OWAA is proud to support educational pursuits with scholarships and fellowships for outdoor communicators. Here you’ll find information about the scholarships and fellowships we have to offer as well as links to eligibility and how to apply.

Bodie McDowell Scholarship

Named in honor of former OWAA President Bodie McDowell, these scholarships are awarded annually to three or more students. Each year is different, but individual awards range from $1,000 to $5,000.

Candidates should have clear, significant goals in outdoor communications, examples of work and letters of recommendation. Academic achievement is considered but is not among the top three selection criteria.

Recipients must be students of outdoor communications fields including print, photography, film, art, poetry or broadcasting. Open to eligible undergraduate and graduate students.

Applications are open Jan. 1 – Mar. 30. A link to complete guidelines and to apply (be sure to scroll to the bottom of that page to see the guidelines), via, goes live on January first and then automatically closes on March 30th. 

A backpacker in Yellowstone looks at a waterfall
Photo by Lisa Densmore Ballard
A woman scales a sheer rock wall
Photo by Paul Queneau

John Madson Fellowship

The John Madson Fellowship provides funding to both OWAA members and non-members to attend educational events or opportunities. The event attended can be the OWAA annual conference or some other, non-OWAA, event

Applicants are required to submit a cover letter explaining their need and proposal for continuing education, an itemized budget of miscellaneous expenses and samples of their work (published article or photos, tape of broadcast program, etc.).

The judging committee will select and announce recipients and also confirm funding amounts. After attending the OWAA annual conference or other educational programs, fellowship recipients will submit receipts for reimbursement. Miscellaneous expenses must be itemized. Quality photos and a brief write-up about the experience are very much appreciated.

The fellowship is funded through the John Madson Fellowship Fund, an endowment composed primarily of OWAA member contributions and fundraising efforts. It is designed to honor the legacy of OWAA member John Madson, who encouraged young writers and believed that reading a lot helped make a good writer. The fellowship’s goal is to enhance professional communication skills for OWAA members and non-members.

The application process is open Jan. 1-Mar. 31. A link to complete guidelines and to apply (be sure to scroll to the bottom of that page to see the guidelines), via, goes live on Feb. 15 and then automatically closes on March 30th. 

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