The Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA) conference in Gulf Shores, Alabama September 9-11, 2023 at The Lodge at Gulf State Park promises a dynamic blend of education, camaraderie, and outdoor exploration. Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor media professional or an aspiring storyteller, this event’s schedule offers a multitude of reasons to attend.
Pre-Tours: Immersion into nature’s stories
The conference kicks off with a series of pre-tours that encapsulate the essence of Gulf Shores’ natural wonders. From bird walks and fishing excursions to exploring the Chattahoochee River, these pre-tours provide a glimpse into the diverse outdoor adventures waiting to be explored. For those seeking inspiration and firsthand experiences to fuel their narratives, these tours are a treasure trove.
Knowledge-packed days: Saturday and Sunday highlights
As the heart of the conference, Saturday and Sunday present a robust schedule of workshops, keynotes, and breakouts. Dive into the world of podcasting, discover the art of freelance writing, and delve into the intricacies of building a personal brand. Engage in discussions about the impact of COVID on participation rates, and learn how to communicate conservation policies effectively. From learning to leverage social media platforms to workshops on photography techniques and storytelling, these sessions cater to a spectrum of interests.
Keynotes and insights from the masters
The conference showcases keynote speakers who are trailblazers in their fields. Cory Lee and Dennis Jorgensen promise to offer insights that transcend traditional narratives, providing fresh perspectives on outdoor communication. Amir Eylon and Ben Raines bring a deep understanding of travel trends and environmental conservation, igniting conversations that are essential for today’s outdoor media professionals.
Networking and camaraderie: Invaluable connections
From the Newcomer Orientation to the ‘Off the Record’ Gathering, the conference creates spaces for professionals to connect and share experiences. The Presidents’ Hospitality Event and the Tom Beckbe Happy Hour Activation offer opportunities to unwind, exchange stories, and forge connections that could lead to collaborations and growth in the industry.
Adventure beyond the conference: Gulf Shores exploration
Gulf Shores’ stunning landscapes provide a backdrop for various outdoor pursuits. Attendees can join post-tours to raft through the Chattahoochee River’s rapids, explore oyster farms, and delve into the unique ecosystems of the region. These experiences not only enrich personal narratives but also offer insights into the natural world that can be woven into future stories.
Crafting your story: Workshops and breakouts
The conference’s extensive lineup of workshops empowers attendees with practical skills and insights. From honing your writing craft to understanding the intricacies of podcasting and building a strong online presence, these sessions address the evolving demands of the outdoor media landscape.
Future of outdoor equity: A crucial dialogue
A panel discussion on the future of outdoor equity sheds light on a pressing issue in the industry. The conversation explores ways to ensure inclusivity and diversity within the realm of outdoor media, fostering a more comprehensive and representative narrative.
Awards and recognition: Celebrating excellence
The Excellence in Craft (EIC) Dinner and Honorary Awards Banquet celebrate the finest achievements in outdoor communication. These events provide a platform to recognize exceptional storytelling and the impact of meaningful narratives.
Virtual auction and final proof
The conference concludes with the end of a virtual auction, which allows all OWAA members and conference attendees to bid on unique items and experiences. The final proof hospitality event is a perfect opportunity to reflect on the knowledge gained, connections made, and adventures embarked upon during the conference.
The OWAA conference in Gulf Shores is more than a gathering; it’s a convergence of minds, stories, and experiences. Attendees have the chance to network with like-minded professionals, expand their skill set through workshops, and explore the breathtaking landscapes of Gulf Shores, Alabama.
For outdoor media professionals seeking to elevate their craft, connect with peers, and be inspired by nature’s narratives, this conference is an unmissable opportunity to immerse themselves in the heart of outdoor communication.