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Fairbanks Hosts OWAA Conference

National Association Goes Back to the Outdoors in Alaska

 Fairbanks, Alaska (AK) – The 85th Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA) conference was held September 4-6, 2012. More than 200 registrants, including over 90 outdoor travel media joined together in Alaska’s Interior to attend “North to Alaska for New Frontiers in Journalism.” The writers are a diverse group, including the “Hook & Bullet” crowd, eco-tourists, nature photographers, Native cultures enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers.

 Chris Batin, the local conference chairman, said that the week exceeded his highest expectations.

 “Everyone involved did an outstanding job in organizing and executing the conference. The OWAA members were ecstatic over the opportunities they were given to experience Alaska for the first time”

 The entire three-day conference took place at Chena Hot Springs Resort and began with a Community Night welcome event, hosted by FCVB. This popular kick-off included more than 21 local businesses and organizations sharing and demonstrating their products and knowledge. The opening reception included an address by North Star Borough Mayor, Luke Hopkins, a traditional native performance by the Pavva Inupiaq Dancers and high-kick demonstrations by World Eskimo-Indian Olympian, Erica Meckel.

 The formal sessions began Tuesday, September 4, with a keynote by Denali National Park and Preserve Superintendent, Paul Anderson. Other Alaskans who presented during the conference included Batin, Editor of Alaska Angler Productions; Dixie Alexander, Director of Cultural Programs at TCC; Angela Linn, Ethnology and History Collections Manager at the UA Museum of the North; Dr. Judith Kleinfeld, Professor Emerita at UAF, and renowned northern lights photographer, Leroy Zimmerman, among others.

 The action-packed conference wrapped up on Thursday, September 6, with the Excellence in Craft and Honorary Awards Dinner, where the overwhelmingly upbeat tone reached a highpoint during a “thank you” speech by host, Bernie Karl.

The FCVB produced a pre and post excursions guide featuring more than 100 opportunities that made Fairbanks and all of Alaska, particularly our closest neighbors, accessible to this prestigious group of writers.

“In my three decades of attending OWAA conferences, it’s the first time we’ve been able to do so many outdoor activities,” said Batin. “I think this will be the standard by which all future conferences are judged.”

 “North to Alaska for New Frontiers in Journalism” was sponsored by the Alaska Department of Community, Commerce and Economic Development, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Alaska Tent and Tarp, and the FCVB.

About the FCVB

The Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau is a non-profit marketing organization whose mission is to enhance the quality of the visitor experience and to contribute to the economic well-being of the Fairbanks region by marketing to potential visitors. The FCVB markets Fairbanks as a year-round destination by promoting local events, attractions and activities to independent travelers, group tour operators, travel agents, meeting planners and the media. Find out more at www.explorefairbanks.com.

About the OWAA

The 1,200-member Outdoor Writers Association of America is the oldest and largest association of professional outdoor communicators in the United States. It was organized in 1927 by members of the Izaak Walton League of America and includes professional communicators dedicated to sharing the outdoor experience. OWAA’s professionals include writers, photographers, outdoors radio and television show hosts, book authors, videographers, lecturers and artists. The association is headquartered in Missoula, Mont. Visit www.owaa.org for more info.

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