Why do we do it? For the sheer love of the art? For the money?

Some of the impetus that drives us to continue in our quest for publication is the pride we feel at seeing our work honed to perfection and shared with all the world.

OWAC strives to recognize the superior work created by our membership through the annual OWAC Craft Awards and the 2019 contest is now open submissions. Download and print out the rules and the submissions form and send in your entries for judging.

The final date for entry post mark is February 15, 2019, so start pulling together those published works you feel are worth of praise and award. No matter what your medium might be, you could achieve that highest honor, having your entry selected as work by the 2019 OWAC Writer of the Year.

OWAC-2019-Awards-Entry-form.pdf  /  2019 Craft-Rules.pdf

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October-November 2019 Newsletter

October - November 2019 Newsletter

Californian of the Year

Candidates Introduced

Californian of the Year was established by OWAC in 1993. The award is the most prestigious given by OWAC to honor "outdoors men and women who have done the most to improve the environment and save fish and wildlife in California."

Past recipients have been teachers, biologists, wildlife advocates, politicians, lands agency managers and everyday citizens who have taken up a cause benefitting the environment, wildlife and/or fish.

Active and supporting members of OWAC make the selection. This year, we have four candidates for the honor: Paul Bonderson, Jr., Lori Gray, Al Kalin and Dick Pool.

All OWAC members are asked to read the following biographies, then vote after receiving a ballot.

Here are this year's candidates:

Paul Bonderson, Jr.

Paul Bonderson, Jr. has spent a lifetime to support conservation, wetlands and waterfowl, and became the first (volunteer) President of Ducks Unlimited from California in 35 years. He then completed his term last year as Chairman of the Board. As president of DU, he formed a link with Audubon to protect wetlands habitat and started a crusade to raise $2 billion to buy and protect breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere.

Bonderson has applied his goals to his own properties. At his 2,500-acre ranch in the Butte Sink near Colusa, for instance, Bonderson and his sons converted 1,500 acres from rice fields to wetlands, and put up 500 wood duck boxes. He has hosted and financed youth groups to take part in wildlife education courses at his ranch. The students range from anti-hunting vegans to youth hunters, all who completed the course with success, side-by-side.

Bonderson bridged the gap between duck hunters, including those from the California Waterfowl Association, and nature lovers, including from the Audubon Society, by acting to protect wetlands habitat that provides homes for more than 200 species of birds along with dozens of species of wildlife and endangered species. He also works personally with the chiefs of many state and federal agencies..

As a hunter, Bonderson has traveled and hunted across the hemisphere and beyond, literally world-class in scope, always projecting the highest sense of ethics, sportsmanship and skill. He was voted into the California Outdoors Hall of Fame in 2018.

Lori Gray

Born three months premature and addicted to drugs and alcohol in 1961, Lori describes herself as multi-disabled, vision-impaired, asthmatic and epileptic.

In spite of her disabilities, what she does is “fight and challenge.” For 23 years she worked with Environmental Traveling Companions, providing whitewater rafting and camping for the disabled. At 16, Lori started volunteer rowing on rafting trips. By 18, she was an assistant guide. Her rowing partner was a post-polio man. “He was the eyes – good at reading the water – and I was the muscle.”

For the past 20 years Lori has run the Adventures & Outings program for Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program. In 2018 they did 110 trips.

As Program Coordinator, Lori schedules the events, arranges transportation and recruits volunteers. Participants choose among year-round weekly outdoor recreation activities, group adventure trips, and urban outings for a variety of ages, interests and abilities. The program creates new friendships, builds social connections, and connects people to nature and to their communities, challenging them to try new things.

Lori distinguishes between taking someone on a trip and facilitating them to go on a trip. “If you take someone they’re not the captain of their destination. People think that disability is a life stopper. I have the fortune of having had some form of disability my whole life. I already knew of what I was capable. Hopefully through nature and recreation, others will figure out of what they’re capable.”

From the Desk of:

Executive Director, Bob Semerau


Hello fellow OWAC members,

OWAC is alive, well, and moving forward.

Our finances are at a level not seen in 10-years with general accounts balance at over $19,000 and our endowment funds for charitable work approaching the $15,000 mark.

Members have requested improvements to the OWAC.org website and your board has responded.

Action has been taken, forming a committee composed of John Asel, Gigi de Jong and John Poimiroo to explore various platforms and their cost and expected results. If you have any input for the re-development of the site, please email Josh Asel: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Californian of the Year is looking great with four candidates announced in this newsletter.

Conference options for this coming spring continue to open and we will make notifications when a venue is confirmed.

With the fall days are upon us the outdoor world is alight with vibrant colors and the best weather of the year. A perfect season to get out and find a story to tell. They can be found in the most beautiful places and we are the people to make it happen.

Bob Semerau, Executive Director



Board of Directors

Carrie Wilson


Carol Martens


Bob Semerau

Executive Director

Members at Large

Josh Asel

Betsy Crowfoot

Gigi de Jong

Chris Langley

Tom Martens

John Poimiroo

Peter Schroeder

Barbara Steinberg

John Williams



PO Box 50136

Oxnard, CA 93031

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Chris Langley


Masthead Photo:

Apple Hill, John Poimiroo


Al Kalin

Al Kalin has been a tireless promoter of both outdoor pursuits and the environment, especially in the Imperial Valley, where his family was a pioneer in the farming and cattle business dating back to 1915.

Al contributed significantly in the effort to save the Salton Sea. A farmer responsible for the runoff from his fields into the Sea, he became expert in reducing the impact of agricultural runoff on the Sea. He developed a method for drastically reducing the amount of silt from Ag fields that runs into the Sea. This provided a way for farmers to comply with State regulations without undo expense. This also helped to reduce drastically the amount of pesticides washed into the Sea. This best management practice addressed two of the main environmental issues that farmers had to solve to save the Salton Sea.

Al pioneered using native plants to restore Imperial Valley wetlands, developing a method for germinating mesquite trees and growing them for replanting in restoration projects. As advisor for Desert Wildlife Unlimited he installed watering guzzlers essential for the survival of indigenous mammals and birds.

For 26 years, Al was the head designer at Kalin Lure Company. At its peak, Kalin Lures were found in the tackle boxes of 29 percent of all fisherman in the United States.

Al Kalin deserves consideration as OWAC’s Californian of the Year 2019. He was a regular Imperial Valley Press columnist and contributed to Western Outdoor News and California Waterfowl magazine.


Dick Pool

Dick Pool started as a tackle inventor who employed innovative underwater film techniques to design his tackle. He then advanced as a leader for the conservation of California salmon and steelhead, a role he has played for more than 30 years. 

He is considered as one of the prime persons who advocated for the restoration of California's salmon fishery. He continues to fight against extinction of the salmon.

However, Pool's renown began after he developed an underwater system to film and watch salmon lures being trolled. With that information, he invented the Salmon Rotary Killer and helped open up the world of down-rigger trolling on the California coast.

When we figured out how to film trolled lures and then watched a big salmon make 17 passes at a lure without getting hooked, it was like watching the greatest secret show on Earth,” Pool said.

Pool has served on numerous state and federal salmon advisory committees and has testified as an expert witness on salmon issues before the California Legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives. 

His appointments include the California Fish and Game Upper Sacramento Salmon and Steelhead Advisory Committee; the advisory committee on winter-run salmon for the National Marine Fisheries Service; and the Board of Directors for the American Sportfishing Association.




President’s Message

With fall now upon us, the days are transitioning and becoming shorter, the mornings a little crisper, and in the higher elevations the first bursts of California’s spectacular fall colors displays are busting out all over. Soon the brilliant yellows, reds and oranges will spread throughout the mountains, foothills and into the lush valleys below.

We are so fortunate to live and work and promote the outdoors in this beautiful picturesque state. And, should anyone have any doubts about the depths of California’s rich and colorful landscape, a quick click of californiafallcolor.com will convince any doubters otherwise!

Speaking of transitions, OWAC’s website is going through one of its own. The first new and improved rendition should be ready to unveil by our next newsletter. As the website changes and grows, members can expect it to contain more articles and photos by OWAC members, lots of craft improvement tips, archived photos and articles from past conferences, lists of previous EIC award winners from over the years along with examples of their winning entries, a more simplified member sign-up and renewal page, and a whole lot more.

There’s no doubt this will be a work in progress to begin with, but thanks to the enthusiasm and expertise of Josh Asel, Gigi de Jong and John Poimiroo who have all stepped up with an interest and talents to help make this possible, we should have a new and easy to maneuver website loaded with a lot more member content very soon!

Also coming up, please keep your eyes open for your opportunity to vote for this years OWAC “Californian of the Year” award winner. This is the most prestigious award that we give each year to someone who is selflessly doing good things to improve California’s outdoors or to help others better

enjoy the outdoors. More information on the award and the biographies of the four nominated candidates can be found below in this newsletter.

Rest assured that your OWAC Board of Directors are working hard behind the scenes throughout the year. All is going well, OWAC is financially healthy again, membership numbers are good, and you might

notice that the newsletters now have a new look and feel.

Over the last six months, three different guest editors (Bob Semerau, Josh Asel and, for this issue, John Poimiroo) have graciously stepped in to build each bi-monthly issue with their own creative talents and flair while our regular newsletter editor, Chris Langley, recovers from an illness. All newsletters have looked great and been fun to read.

One thing we are always in need of for each issue, though, is more news and content from members, so please consider submitting some of your articles, photos or news. In this issue, we include three member profiles, two from renewing members and one from a past member. It's great learning about the amazing things OWAC members are accomplishing.


Carrie Wilson, President

Outdoor Writers Association of California



Will AB 5 End Freelance Journalism in California?

New restrictions placed on independent contractors could eliminate work for freelancers who submit 35 or more articles/photographs to a single medium.

The new law, Assembly Bill 5, specifies that beyond 35 assignments, a freelancer must be treated like an employee, which is predicted to limit freelancers to no more than 35 assignments in a year, for a given media company.

As employees, workers are covered by state laws, re: minimum wage, worker's compensation coverage, workplace discrimination and other protections, but as freelancers they are not, the Columbia Journalism Review reported.

In March, the CJR reported that some publishers have responded to a court ruling by cutting ties with freelancers based in California.

What freelancers worry about is that after 35 assignments, their customers will stop giving them assignments, effectively eliminating paid freelance work.

Catherine Fisk, a professor of labor law at the University of California, Berkeley, was reported by CJR as saying the 35-byline rule is an attempt by the legislature “to distinguish between people who are really, effectively, a staff writer and people who are truly freelancers.” 

A concern of freelancers who work for several differently branded media owned by the same parent company is that they'll be cut off from additional assignments once they reach 35 submissions for all the parent company's brands, even though those brands may have their own staffs.

AB 5 became law in early September. its impact on freelance outdoor writers has not yet been measured. OWAC members are encouraged to keep the Association in formed, should it prove to be limiting your ability to obtain assignments.


Putting a Face on Outdoor Writing

Did you know that nearly 70-percent of US adults have a Facebook

account? Facebook is the face of online social interactions for most Americans, and that includes the outdoors.

That means, no matter what subject you cover in the great outdoors, your

audience is on Facebook and you need to be as well.

OWAC - itself - has a very dynamic Facebook account with nearly 1,000 followers. In comparison, our membership numbers under 100. That means for every OWAC member there are ten members of the public on our page who want to know what you do and more about California's outdoors.

OWAC encourages each of its members to take full advantage of this powerful promotional and communications tool by posting and sharing your work on the OWAC page.

You can post: articles, photographs, podcasts, YouTube videos, blogs, links, book reviews ... whatever you're most proud, we want to proudly show to those 1,000 OWAC friends.

And, as you do, our friends will get to know you, look for your work, buy your books and build your reputation as an online influencer.

Facebook is a powerful way to increase your value to your editors, publishers, station managers and users. It does so by building your fan base. And, as you lead Facebook users to your links, that leads eyeballs to your clients' online platforms, thereby increasing their readership and your influence and value to them.

Plus, your OWAC colleagues, friends and peers want to know what you're doing and share those stories with their readers, further building their, your and OWAC's influence across society.

Sharing posts is easy. When posting on your Facebook page, share your work to @OutdoorWritersofCalifornia. Introduce it with a compelling title or caption thereby grabbing the readers’ attention. You can also post directly to the OWAC FB page.

Inserting pertinent hashtags in your posts or tweets (such as #flyfishing, #nature, #kayaking, #birdwatching, #sportfishing, #autumn, #hunting, etc.) will connect your post to groups focused on these topics and build your audience and reputation.

Should you be unsure about how to do this, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I’ll walk you through the process or I will post it for you to OWAC's Facebook page.

We live in an online world of digital reputation building. The most successful of California's outdoor writers have embraced it and are connecting with audiences they cannot otherwise reach without social media.

All OWAC members are invited to share, Like and put a face on their outdoor writing by becoming a Facebook influencer. It's easy and its social.

Betsy (Crowfoot) Senescu



OWAC Sponsors High School Outdoor Writing Contest

To mentor the next generation of outdoor communicators, OWAC member Don Vachini has established a scholarship fund to sponsor an annual high school outdoor-writing contest in memory of his wife, Pat Vachini.

 In its first year the contest will be open only to high school students in Petaluma and Novato Unified School Districts where Don taught for many years and where the Vachinis were long-term residents well-known for their community services.

 Entry forms call for articles of any length on any aspect of the outdoors. The two top winners will receive $250 each from the Pat Vachini Scholarship Fund, which is managed by OWAC’s Investment Committee.

 Entry forms will be distributed to high schools in February, with a deadline for submissions of March 31, 2020. Winners will be announced April 30. The contest has no entry free and is open to any high school student.

 Peter Schroeder




Scott Embry fishing at Heart Lake, Siskiyou County - Philip Reedy . (cover photograph - Northwest Fly Fishing)

Three “Fs” that lead to “As”

By Philip Reedy

When it comes to the outdoors, my great loves are the three “Fs”: fall, fly fishing, and fotography.  

I began photographing in the ‘70s while in college, shooting mainly landscapes and wildlife as a hobby. A dream, back then, was to get a cover photo on National Wildlife, but there were, and still are, a lot of phenomenally talented wildlife photographers. So that never came to pass.

Once kids came along, time for solo activities, like photography, was in short supply, so my camera gear was used mainly to record their lives and milestones. Years later I discovered that fly fishing was enormously more interesting than the fishing I had done as a boy which involved staring at a bobber for hours on end, interrupted only by the occasional mosquito.  

Fly fishing became a great excuse to spend days in the Sierra Nevada, hiking along beautiful streams and lakes and getting to know the backcountry. As an avid reader of magazines like California Fly Fisher, I often admired the beautiful pictures on their covers and wondered if I could take photos like them.  

About five years ago, I got serious about testing my ability to accomplish that and bought my first digital SLR. I began by dragging a buddy along on fly fishing outings so that he could pose for my pictures and emailed the editor of California Fly Fisher asking if he accepted submissions. After he replied that he did, I sent a few from one of my trips.

You can’t imagine my excitement when, a few months later, I received a reply letting me know that one of my photos would be on an upcoming cover. Since that time I have been fortunate to have photos published on the covers of California Fly FisherNorthwest Fly FishingSouthwest Fly Fishing, and Sierra Fisherman.

With my goal accomplished, I then sought to improve my photos by adding color to catch the editor’s eye and realized autumn would be the perfect season. A Google search brought me to Californiafallcolor.com, hosted by OWAC member John Poimiroo.

With daily updates and a deep archive of reports on autumn’s progress across the state, the site allowed me to determine where and when the perfect combination of color and fishing locations might come together. I have spent many long days driving through the mountains from Bishop to Mt Shasta looking for the best backdrops. Once trees approach peak at each spot, I drag my buddies out to pose; they are often rewarded by seeing themselves on a magazine cover or posted on John’s site.

I have learned quite a lot over the past few years that has improved the quality of my photos and my success in having them published, often based on feedback and suggestions from editors such as Richard Anderson at California Fly Fisher and John Shewey at Northwest Fly Fishing.  

Since I often use the same models, I’ve learned to bring along a variety of clothing and hats so that it’s not obvious that the same angler is appearing on more than one cover. I have also amassed a collection of fly rods, fishing vests, wading staffs, and the like to provide more variety in the photos.

It is also very important to keep in mind how a photo will work with the layout of a particular magazine. Some use vertical images, others square, while calendars demand a horizontal format.  

A great advantage of using a high resolution camera is that I now shoot horizontal shots almost exclusively, knowing that I can crop to any shape needed and still have the 300 dpi resolution editors require. When shooting horizontally with a high res digital camera, leave room for the subject to appear balanced after cropping within either a horizontal or vertical composition. If there will be text and a masthead on the cover, leave space for those, too.

In my experience, the background of the photo is the most important aspect of a successful fly fishing photo. To assure that I always have a scenic background, I search for them, noting scenes that would make a nice landscape photo, perhaps with a waterfall, snow-capped peak or rushing river. Then, when the light and color are right, I return to those spots and stage a model in the scene I’d pre-visualized. 

It’s important to photograph in every season, as publications need covers to reflect each season, though autumn is my favorite. That’s when the forest is speckled with golden aspen and big leaf maple and Indian rhubarb drape their crimson-orange fan-shaped leaves beside streambanks. Suddenly, a good image becomes great.  

Should this autumn run true to past experience, aspen between 8000 and 10,000’ in elevation will begin to turn by mid-September. Color change descends at a rate of 500’ a week throughout the Sierra and Cascade through October. In Southern California, it’s an October show. 

By early November, vibrant colors have dropped to lower elevations. Reflected in the indigo waters of Yosemite Valley’s Merced River are deep-orange black oak and Yosemite’s landmark monoliths ... just the kind of dramatic, photogenic scene that earns “As” with my editors.


Philip Reedy scores with his editors by delivering out-of-the-ordinary photographs, such as these taken of a horsewoman fly fishing near Graeagle.


Photographing Fall Color

Rock Creek Trail, Inyo County - Gigi de Jong

By John Poimiroo

California has the longest, most diverse and – I am convinced – the most spectacular autumn in North America. As editor of CaliforniaFallColor.com, I write this with conviction and thousands of photographs that support that contention.

Incorporating fall color adds a richness to outdoor photography not seen in any other season. Though the air is often crisp and still, grasses, shrubs and leaves carry their warmest, most inviting tones to all sorts of outdoor sports and scenes.

Because of the low angle of sunlight and its warmth, gorgeous images can be captured all day, though the golden hours after sunrise and before sunset are even better than in other seasons of the year.

During sunrise and sunset, sunlight must pass through more of the atmosphere before we see it. Blue light, because of its shorter wavelength, is scattered easiest by nitrogen and oxygen air molecules. Whereas longer wavelength reds and oranges aren’t scattered as easily. As days grow shorter, sunrise and sunset light intensifies.

Autumn weather patterns also bring drier, cleaner air from the north, allowing more colors of the spectrum to be seen without being scattered by particles in the air, “producing brilliant sunsets and sunrises that can look red, orange, yellow or even pink,” The Weather Channel advises.

All that rich color intensifies the drama of fall color photography. To capture it, follow these tips.

Get Up Early and Don’t Give Up – The most successful landscape photographers are early risers and stick around past sunset when others have given up. Because they’re out when others have gone to dinner; they capture light others never see. And, because they don’t quit after the sun has set, they discover that often, the light just keeps getting better.

Be Prepared – Waterproof boots, woolen socks, warm gloves, a knit hat, a light jacket, layers of clothing, freshly recharged and extra batteries, extra blank memory cards, two camera bodies, varied lenses, a lens brush, a tripod, a collapsible reflector, a flashlight, eye glasses, water, an energy bar … these are essential kit for an outdoor photographer to stay comfortable, to stay out longer and to come back with good photographs.

Think Big – Set your camera to take large pictures. Small images are useful only on social media. They’re not useful to publications. Move personal shots off your camera or device to a photo sharing app so that you have space for new photos. Delete images you don’t plan to keep or use, to conserve memory. If you plan to reprint photos, shoot in RAW. Otherwise a “Fine” .jpg is big enough for most newspapers, all web uses and some magazines, but anything smaller is probably useless.

Steady As She Goes – Getting a sharp picture that shows crisp detail and can be enlarged is more challenging in low light conditions, which is often the case during autumn. Be mindful of adjusting your camera’s ISO (sensor speed) to 400 or higher to allow for a faster shutter speed in low light. Always use a tripod near sunrise or sunset and trigger your shutter with a camera remote or by using the timer.

Back to Basics – Taking pictures with your camera set to manual “M”, aperture “A” or shutter speed “S” mode makes you a better photographer, because it engages your mind in deciding what’s most important to the picture you plan to take. When you shoot on programmed auto “P”, you disengage your brain.

If you are most concerned about what will be in focus, set the mode to “A.” In this mode, you set the aperture and shutter speed is adjusted by the camera. A small aperture (e.g., f22) will allow more of the scene, foreground and background, to be in focus. A large aperture (e.g., f3.8) reduces the focal distance, concentrating attention on the point of focus. Photographers who set their camera to small apertures in order to get foreground and background in focus are seeking what photographers call, “hyper focal distance.”

If you are most concerned about stopping motion (such as in stopping quaking aspen from fluttering out of focus), set the mode to “S” and set the speed to show or stop motion. A speed of 1/125 of a second will stop camera shake and slow movements. With landscape photographs, snap a test shot and view it in the camera’s monitor, enlarging to see any motion, then adjust speed to stop motion. The appearance of motion in a photograph can be a good thing, if not distracting, but informative.

“M” mode adjusts both “S” and “A” concurrently by the photographer, providing the greatest latitude for creative expression, but also can result in underexposed or overexposed images. If you plan to shoot a specific scene (e.g., fireworks, the moon, city lights), Google “How to photograph … ” in advance, so that you know how to set your camera to get a good result.

Include people and action - The most valuable outdoor photographs to an editor are those that include people in them. Such photos, like that taken by OWAC member Gigi de Jong of a mountain biker on a trail near Bishop (above), tell more about the experience than just showing the landscape. Plan ahead to include people, get names and hometowns for captions and frame the photo with people in mind.

Know Where and When To Go – Peak fall color usually begins appearing in California at 10,000’ in elevation in mid-September. However, this year it is late by up to two weeks in the Eastern Sierra. Full peak occurs at California’s highest elevations, then descends at successively lower elevations (dropping at a rate of 500 to 1,000’ each week) to December. That means, your photographs can dependably include brilliant yellow, orange or red leaves if you plan trips to where it will be peaking, as occurred in past years. CaliforniaFallColor.com can help. I you know where you plan to be, search on the site for when it was peaking in the past and go then. If you know when you plan to travel, use the site to find locations that peaked in the past at that time and go there. By using this approach, you should be able to dependably include fall color in your outdoor photography.

Then, too, you’ll be adding the most spectacular autumn in North America to your fall articles.



Member Minutes


Member Profile:

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

OWAC's newest member is the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Though new to OWAC, it is not new to California.

Since 1988, RMEF and its partners completed 614 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in California with a combined value of more than $56.3 million. Those projects protected or enhanced 171,452 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 17,649 acres.

Nationally, RMEF has more than 235,000 members and 500+ chapters whose dedicated volunteers focus on raising funding to advance our mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage. RMEF has 32 chapters and nearly 14,000 members in California. 

Mark Holyoak (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) serves as RMEF’s director of communication. He invites all OWAC members to reach out to him regarding elk, habitat, conservation, disease management, hunting, forest management, predator management and any other similar issues.

RMEF is a resource for OWAC members on elk issues and with some 5,700 Tule Elk, 5,000-6,000 Roosevelt Elk and 1,500 Rocky Mountain Elk now in California, elk are a vital and growing part of California wildlife.

At this time of year, dramatic mating rituals are seen during Elk Rut at wildlife areas throughout California. It's a story that the public is fascinated by and which leads to opportunities to tell the story of who and how elk conservation has been so successful across California, thanks to groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.


Member Profile:

John DeGrazio/Adventure Peaches


John DeGrazio (r) shares a Can o' Peaches with Jorge Garzon at Machu Picchu


John DeGrazio, founder of YExplore Yosemite Adventures is now in search of "sweet rewards" for his radio podcast, Yosemite Can o' Peaches.

His Yosemite Peaches Project was created in 2017 as a way to document stories of contemporary artists, musicians, athletes, and every day explorers in Yosemite National Park, because John says, "everyone has a story to tell."

Toward that end, he meets with individuals to give a voice to each story in a recorded interview as they explain the profound effect Yosemite had on their lives. Peaches represent the rewards of their journey and relationship with Yosemite National Park.

John explains, "I had my first can o' peaches on the summit of Mt Rainier after I asked a local woman for one piece of advice on that trip back in 1997. Her reply was simple: "Go buy yourself a can o' peaches. It's the sweetest reward you'll ever taste."

A few days later, he was on the summit of Mt. Rainier with his own can o' peaches giving thanks to this kind woman for her sage advice.

"For years, I told that story before learning the true meaning of the peaches," he writes, "Today, I realize that regardless of reaching any summit, the adventure is the can o' peaches . Exploring nature and discovering its beauty while achieving self growth is the true reward."

DeGrazio says peaches are best enjoyed when shared, just like his blog. Subjects of his podcast include video artist Shawn Reeder, photographer Bruce Getty, photorapher and guide Jay Sousa, climber Ken Yager and others.

To get a taste of DeGrazio's peaches, CLICK HERE.

John's latest effort is to expand YExplore globally with "Nepal Peru 2020." This epic, two-continent adventure begins on March 22 in Kathmandu, Nepal. From there his group flies to the famous Lukla airstrip for the commencement of the Mount Everest Base Camp Trek.

YExplore's group continues to Peru in South America on May 22. Upon arrival in Cusco, it tours that city and other Inca sites before embarking on its next expedition, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Outdoor Writers interested in reporting about these exciting new directions for YExplore and John DeGrazio can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Member Profile:

Sep and Marilyn Hendrickson


Sep and Marilyn Hendrickson


As Marilyn crafts their tale, she and husband Sep Hendrickson transformed their shared love of the outdoors into both a business and a lifestyle of telling outdoor stories.

They began making trolling attractors and started catching fish with the "primitive flashers." Demand for appearances at derbies, sports shops and events followed.

As Seps Pro Fishing Inc., they created, developed and manufactured ultra-light flashers, dodgers, lures and more, then writing, photographing, writing books and broadcasting came next. 

Now in their 23rd year as broadcasters, the couple produce a weekly radio show broadcast Saturdays from 5 to 8 a.m. on Sacramento's all-sports station, KHTK 1140AM, hosted by Sep.

It's up early for the couple on Saturdays, speaking to their audience of anglers and outdoorsmen and those driving to go fishing, or bass tournaments, or hunting or to any number of outdoor adventures. 

"Ultimate Bass" the first hour from 5:00-6:00 am, is what Marilyn describes as "the only all-bass show in the West" and is hosted by Kent Brown, tournament pro, with impressive big-name bass pros as guests. 

The second and third hours are "California Sportsmen", highlighting fishing and hunting in California, the Western States, Alaska and more.

Marilyn and Sep depend upon a cast of regular professional guides, captains and outdoor personalities which she calls, "the cleanest, best, smartest, most wonderful good guys, you'd ever want to know."

Each is an expert in a given aspect of outdoor sports. For example, Captains, such as James Smith, Mike Gravert, Steve Mitchell, Jay Lopes, JD Richey and James Netzel know the waters they fish.

Folks like Casey and Regina Stafford and David Martin know about dog training or hunting birds. And other capable, knowledgeable guests provide current information.

Marilyn says the key is that every one of them are "above board when dealing with the public. That's basic to building credibility and audience." She adds that immediacy is what gives the program energy. "We regularly talk live to these reporters when they're on the water, or in the field”. 

Despite having done this for decades, the Hendricksons stay hip of what's new and rising. A new generation of young anglers are moving up and winning derbies and tournaments, and even high schools are providing support. 

And, Sep and Marilyn Hendrickson are key figures at the annual International Sportsman's Exposition each January in Sacramento, often leading programs and seminars for the massive audience of outdoorsmen and women who attend the show. 

At a time when some media struggle for audience, radio remains relevant and influential, reaching target audiences on their way to outdoor adventures. That's what longtime OWAC members Sep and Marilyn Hendrickson do each Saturday morning. 


Archery Competition Goes Hollywood

Susan Pevensie, Chronicles of Narnia, courtesy Bust.com

Former OWAC member, James Swan (now living in New Mexico) is organizing the First Annual Hollywood Celebrity Archery Shoot to occur at Conejo Valley Archers in Simi Valley on November 16.

The event will involve teams of celebrities, NASP youth archers, and supporting archers competing for prizes donated by the archery industry.

Celeb archers participating in this event, include: actors Marshall and Lindy Teague, Tim Abell, Frank Stallone, Reggie Theus, Diamond Farnsworth (stunt coordinator for “NCIS”), James A Swan, and Ron and Shirley Ringo; producer/directors Tom Greene and Johnny St. Ours; and Fox TV health expert Dr. Tony O’Donnell.

There is no fee for Celebrity Archers and NASP® kids. There is a $250 fee for each supporting archer which will go to help support NASP®.

Archery (both target and hunting) is a rising outdoor sport with its popularity fed by archers seen in motion pictures. The Archery Trade Association reports that a boost for women in archery came in 1999 when Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis became a semi-finalist for the U.S. Olympic archery team. Davis says she was inspired to take up the sport by watching Olympic archers on TV.



A second increase in women archers occurred following the release of the “Hunger Games” series starring Jennifer Lawrence, “Lord of the Rings,” "Chronicles of Narnia" and “Brave."

USA Archery membership increased by 48 percent after “Hunger Games” was released.

A public enveloped by high technology is turning back to the world's most ancient low-tech sport ... that of shooting arrows.

However anachronistic that might seem, archery is new once more, due to advanced technologies and materials being used to create bows and arrows. The sport is high-tech, but it doesn't feel that way.

For a story about the competition or to background one on archery's new direction, contact James A. Swan Ph.D. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 505-428-9007






Call to Order: Carrie Wilson, President

Roll Call: Bob Semerau, Carrie Wilson, Peter Schroeder, John Poimiroo, Barbara Steinberg, John Williamson, Betsy Crowfoot, Gi Gi deJong and Carol Martens

Not Present: Josh Asel, Chris Langley and Tom Martens

Review and approval of previous Board minutes: John P. motioned to approve and Barbara seconded it. Minutes approved.

Financial Report: $19,609.23 The endowment fund borrowed $425from the general fund earlier this year to help match the $1,000 donation by Don Vachini. Peter motioned that we forgive the loan and Betsy seconded it and motion was approved.

Committee Reports:

Californian of the Year-Kathie  We currently have four nominations. The deadline for nominations is midnight, Sept.27th. Bob, Carrie and Betsy will be helping Kathie with the voting and other related procedures.

Craft Improvement- Peter will be contacting Tiburon this Fall, as they requested. John P says Eureka and Humboldt County have been contacted for a future conference.

Investment, Endowment & Scholarship-Peter At the end of July we had $14,850. in our funds. We are on schedule for the two high school scholarships that will be presented to winners in March 2020.

Newsletter-John P will be editing the Oct/Nov newsletter, while Chris Langley recuperates and plans two craft improvement articles with a fall theme, dealing with photography. Other articles include COY nominees, member profiles, the Don Vachini Fund scholarship and outdoor news.

Membership- Board members continue to call and contact members and sponsors on the Debunk list. Many of the people contacted were happy to get caught up on their dues while contact information on others is not correct. There are still quite a few to be contacted. The purpose is to have a current list of active members and sponsors.

Publicity- Betsy has sent out 22 press releases for the winners of our craft awards.

Raffle- nothing to report

Website-Mark Sevi and GiGi have not been able connect yet for GiGi’s training for the website. It was suggested we use Wordpress for the newsletter, because it is so common and familiar to web managers. John P and GiGi said they would contact their web developers to get bids for creating sites in WordPress. (Update: following the meeting Josh Asel presented a design for a new website, on which he has been working.)

Next Meeting Date- Monday, October 14, 2019 at 7pm.

8:04 Adjourn- GiGi motioned to adjourn and Bob seconded it. Adjourned.

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