The Excellence in Craft Awards (EIC) presented by the Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) is a program designed to recognize excellence in the field of outdoor journalism and media communications by media professionals on topics related to the outdoors.

The contest opens for entries on Monday, March 1, 2021 at 6am PST. The contest is open to current OWAC members only and we encourage previous members to reinstate membership and non-members to join right away to enter this prestigious program.

In keeping with OWAC’s mission, “to expand public information on outdoor recreation and conservation,” these awards are a recognition of excellence as adjudicated by peers in the field of outdoor media communications.

The awards are given for original works published in the prior calendar year (2020) that have a clear connection to the outdoors, including, but not limited to: outdoor recreation, wildlife, public lands, outdoor sports, nature, travel and other outdoor subjects. The majority of the categories focus on writing published in any medium – traditional (print and free-to-air broadcast) or new media (all digital platforms), plus categories for audio, visual, multimedia, and digital communication.

In a number of firsts this year, this awards program has been revamped to provide a simpler, faster, and more rewarding experience for contestants.

Cash Prizes

The first big news is the offer of cash prizes for the top places in each category, as merited by the adjudication panel. This is in addition to the pride and prestige of recognition by the leading organization of outdoor media professionals in the west and beautifully designed digital certificates.

Cash Prizes as merited will be given to:

1st place = $75

2nd place = $50

3rd place = $25

15 Categories

Secondly, the program has been streamlined to offer 15 categories of which 13 are open for entries. The categories are more broadly defined which simplifies choosing the right work for the right category. See all the categories here.

Digital Platform

Lastly, the program is being hosted on an all-digital platform at This provides a much easier submission process with options for review, correction, and withdrawal as needed. The payment gateway is quick and easy via PayPal. Judging is unbiased and consistent and the entire program is efficient and secure. The EIC Awards website can be found here.

Get ready

Before you register for the awards please read the full contest rules here.

If you would like to reinstate a lapsed membership complete the form at the bottom of the EIC page. We will send you a link to restart your membership. If you have never been a member please read the information on our Join Us page and complete the application form.

We will make every effort to expedite the member application process in time for the contest window starting Monday, March 1 and closing on Thursday, April 15.

Good luck!


Please register first before you try to submit entries. Click on the graphic below to see how. 

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OWAC Board of Directors

OWAC is a non-profit association of media professionals who communicate the vast array of outdoor recreational opportunities and related issues in California, the surrounding western region, and beyond. The membership includes newspaper and magazine staffers, freelance writers, book authors, radio broadcasters, video producers, editors, photographers, artists, lecturers and information officers. OWAC’s spring and fall conferences, held in some of California’s most beautiful outdoor settings, showcase the organization’s principal programs.


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