OWAA Conference — The Driftless Area

Presented by John (Duke) Welter, vice-chair of the National Board of Trustees, Trout Unlimited.

  • 24,000 square mile area in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois.
  • Characterized by a limestone bedrock that was not part of the last glacier activity (10,000 to 12,000 years ago)
  • Other names are blufflands, coulee regions—depending on the location.  Basically same area.
  • Contains about 4,500 to 5,000 miles of coldwater streams in this area that harbor trout.
  • Algific slopes (aka refrigerated slopes).
  • These areas have their own unique insect life.
  • This area has a colorful social history: Trapping and trading, lead mining, Indian conflicts, Underground slave railroad, and more.
  • Upon settlement, much of the soil on the ridge-tops was susceptible to erosion through gully flooding.
  • The depths of the topsoil erosion(down in the lowlands) typically ranges from about 4’ to over 20’ deep.
  • Now, these rivers are carving their way through this eroded soil which comprises the river banks of these trout streams.
  • Contour farming, upland flood control dams, CRP and reforestation all improve the stream culture for trout.
  • Richard J. Dorer (state forest) is a model for reforestation to reduce erosion—both on private and state owned land.
  • If you can control the soil erosion these are really high quality trout streams.
  • Today, the erosion is from the streambanks and not the gully erosion from up higher on the bluffs.
  • For instance, over-grazing on streams breaks down the stream quicker.
  • So what needs to be done?  Move forward the science of watershed restoration.  Get funding for the projects and build regional identity.
  • Marry local TU chapters with a need with other (bigger) TU Chapters that perhaps don’t even have a trout stream in their area.
  • Local communities were also adopting streams and building up the stream quality.
  • Some of the projects have allowed different techniques to be tried to see what works best.
  • Not all efforts are being completed just for the benefit of trout, there are snake hibernaculum and turtle habitat also incorporated into the efforts.  Some valleys even include habitat for migratory songbirds.
  • It was important that for lots of these efforts they needed to have public access guaranteed.
  • The goal has long been not to have any costs on the landowner.
  • Economic impact throughout the region is $1.1 billion per year in this region.
  • Quality of life is another big issue for this region.
  • Why is this area different from other trout spots around the country?  These are small, intimate and challenging streams that can be tremendously challenging for the fisher.
  • It’s a place you go for your fairly private streams…there’s no epicenter of activity (like you find in streams in Western States).  The good fishing is spread out over a large area of the region.
  • “Flyfishing Midwestern Spring Creeks” by Ross Mueller (suggested read)

©2010 Jim Braaten.   All Rights Reserved.   No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

OWAA Session — Sponsored Blogs and Innovative Web Opportunities

The following notes were taken from a craft improvement session of the Outdoor Writers Assn of America (annual conference) on the topic of Sponsored Blogs and Innovative Web Opportunities — presented by Kim Kavin, past president of Boating Writers International (www.bwi.org).

  • www.boatermouth.com and www.charterwave.com are her two websites.
  • If you learn just a little about producing websites you look like a genius to many people.
  • CharterWave became the world’s largest repository of yacht charter content articles.
  • Sponsored blogs are listed on her website (either hosted on her website or the sponsor’s own site).
  • Kim also offers her services as a ghost blogger (writing a blog for someone else).
  • Be smart with URLs (everyone should try to own your own name)
  • www.google.com/trends
  • www.google.com/insights/search
  • Use these two sites to help determine your URL names.
  • Learn some tech basics
  • Follow these Twitter geeks: @LanceUlanoff, @pkafka, @mashable, @NiemanLab
  • Biggest mistake she made…not thinking big enough.  Be fearless.

 ©2010 Jim Braaten.   All Rights Reserved.   No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Becoming An Outdoors Communicator (Part Two) — OWAA Conference

Continued from part one…

Bill Powell (OWAA legal counsel)

  • (Practices law in Columbus, MO.)
  • (Freelance writer)
  • Choice of a business entity.  Be yourself.  Be professional and accurate.
  • Copyright — the right to profit from any creative work.
  • Generally the person who creates the work is the owner of the right to copy that work and benefit financially.
  • If the person who creates something is an employee, then the employer likely owns the copyright to the work. (Work for hire doctrine)
  • There must be a prior, written agreement if this is not the case.
  • Independent contractors are not employees, but do work similar to an employee with some restrictions.
  • As an IC, the presumption is the IC is the owner.   A free-lancer is an IC.
  • If a free-lancer signs a contract (work for hire) then they likely give up their copyright ownership.
  • Registration of copyright is always encouraged.
  • If you do one job and then do freelance work on the side — be able to prove you keep all things separate.
  • After March 1, 1989…it is no longer necessary to include the copyright notice.   But do so anyway.
  • Defamation and slander is two legal areas of trouble for the communicator.   Make sure what you say is clearly identified as opinion if you this could be a problem.
  • Privacy — the law does protect the privacy of certain information.   Know the rules.
  • The presenter keeps referencing a book he wrote entitled: “Legal Handbook For Freelancers” by Bill Powell.
  • Anything you send out electronic is not private.
  • Contracts. The law does not always require a written agreement to be an enforceable contract.
  • Be wary of language speaking of “all rights” or “works for hire.”
  • If asked to sign a contract, don’t be afraid to modify that contract before agreeing to it.

Michael Furtman (talking on book publishing)

  • 1980s were the heyday of outdoor book publishing.
  • In about the year 2000, this changed.  First to go were the large coffee table books.  If people wanted to learn about a subject they turned to these sort of books…then the Internet made things much more available.
  • Book companies began being run by bean counters instead of editors.   Publishing companies became a very traded commodity.
  • Coffee table books are expensive and risky to produce.
  • Guide books tend to sell better.   People will pay for information to read about where they plan to vacation or travel to.
  • Book sales are still good for the presenter, but he points out there is a downward trend.
  • Guidebooks are cheap to produce…usually just a few bucks.
  • People are reading and writing more than ever…just that much of it is being done on the computer.
  • Books can still make money.  You need to be aggressive in your marketing to publishers.
  • Plus, publishers need to be aggressive in marketing your finished work.
  • Publishers will sometimes pay you an “advance” against future royalties.
  • Work for hire projects are a one-time sale of your work (no future royalties)
  • Self-publishing.  Can be very lucrative, but can also be highly risky.
  • Pick titles for your books that will stay on the shelves for decades.
  • Right now the market is in flux…so much dependent on the Internet.
  • Figure out how you as a book writer can tap into the opportunities.

Jody Stemler (communications consultant)

  • Be a generalist…but have the expertise by doing your homework when necessary.
  • It’s not always what you know, but often it’s who you know.   Call on the right people.
  • The beauty of being a consultant or writer, you can choose to live anywhere.
  • Certain states require a business license if you work out of your house.
  • Taxes—pay those estimated taxes.
  • Retirement and benefits is all on your own.
  • Working from home is great…but you have to be a self-starter to succeed.
  • Build relationships to gain clients.  Let people know what you are doing.
  • Fill a niche.  Offer something that other people need.
  • As a consultant, know the objectives of your clients.
  • You have to be detail oriented knowing what you want to accomplish.
  • Meet your deadlines.   Establish a project outline.
  • Be available, but know that there are times when you are not at work (especially when working from home).
  • As a consultant, if you do a good job people are going to hear about it.   If you do a bad job, even MORE people are going to hear about it.
  • If you do a good job the work will flow.

Chris Hunt (Trout Unlimited, non-profit communicating)

  • www.eatmorebrooktrout.com (presenter’s personal website)
  • Earned media — getting the word out without spending lots of money.
  • TU is reaching out to the blogosphere more than they are to print these days.
  • Non-profit outreach is rewarding because you can see it working.
  • It can be challenging to get on the radar to share your goals to the media.
  • The press generally looks to non-profits as “the good guys.”
  • The key is to identify the people who can be most helpful to you.
  • Learn how to “use” the media, in a good way.
  • Control your message and be consistent.  The message needs to correlate with the work the group is doing.
  • Be a real person…the media looks for that credibility.
  • Take the media outdoors and show them what you are trying to do.

Steve Lightfoot (state agency communicating)

  • Works for the Texas Game, Fish and Parks.
  • Considers his work a liaison with the general public.
  • Working for an agency is not a bad thing…most still have money.
  • The traditional communicators are the Public Information officer.
  • Many state agencies have their own magazines or publications.   Many will accept freelance work.
  • Free-lancers can create a niche (such as radio programming) for a department.
  • Agencies are now looking to social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.)
  • When state agencies have cutbacks, this is usually to their full-time staff.   These cuts create opportunities for free-lancers.
  • Approach the agency with the concept of providing contract work.   It can be lucrative.
  • Remember, government has fiscal years.   Sometimes at the end of the year there is money that needs to be used.   Be there for them to spend it on you.
  • Build relationships with the people who make decisions.
  • Be willing to do something different.   This will get you noticed quicker.
  • Government work can get dull…too many forms, procedures, etc.   You also have to rely on politicians at times.
  • Have to be able to think quick on your feet…be flexible.

Robin Giner (OWAA Executive Director)

  • 1927 OWAA was born.
  • This is the 83rd annual writer conference.
  • About 1,000 individual members with about 300 supporting (corporate) members.

 ©2010 Jim Braaten.   All Rights Reserved.   No Reproduction without Prior Permission.