Best in the West: OWAC Recognizes Region’s Top Outdoors/Adventure Media Communication Pros

Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) – the leading organization of professional outdoor media communicators in the western region – has announced their annual Excellence in Craft Award winners.

From fly-fishing to leaf peeping, cooking on the trail to vital legislation news and more, OWAC members have been bringing the breadth and grandeur of California’s outdoor opportunities, news and destinations to the public for nearly four decades.

And at no time has the valuable contribution of OWAC’s skilled members been more vital than now, when current events have forced massive shutdowns: and the public has flocked outdoors.

“An unwavering commitment to excellence and professional involvement in the outdoor media arts shone through in this year’s entries,” said OWAC President Carrie Wilson. “I am proud to announce these awards, and recognize these individuals for promoting the recreational prospects, issues and beauty of our great state.”

The annual Excellence in Craft program acknowledges distinction and professionalism in reportage of outdoor recreation, sports and travel in both news and feature categories; in the print, web and broadcast media. Entries must have been published or aired during the prior calendar year, and are judged by a panel of media professionals and editors.

Due to the pandemic and subsequent cancelation of the organization’s annual conference, the awards were conveyed remotely.

Winners in each category are as follows:

OWAC Outdoor Writer of the Year

  1. John Poimiroo, El Dorado Hills, Calif.

Best Outdoor News Article

  1. Tom Martens – “The Good Fight: Dam Removal” California Fly Fisher Magazine
  2. Judy Zimmerman – “Quebec’s Winter Carnival”  Gold River Living Magazine
  3. Judy Zimmerman – “Switzerland’s Unique Travel System”  Gold River Living Magazine

Best Outdoor Feature Article

  1. Tom Martens – “The Good Fight: Trout Regulations” California Fly Fisher Magazine
  2. Gary Graham – “Big Money Billfish”
  3. Greg Niemann – “Moonlight Clambake” Baja Bound Newsletter

Best Outdoor Column

  1. Judy Zimmermann – “Shangri-la in Idaho’s Sawtooth …” Gold River Living Magazine
  2. Tom Martens – “The Good Fight: Politics of Fishing” California Fly Fisher Magazine
  3. Matt Johanson – “Positive Thinking Turns Fools Gold” Calaveras Enterprise

Best Outdoor Guidebook

  1. Inga Aksamit – “The Hungry Spork Trail Recipes”
  2. Mary West – “Gold Country Trail Guide II” 

Best Outdoor Feature Photograph

  1. John Poimiroo – “Red Lake Creek Cabin”
  2. Philip Reedy – “Cover” Northwest Flyfishing Magazine
  3. Don Vachini – “Backcountry Boot” Southwest Fly Fishing Magazine

Best Outdoor Action Photograph

  1. Philip Reedy – “Advice from Grandpa  Trout Unlimited Calendar 2020
  2. Ray Rychnovsky – “Geese Taking Wing”
  3. John Poimiroo – “Ducks Landing”

Best Outdoor Photographic Series

  1. John Poimiroo – “Mass Ascension”
  2. Philip Reedy – Cover,
  3. Ray Rychnovsky – Calendar Series

Best Outdoor Radio Show

  1. John Henigin – Fish Talk Radio

Best Outdoor Radio Feature

  1. John Henigin Fish Talk Radio

Best Outdoor Video

  1. John Poimiroo –

Best Outdoor Internet Site

  1. John Poimiroo –     

Best Outdoor Internet Article

  1. Greg Niemann – “Pasqual the Clam Man” Baja Bound Newsletter

Best OWAC Conference Related Work

  1. Barbara Steinberg – “California Rambling: Sonoma Spring Days” Mountain Democrat
  2. Barbara Steinberg – “California Rambling: California’s Laughing Waters” Mountain Democrat
  3. John Poimiroo –

John Reginato Conservation Award

  1. John Henigin – Fish Talk Radio
  2. John Poimiroo – “Why Wildfires Pose an Existential Threat …”
  3. Gary Graham – “Gray Fishtag Research”

Outdoor Medium of the Year

  1. Philip Reedy – Southwest Flyfishing Magazine
  2. Gary Graham –
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Picture of Betsy Senescu (Crowfoot)

Betsy Senescu (Crowfoot)

First hired by a boating news editor in 1995 “against his better judgement” Betsy Senescu has been photographing and writing about boating and the marine environment ever since. In that time she’s sailed more than 50,000 miles (including three Transpacs), traveled on assignment to six continents, done grocery shopping in seven languages, and caught hundreds of fish, but never once attempted to hula (she knows better). Betsy lives with her darling new husband Barry in SoCal, where they race their Class 40 Yippee Kai Yay.


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