OWAA names 2023 Excellence In Craft Contest winners 

Writer Christine Peterson Leads Way with Six Awards 

An adult loon surrounded by chicks
1st Place Photography Winner | Fauna Category | Loon Lift by Derrick Z. Jackson

OWAA leadership revealed the winners of our 2023 Excellence In Craft (EIC) Contest and the President’s Choice Awards at our annual conference in Gulf Shores, Alabama. 

Christine Peterson received six awards, while James Smedley, Dan Small and Brent Frazee took home five awards each. 

The EIC Contest honors the best-of-the-best in a variety of communications formats – Blog, Book, Column, Graphic/Illustration, Magazine, Newspaper, Photography, Photography Essay, Radio/Podcast, and TV/Video/Webcast. 

The President’s Choice Awards also were announced. The awards were selected by outgoing OWAA President Katie McKalip from among the 34 first-place winners in the Blog, Magazine, Newspaper, Photography, Radio/Podcast, and TV/Video contests. 

The overall President’s Choice Award was presented to “Wildlife Photographer: The Life of Karl Maslowski,” a documentary by Steve Maslowski of Ohio that aired on PBS stations in Ohio, Kentucky, and elsewhere. Maslowski’s documentary is about Karl Maslowski (1913-2006) and his career as an outdoor photographer. 

A puffin in flight with a fish in its mouth
1st Place Photography Winner & President’s Choice Award | Action Category | So Sorry, Saury by Derrick Z. Jackson

In addition to “Wildlife Photographer: The Life of Karl Maslowski” for the TV/Video/Webcast, other President’s Choice Awards went to: 

  • Blog – “Condor Spotting: Wildlife Watching and Optimism” by Matthew Miller (Idaho), Cool Green Science 
  • Magazine – “Mike Hester’s Dogged Pursuit” by Russell Worth Parker (North Carolina), Garden and Gun Magazine 
  • Newspaper – “I’m here to be visible’” by Mark Freeman (Oregon), Medford (Ore.) Mail Tribune  
  • Photography – “So Sorry, Saury” by Derrick Z. Jackson (Massachusetts), The Maine Monitor  
  • Radio/Podcast – “Outdoor Afro and Nature Swag with Rue Mapp” by John Kruse (Washington), America Outdoors Radio network 

Peterson (Wyoming) collected three first-place awards. Her firsts were in Blog, Conservation or Nature for “What’s the Weirdest Animal Courtship? Here Are 4 Candidates” in Cool Green Science; Magazine, Family Participation/Youth Outdoor Education, for “A letter to my daughter: When the world feels on the brink of collapse, can a child bring us back?” in TROUT; and Magazine, Fishing for “Trout Fishing in the West Isn’t Doomed—If You’re Willing to Work for It” in Outdoor Life.  

Of five awards, Smedley won four first-place awards. Three of which were in the Photography contest, for his photos “Serving lunch” in Northern Ontario Travel for the People category, “Three Canoes on Superior” in The Sault Star for Outdoor Adventure, and “On the Edge” in Algoma Country 2022 Partnership Package for Family Participation/Youth Outdoor Education. He also won first place in the Newspaper, Fishing category for “Going Deep: Snowshoe to Square Tail” for The Sault Star. He is from Ontario, Canada. 

Small (Wisconsin) won first-place in the Newspaper/Hunting or Shooting Sports category for “A Little on “Two-Fers” and Doubles” published in Wisconsin Outdoor News among his other four awards. His remaining four awards included three in the Radio/Podcast contest and one in the TV/Video/Webcast contest. 

Frazee (Missouri) won a total of five awards. Two were in the Blog, Fishing winning second for “Bass fishing and good parents were his ticket out of the inner-city” and third for “Takahiro Omori is living the American Dream”. Both were published in Your Bass Guy.  

EIC launched a new contest this year, the Open contest, to accept multimedia entries that traditionally would have not qualified in other contests. Candace Dantes (Georgia), won first place for her entry “Outdoor Afro’s ‘Year of Operations’” published in Outdoor Afro: 2022 Annual Report. Dantes also won first place in Blog, Gear/Technical for her piece “Made Together: Outdoor Afro + REI Co-op” in REI Co-op: Uncommon Path. 

Miller and Kruse each won two additional first-place awards besides the ones chosen for President’s Choice.  

Miller’s were in the Blog contest. One was in the Fishing category for “Fishing for Science on Palmyra Atoll” in Fishing and the other was in the Outdoor Adventure category for “Wildlife Sightings: Share or Stay Quiet?” Both were published in Cool Green Science

Kruse’s additional first-place awards were in Radio/Podcast for “Idaho Hunts to Remember with Jason Brooks” in the Hunting/Shooting Sports category and for “The Disabled Hikers Guide” in the Outdoor Adventure category. Both aired on Northwestern Outdoors Radio Network

In addition to his entry selected for President’s Choice Award, Derrick Z. Jackson (Massachusetts) won a first-place award in Photography, Fauna for his photo “Loon Lift” published in A.T. Journeys Magazine. His piece “The Right Foundation” in A.T. Journeys Magazine, co-authored with Michelle D. Holmes, also won two awards in Blog for Outdoor Adventure and Family Participation/Youth Outdoor Education categories. Including his co-authored pieces, Jackson won a total of 5 awards. 

Tom Carney (Michigan) and Andrew Marshall (Nevada) both took home two first-place awards. 

Carney’s two wins were in the Magazine contest in the Gear/Technical category for “The Road, Traveled” and in Humor for “Lying for the Cause”. Both were published in Woods-n-Water News

Marshall won first in in Blog, Humor – “Memoirs of Hiker Box Meals: The Good, the Bad, and the (Almost) Unmentionable” for the Appalachian Gear Company Blog. His second was in Magazine, Outdoor Adventure for “The Heart of the Appalachian Trail” published in Virginia Economic Review

A total of 132 EIC awards were presented to 71 OWAA members. View the full list of winners on our website

This year’s contest was sponsored by Friesens Publishing, Henry Repeating Arms, Izaak Walton League, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation. This year’s contest also received a pledge from the Cochran family for the Humor categories in honor of the late Bruce Cochran, a long time OWAA member and multi-year EIC award winner. 

If you’re in the outdoor media space and would like to submit your work in the next Excellence in Craft contest, learn more about OWAA and stay up to date on our contests here!

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