By John Pollman
I discovered OWAA in 2008 while searching for information on outdoor writing on the Internet. At the time, I was finishing work on a graduate degree in music – an experience that made me realize that, while I truly enjoyed writing about Bach’s “B-minor Mass” and Britten’s “War Requiem,” what I’d love to write about was the outdoors.
After reading about OWAA, I was encouraged to see that I could join the group as an associate member, and what was even better, the next annual conference was being held in Bismarck, N.D., only hours from my home in South Dakota.
From the very moment that I sat down to hear Joel Vance, Mark Taylor, Mark Freeman, Lisa Densmore, Tony Dean and the other OWAA members talk about how to become an outdoors communicator, I knew without a doubt that I was in the right place. Here was a group of people who not only shared a similar passion for the outdoors, but were also willing to open the door to others so they could learn how to communicate this passion with others.
I am proud to say that since that first conference, I have earned Active membership. It probably comes as no surprise that my first published article stemmed directly from a contact that I had made in Bismarck. Last year, my wife and I enjoyed a great trip to Grand Rapids, Mich., where I was able to reconnect with many that I had met the year before, and we are looking forward to more trips in the future.
There are many, many things that I have to learn about this field, but my time in Bismarck was the first step in the right direction. I am sure that the decision to let people like me join the OWAA was not an easy one, but I am extremely thankful that I was given the chance.
By John Pollman