Each year for what will soon be a century, many of the nation's best outdoor writers, editors and publishers gather for the Outdoor Writers Association of America's (OWAA) annual conference. The OWAA, founded in 1927, is the largest and oldest association of professional outdoor communicators.
One of the highlights of each year's conference is the OWAA's "Excellence in Craft" awards presentation, where the OWAA announces the results of months of review by its panel of judges, honoring some of the best outdoor writers, photographers and publications for their contributions to the field.
This year, Hatch Magazine is honored to be the recipient of four of OWAA's Excellence in Craft awards. Better put, we at Hatch Magazine are proud to have our contributing writers and photographers recognized for the excellent work we have the privilege of publishing and sharing with our audience, week in, week out. Throughout each year, it is the work of our writers and photographers that make Hatch Magazine what it is.
Here are the four works recognized by OWAA this year.
The Gar Hole | by Johnny Carrol Sain — Magazine: Conservation/Nature | 1ST PLACE
"Point Remove Creek's slow, warm currents dawdle in the lazy hot days of mid-summer. The creek bottom's damp air dawdles, too. It's stagnant, amplifying smells of life and death, and the soured odor of death is strong today. Metallic green and blue bottle flies swarm and cover the corpse of a shortnose gar lying on the silty creek bank. The mucous coating of a fish is irresistible to flies.
The gar was a victim of fiberglass arrow. A thumb-sized hole punched through its midsection is clear evidence. Just a few feet from the dead gar, I catch glimpses of living gar gliding through quiet brown water ..." read more
On Killing Trout | by Tom Hazleton — Magazine: Fishing | 3RD PLACE
"Killing trout is easy. The actual act, at least. I use a four-inch Mora knife for all my trout work, and even its light birch handle has plenty of heft for the job. For a hand-span length trout, one or two sharp raps above the eyes triggers that electric death-shudder, the final sparks of current, and the trout is perfectly limp in hand for the rest of the cleaning process. No twitches, no gill movement, nothing. If I’m lucky there’s some wild mint along the streambank to wrap the fish in before sliding it into my creel.
But then the killing of trout is not easy. It’s a troubling contradiction. To admire the dark gold flanks of a brown trout just moments from its undercut home, with flashes of blue and pearl on its gills and the starscape of black and red spots, unique to that fish alone, never before so arranged and never again to appear — it’s hard to take all that in and then whack it with the handle of a knife ..." read more
Deep and Green | by Chad Shmukler — Photography: Scenic | 1ST PLACE
"We got our first look at the Rio Yelcho as we motored across a bridge spanning its mouth on the way to the lodge from Chaiten’s small airport. We’d been driving through Chile’s northern Patagonian rainforest for the better part of an hour, our attention diverted by the Jurassic flora and mountain scenery that just kept getting better with every passing bend ..." read more
* Words by Chris Hunt
Greenland Rising | by Earl Harper — Photography: Photo Essay | 3RD PLACE
"Greenland, the largest island in the world. Three times the size of Texas, but with a population of less than 60,000 people, it is one of the least populated countries in the world. Though Greenland’s ice sheet still covers around 80% of the island and is almost 10,000 feet thick in places, Greenland’s ice is melting at an astonishing rate due to anthropogenic climate change. Greenland's ice sheet is so thick and immense, that it literally deforms the earth's crust. But with melt season starting earlier each year and lasting longer, the sheet has lost over a trillion tons of ice in recent years. As a result, the bedrock below the island nation is experiencing uplift. Greenland is rising ..." read more
You can view the full list of 2018 OWAA EIC winners here.