with outdoor destinations or brush up on the most recent happenings with our outdoor organizations.

9:15 – 9:35 a.m. Magazine section meeting

  • Bass Pro Shops, Little Rock

9:45 – 10:05 a.m. Newspaper section meeting

  • Bass Pro Shops, Little Rock

10:15 – 10:35 a.m. Media relations section meeting

  • Bass Pro Shops, Little Rock

10:45 – 11:05 p.m. Broadcast section meeting

  • Bass Pro Shops, Little Rock

11:30 a.m. Shuttles end from Demo Day

Noon – 12:45 p.m. Lunch

1 – 2:15 p.m. Syndicating Your Work in Small Outlets

  • Still Ballroom C, Robinson Center
  • How do you reach more readers and expand your markets by either self-syndicating or using a syndicate to do the hard work for you? Whether you are a writer or broadcast personality on television or radio, the presenters on this seminar will present information critical to your success. Hear our panelists explain how they’ve worked on an individual basis to expand their audiences and reach across their states and regions. Lots of time for questions and answers, too.

1 – 2:15 p.m. Deep Well Injection: Cost vs. Benefit

  • Still Ballroom B, Robinson Center
  • The processes of hydraulic fracturing and deep well injection have been effective in recovery of previously unreachable oil and gas assets. While the resurgence of the country’s petroleum industry has had a positive impact on our economy, has the benefit been worth the cost of reported community water degradation? Industry representatives and environmental advocates will present an in-depth look at both sides of this issue.

2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Forest Fire Management

  • Still Ballroom B, Robinson Center
  • Devastating forest fires have dominated summer news for the last several years. Though most of the attention has focused on fires in the West, fires also occur in other states. In 2012, more than 21,000 acres burned near Michigan’s Two Hearted River. Arkansas averages 1,000 wildfires annually, according to that state’s Forestry Commission. Of course, not all fires have long-term negative consequences. Forests provide critical habitat for wildlife, protect watersheds important to fishing, and places where outdoor people can go to refresh their souls. Are wildfires increasing? What policies should the national, state and local governments as well as private land owners do to manage fires?     

2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Product review relationships and expectations

  • Still Ballroom C, Robinson Center
  • Products provided for gear reviews can be a win-win situation. Product marketers want an authentic voice to represent their products to consumers. Outdoor journalists have the skills and know-how to test the product and communicate that experience to their audiences. But to make the relationship between marketers and journalists successful, it’s important for both parties to understand the expectations. With return on investment and earned media impressions driving marketing budgets, hear what various product manufacturers expect when they get requests for demo gear. Knowing what to ask a marketing representative up front can help you determine if their gear will be a good fit for the project or stories you have in mind.

3:45 – 5:45 p.m. Meet/Ask the Editors

  • Still Ballroom A, Robinson Center
  • 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.

6 – 8:30 p.m. EIC Awards Party & Dinner

  • Stella Boyle Smith Grand Terrace, Robinson Center
  • Celebrate our members’ best work from the past year at this fun and entertaining show on the Robinson Center terrace overlooking the Arkansas River.

9 – 11:30+ p.m. Hospitality Suites

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

MONDAY

7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Registration (Daily)

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock
  • Sponsored by Ducks Unlimited

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

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

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

  • Salon D, DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Press Room (Daily)

  • Salon D, DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Coffee Break Station (Daily)

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

7 – 8 a.m. OWAA Board Meeting

  • Davis Room, Robinson Center

7 – 8 a.m. Past Presidents’ Meeting

  • Porter Room, Robinson Center

7:30 – 8:30 a.m. Breakfast

  • Salon ABC, DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock

8:45 – 9:45 a.m. Examining the Ethanol Mandate

  • Still Ballroom B, Robinson Center
  • The Renewable Fuel Standard Program was established by Congress to reduce greenhouse gases and carbon monoxide emissions. It mandates plant-based fuels be added to all consumer fuels. The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced an increase in the formula from 10 percent to 15 percent. To meet the requirements, farmland, especially in the Midwest and Plains states, is being converted to produce corn ethanol and soy diesel, but there have been unintended consequences – damage to boat engines and impacts on wildlife. Representatives from the EPA, National Marine Manufacturers Association and National Wildlife Federation will discuss the impacts of ethanol fuels.

8:45 – 9:45 a.m. Social media Influencers

  • Still Ballroom C, Robinson Center
  • Want to boost your social media game? Individuals with large social media followings are in demand from companies and other content platforms to help boost their messages to a wide online audience. These new outlets have allowed people to monetize their social media presence by working with brands and agencies to generate content. Hear from marketing agencies how these relationships work and how to break into this new world of online opportunity.

10 a.m. Buses begin for Field Skills Day

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Field Skills Day

  • Dr. James E. Moore Jr. Camp Robinson Firing Range
  • Join us for an outing to test your skills and learn some new ones. Stations will include shooting demos, driving demos, water demos and outdoor skills such as Dutch oven cooking, field dog training and more.

10:45 a.m. Education Committee Meeting

  • Dr. James E. Moore Jr. Camp Robinson Firing Range
  • Join the Education Committee to brainstorm ideas on how best to reach out to young writers. Anyone interested in education (and future OWAA members) is welcome. 

11:30 a.m. Photo section meeting

  • Dr. James E. Moore Jr. Camp Robinson Firing Range

12:30 – 1:15 p.m. Lunch at Field Skills Day

  • Dr. James E. Moore Jr. Camp Robinson Firing Range
  • Sponsored by National Shooting Sports Foundation

2 – 3 p.m. Climate Change and Wildlife

  • Still Ballroom B, Robinson Center
  • Climate change is having an impact on wildlife and fish stocks by altering their home ranges, migration routes, and behavior patterns. Anglers and hunters are witnessing these changes which can also affect their success. This seminar will explore how state and federal agencies and conservation groups are addressing the challenge of managing wildlife and fisheries in the face of climate change and how they are helping wildlife, sportsmen and sportswomen adapt to a changing landscape.

2 – 3 p.m. Growing Your Audience Organically: Strategies for Optimizing Content

  • Still Ballroom C, Robinson Center
  • The search landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years for content creators, publishers and audiences alike. This session will cover fundamental strategies for content optimization of text, images and video that can help increase visibility of your work and expand your audience. 

3:15 – 4:15 p.m. Pedal powering a path to shared landscapes

  • Still Ballroom B, Robinson Center
  • The nation’s thousands of miles of trails and pathways offer connections to the outdoors for all types of people—from mountain bikers and cyclists, to anglers, runners, hikers and those simply seeking a respite in nature. While all find joy in their trail experience, learning how to use the trail together is a matter of expectations and etiquette. The International Mountain Biking Association, Rails to Trails Conservancy, and Walton Family Foundation are leading this drive to guide sustainable landscape use while increasing the benefit for all users.

3:15 – 4:15 p.m. Getting a Start on Novel Writing

  • Still Ballroom C, Robinson Center
  • Do you have dreams of writing fiction? Is a novel in your future? If so, join like-minded OWAAers in a seminar designed to help you jumpstart your career as a novelist. This roundtable-style session will cover how to choose a subject, how to develop the discipline necessary to begin—and finish—a work of 100,000 or more words, plot development, creating believable dialogue and fashioning powerful characters.

4:30 – 5:45 p.m. Photo Scavenger Hunt Critique

  • Still Ballroom B, Robinson Center
  • Win cash and prizes from behind the lens! All attending members are encouraged to enter this entertaining contest pitting professional and amateur photographers to submit just one frame for five designated subjects, challenging participants to capture each topic’s essence on a tight deadline. This is followed by an entertaining critique and light-hearted roast of scavenger hunt entries, hosted by two of OWAA’s top photographers, helping everyone improve their photography skills.

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

  • Davis Room, Robinson Center

7 – 9 p.m. Honorary Awards Banquet

  • Still Ballroom A, Robinson Center
  • (Coat and tie recommended.)
  • This special event and formal dinner recognizes members for their professional achievements and exceptional commitment to OWAA. These awards 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; and the Jackie Pfeiffer Memorial Award for goodwill, generosity and kindness. Awards for Outstanding Board Member and Committee Volunteer of the Year will also be presented.

9:30+ p.m. Leftover Luau

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Little Rock
  • 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