Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers visited Wisconsin in September
An organization is only as good as the people who are its members. I belong to the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW), comprised of hard-working and fun-loving outdoor professionals. Lucky for me, this year’s annual conference was hosted in my home state by the city of Fond du Lac Sept. 23-26, so I didn’t have to do a lot of traveling. Outdoor media members and corporate folks get together to network and attend seminars aimed at improving their craft.
Outdoor communicators, tourism departments and some of the best outdoor-related companies in the business met at Lakeside Park the first night. The perfect weather made it easy to converse about the current industry trends and places to seek adventure. The Fond du Lac Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s team of Carrie Stollenwerk, Craig Molitor and Erin Lund did a great job of showing the media members from all over the nation what Fond du Lac offers outdoor enthusiasts. The area is rich with outdoor activities. I am embarrassed to say I have never explored the Fond du Lac area prior to my September visit – and it’s only and hour and a half away from home.
Some media types paddled through the kettles out of Hobie kayaks. They traveled around Mauthe Lake, and up the East Branch of the Milwaukee River which traverses through a state natural area, while they learned about the glacial history of the area. Others tried their hand at fishing Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin’s largest inland lake. Besides fishing Winnebego, I shot pheasants at Hunters Point Hunt Club in Brownsville with Rehan Nana, the public relations specialist for Pheasants Forever, and Doug Stamm, a well known Wisconsin photographer from Sauk County. Over the next few weeks, Rehan and I have a lot to talk about because Pheasant Forever’s Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic will take place in Milwaukee Feb. 14-16, 2014. How exciting! I’ll have more information about Pheasant Fest on this blog leading up to the event.
AGLOW embraces great people like Rehan, and many others. One of our newest members, Jeff Stone, is an action/adventure children’s novelist who has published 750,000 books in 13 languages with his New York City publisher, Random House. I met Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp on the evening of Monday, Sept. 23 at Lakeside Park. Cathy and DNR Department of Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett addressed the AGLOW group.
Sure, I had to take a few days off from my advertising sales position at Outdoor News, but meeting with more than 100-like minded people who share a common belief is worth the time away from work. Taken straight from the bylaws: To perpetuate, conserve, improve and promote the great outdoors, our natural resources, outdoor traditions and the outdoor recreational experience by informing and educating the public through the judicious and responsible use of written, oral and graphic arts communications.
Everyone has something to offer.
The conference always ends with a scholarship auction night that raises money for the three scholarships that AGLOW awards each year to deserving students striving to be outdoor communicators. Wisconsin Outdoor News Editor Dean Bortz did a great job getting the audience to bid on the fantastic prizes the corporate members donated.
Oh, by the way, I am officially an award-winning writer now. I received second place in the awards-in-craft contest. I entered the open newspaper category for a concealed carry piece I wrote that was published in Wisconsin Outdoor News. TOOT! TOOT! The competition is tough, so needless to say I humbly accepted the award.