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

Latest Newsletter

October-November 2019 Newsletter

October - November 2019 Newsletter...

August-September 2019 Newsletter

August - September 2019 Newsletter...

Latest News

2020 Excellence in Craft Awards Winners

Photo: John Poimiroo - Red Lake Creek Cabin (10/8/19)...

26-10-2020 News 0

Take an Overland Adventure to These Five Fishing Destinations

Take an Overland Adventure to These Five Fishing Destinations Overland-fishing-jeep The vehicle you use to begin overland fish...

06-07-2020 News 0

Local High Schoolers Win Writing Contest

Local High Schoolers Win Writing Contest // May 1, 2020...

04-05-2020 News 0

CAWW Photo of the Year 2019

California Watchable Wildlife Photograph of the Year Bald Eagle by Randy Robbins...

01-03-2020 News 0

Californian of the Year Candidates Introduced

Californian of the Year Candidates Introduced...

14-12-2019 News 0

EIC Winners 2019

Excellence in Craft Award Winners Announced

10-06-2019 News 0

September 2017 Newsletter

The September newsletter is now available! Click the link below. September 2017 newsletter...

03-09-2017 News 0

May/June 2017 Newsletter

The May/June newsletter is now available! Click the link below. May/June 2017 newsletter...

12-06-2017 News 0


Click the button to go to PayPal which also accepts credit cards even without a PayPal account.

Member Login

Sign In / Sign Up


  1. Log In FIRST!
  2. CLICK HERE or -
  3. Go to Your Profile:
    1. Member Center Menu Item > User Profile
  4. Find, Click on the Membership Info Tab:
    1. Renew Membership

Renewals are only possible online 60 days in advance of your renewal date.

alpine optics kitNEW AUCTION ITEM! 
Click image to go to site!

December 2019 - January 2020 Newsletter

December 2019 - January 2020 Newsletter

II was off and running. My work life was completely compatible with my passions – fishing and Baja.

My next trip to Baja was to Flying Sportsmen Lodge in Loreto, BCS, with my 8-year-old son Greg for a variety of saltwater fish. In 1973, two buddies and I drove, fishing the entire newly-completed Mex 1, from border to Cabo San Lucas and back.

At a book signing in 1974, I purchased Tom Miller’s “The Baja Guide.” We became good friends, and I was an occasional co-pilot on some of his frequent road trips where I heard many of his tales of fishing adventures.

Over the years, I met many of the principal Baja writers beginning with Ray Cannon, and of course, Miller, who assumed the WON Baja column upon the death of Cannon in 1977. In 1984, Fred Hoctor published “Baja Ha-Ha” and became the Baja columnist for Western Outdoor News the following year. Later in life, when pressed, he described himself as a "bon vivant, raconteur, fishing guy," according to Gene Kira, who became the next WON Baja Columnist after Hoctor retired and passed away in July 2001.

Kira and I became friends and traveled extensively in Baja; he occasionally dropped by “Rancho Deluxe,” our home on the beach at La Capilla, and we often lunched together at our favorite sushi bar in Escondido, Calif.

It’s odd how fate intervenes, and doors of opportunity swing open. 

In 1995, I received a phone call from Kira suggesting that I write a feature for “Big Game Fishing Journal,” an East Coast saltwater fishing magazine. Aside from fish reports, I had never had anything published. I pushed back. I didn’t believe I had an ounce of skill or aptitude for writing. I agreed only if he would edit before submission. Years later, he admitted that he wouldn’t write the story because they didn’t pay enough.

When the check arrived, the die was cast! I began seeking writing assignments for myself.

Since Yvonne and I had owned other businesses, we formed a team to determine how a latecomer like me could gain a foothold in a very crowded field. We called our friend Bennett Mintz, a longtime publicist, writer, writing collaborator, and editor, and developed a plan:

#1 Never fail to meet a deadline;

#2 All work submitted would be reviewed and edited by Yvonne and Ben;

#3 Never turn down an assignment in an area I had expertise in, regardless of the deadline; and

#4 Never accept a project we didn’t believe in.

With more than 20 years of driving up and down Baja by that time, exploring and fishing, I certainly didn’t lack for story material.

Our “Baja on the Fly,” one of the early fly-fishing outfitters established in Baja Sur, was a magnet for outdoor writers and photographers willing to share their knowledge and insight. With digital cameras just beginning to emerge, it was an ideal time to learn from the ground up.

The requests for features were encouraging, and as my photography improved, I was able to provide most of the images needed to enhance my writing.

When WON Editor, Pat McDonell, asked if I would be interested in writing a regular column in 2008, I accepted, and Baja Road Trekker has alternated every other week with Jonathan Roldan’s popular “Baja Beat.”

My books include The No Nonsense Guide to Southern Baja, now in its second printing, and the No Nonsense Guide to Fly Fishing Magdalena Bay. 

We are covering tournaments, producing reports, and writing columns and articles for major sportfishing magazines and newspapers. Our schedules and deadlines are keeping us busier and busier, but we are enjoying every moment of our assignments. 

Can you imagine embarking on a never dreamed of career in writing and photography at the age of 55?  



Major New California Freelance Restrictions:


With Permission: Randy Dotinga, American Society of Journalists and Authors

As you may have heard, state legislation known as AB5 is poised to dramatically transform freelance journalism in California by limiting how independent writers and photographers can work. The legislature approved the bill earlier this month, and the governor signed it this week. It becomes law on Jan. 1.

Earlier this year, ASJA formed a coalition of 20 associations of creators to advocate for freelance journalists as we face threats here. We have lobbied key legislators and their staffs, formed alliances, and consulted attorneys. We've also spoken out via the media, and -- most importantly -- met twice in person with the assemblywoman behind AB5 (Assembly Bill 5).

 We helped convince her to add language to AB5 that will allow a limited form of freelance journalism to continue in the state. 

The bad news: Our ability to freelance will be tightly restricted as Jan. 1, 2020. Some freelance writers may be hired as part-time staffers, which can be good or bad (or both) depending on their situation. Others are likely to lose work. And some out-of-state clients may consider us a hassle due to the restrictions and simply blacklist us.

The good news: Remarkably, the bill language could actually make the restrictions moot. 

Click here for some questions and answers:


Pat Vachini Outdoor Writing Scholarship

 As a memorial to his late wife, long-time OWAC member and outdoor writer Don Vachini has established the Pat Vachini Outdoor Writing Scholarship Program to make annual awards to encourage the next generation of outdoor writers. The program, which is being managed by OWAC, will make annual awards to winners of an outdoor writing contest for high school students.

 Don previously contributed $3,000 which were matched dollar-for-dollar by OWAC members. Once again as we come to the end of 2019, Don has made a challenge gift of $1,000 with the hope that members will match his contribution.

 In reflecting his intentions for the scholarship program, Don wrote that he wanted Pat’s “caring nature, radiant smile and loving heart to be forever etched in OWAC annals.” The total amount raised is being invested and the annual interest used for the grants. 

 Our goal is to create the next generation of outdoor writers. Please donate to help support this important program, which will increase the news coverage of the California outdoors, and help OWAC to fulfill its mission.

 Send your tax-deductible donations (made out to OWAC) to: Pat Vachini Outdoor Writing Scholarship Program, P.O. Box 50136, Oxnard, CA. 93031, or go online to www.owac.org and click on DONATE on the front page.

 Thank you, on behalf of the OWAC Board of Directors and future outdoor writers.

 Peter Schroeder, OWAC Board Member



OWAC’s President’s Message – Dec/Jan Newsletter

Hello Fellow OWAC Members ~ 

As the year winds down and we look back at 2019, I am happy to report that your Board of Directors have been hard at work and accomplished a lot. It’s been a very good year for OWAC! We are locking in our next conference destinations (TBA soon!), creating high school scholarships for aspiring outdoor writers to be awarded in 2020, redesigning our website to better promote our members’ work, getting our finances back onto steady ground, and much more!

A call for entries for our next OWAC Excellence in Craft Awards contest will be coming soon, so it’s not too early to begin preparing your entries. All work published in 2019 is eligible. The filing deadline will likely be in mid-February. 

In the next few weeks you will also receive an online ballot to vote for OWAC’s next “Californian of the Year” recipient. Established by OWAC in 1993, this award is the most prestigious given by OWAC to honor outdoors men and women who have done remarkable work to improve California’s great outdoors. Past recipients have been teachers, biologists, wildlife advocates, politicians, agency lands managers and everyday citizens who have taken up a cause benefiting the environment, wildlife and/or fish. Active and supporting members of OWAC make the selection. This year, we have four very impressive candidates for the honor: Paul Bonderson, Jr., Lori Gray, Al Kalin and Dick Pool.

Mark your calendars for January 16-19, 2020 when the International Sportsman’s Exposition (ISE) returns to Cal Expo in Sacramento. ISE is the largest outdoor show in the northstate geared towards hunters, anglers, boaters and other outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventures nearby or around the world. There’s definitely something for everyone at this show.

Well, I hope your holidays are warm and cheery and that you’re all able to enjoy life’s many joys and blessings with friends and family during this special time of year.




Carrie Wilson

President, Outdoor Writers Association of California

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

(831) 402-6003




Striped marlin with hitchhiker (remora) along for the ride.

Photo by Gary Graham


Team Tranquilo celebrates their Day three and overall largest fish win at 2019 Bisbee Black and Blue Tournament. 

Photo by Gary Graham


2015 First Place Outdoor Action Photograph-Bisbee’s Black and Blue Tournament.

Photo by Gary Graham


From OWAC Executive Director, Bob Semerau

Year end finds us all in the clutches of wintry storms across our Golden State.To the north, the heaviest snowfalls in years and down south, an unusual phenomenon, rain.

For some OWAC members that means we can enjoy the change in the weather, experiencing our world in a different light.

This issue of OWAC Outdoors brings you some interesting work from our membership, including a heartwarming retrospective from That Baja Guy, long-standing member, Gary Graham.

The OWAC Board of Directors continues working diligently to bring new and fascinating adventures for our membership, including three uniquely different possibilities for our spring conference. Watch for coming announcements.

Bob Semerau

Executive Director

Outdoor Writers Association of California

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


Board of Directors

Bob Semerau

Executive Director

Carrie Wilson


Carol Martens


Members at Large

Betsy Crowfoot

John Williamson

Gigi de Jong

Don Vachini

Chris Langley

Peter Schroeder

Barbara Steinberg

Tom Martens

John Poimiroo


Gary Graham- That Baja Guy

If you spoke with my English teacher in the Christian high school I attended, Mrs. Helen Olafson would tell you the chances of my being a professional writer were slim to none.

I have always loved deep-sea fishing – so my earliest goal in life was to create businesses that allowed me the freedom to spend time chasing that passion on the water. My first Mexican billfish was the beginning, caught on a trip to San Carlos, Mexico when I was 16.

I left college to begin my own janitorial company, bidding on contracts for government bases by hiring military enlistees part-time. To my surprise, I was good at organizing, and because I had worked for other janitorial companies throughout high school, I had some knowledge of how to get the job done.

Outdoor Writing Contest

WIN $250

Two $250 Awards for writers of the two best articles on any outdoor subject




Eligibility — Open free to all high-school students in Novato and Petaluma School Districts

Subject — Any outdoor subject of minimum 500 words in any format: essay, news article, personal experience, documentary, blog, research study, etc.

Deadline — Submit in print or digital format by March 31, 2020 by email or to postal address below.

Winners — Authors of two top entries will each receive checks for $250 at the spring conference of the Outdoor Writers Association of California in Tiburon, California.

Judging – Contest entries will be judged by selected members of OWAC.

Contest Sponsor — Outdoor Writers Association of California established the Pat Vachini Outdoor Writing Scholarship Fund in memory of the wife of Don Vachini, long-time OWAC member and one

of California’s foremost outdoor writers and photographers.

What is OWAC? — Founded in 1986 OWAC is the only organization of outdoor media professionals in the state of California. Members includes newspaper and magazine staffers, freelance writers, book authors, bloggers, internet outdoor websites, photographers, broadcasters, editors, and media professionals covering downhill and x-country skiing, snowboarding, winter sports, bicycling, fishing, camping, birding, boating, water sports, wildlife watching, camping, and other outdoor recreation

OWAC’s Mission — Help outdoor media professionals to inform outdoor enthusiasts, expand awareness of conservation issues, and create a new generation of outdoor-media professionals. OWAC bestows awards to Excellence in Craft winners, Californian of the Year honoree, Outdoor Outreach grant recipients, and high school students who may want to explore a career in

Outdoor Writing and Photography.

Send entries to

Pat Vachini Outdoor Writing Scholarship Program, P.O. Box 50136, Oxnard, CA 93031



For further information go to owac.org or call

OWAC Executive Director Bob Semerau at 949-466-3073



Craft Improvement Tip

Writing Ledes and Kickers

By Peter Schroeder

“Do you want to go fishing … or do you want to catch fish? There’s a big difference you know,” my guide at the fish camp inquired.

Fish aren’t the only things that can get hooked. Writers strive to create strong ledes that will lure the reader with an enticing first sentence or two. When it’s done right, the reader feels impelled to read the next sentence (which is what I hope my introduction above does). But what about the end of the article, known as the kicker?

Often, articles simply fade away at the end, trailing off without any sense of conclusion. Other times a story has been told, but the writer continues to pile on words and flog the reader into near exhaustion. Alternatively, lazy writers take the easy way out and conclude with a quote, again a cheap way to wrap up the article.

The kicker deserves as much attention as the lede since it serves up the final comment that should make the story memorable. Think of it this way: while the lede drives the reader into the article, the kicker drives the story into the reader.

Rob Kaiser, the writing coach at the San Antonio News-Express newspaper, encourages writers to create a “rattlesnake kicker,” which he likens to a pair of size 12 cowboy boots powerful enough to kick a rattlesnake (remember, he’s a Texan). Since this final sentence provides the last contact between writer and reader, it should stride across the page with wallop.

Although it means violating the basic “less is more” rule, Kaiser says that sometimes the writer should add an extra word or two to maintain the rhythmic and lyrical flow of the conclusion. Another approach uses the kicker to go full circle, bringing the reader back to the lede.

Like this:

As we returned to the fishing lodge, the boat full of freshly caught salmon, our smiling guide summed up the day: “The best thing is that it’s Tuesday. Somehow, fishin’s more fun when you know that all your friends back home spent the day in the office while you were out on the water.”

Good catch?


Carol Martens has been a member for many years and is OWAC Secretary

Getting Sentimental Over You!

By Carol Martens, OWAC Secretary

               Going into this new year I have a feeling something is missing from OWAC and it might be you! Please take a minute and see if what I have to say interests you?

It’s true that those who serve on a board of any organization are usually the most dedicated at that time. They probably contribute the most and reap the benefits. The invitation is always open to join our board but that’s not what I writing to you about today.

               People (you) make the difference because we are all have our own story, skills and experiences. We are definitely all different. Some of you are newcomers and some have been with OWAC for decades like myself. Stay with me here……All I’m asking you to do right now during this busiest of times is to jot down the reasons you joined OWAC and why you thought it would benefit you? I personally feel it’s time we find out more about our members including what they do, how long they’ve done it and where they are today? I’m willing to bet that you could share an exciting story about yourself if pushed just a little? Let’s say you have been with us a long time and maybe your retired. It would be wonderful if you would share just a few tips and pointers you’ve learned along the way with the rest of us. If you’re newer and just getting started in your career, you may have some insight regarding this New Information Era we find ourselves in. OWAC is making the transition from the old way of doing things to the new and it hasn’t been easy. The good news is that we’re doing it and looking to our membership for their ideas?

               What difference can you make? A big one. Over twenty years ago an OWAC member heard me speak at a Fred Hall Show and took a few minutes to suggest I consider joining OWAC. I had never heard of OWAC before so he answered a few of my questions and told me how to join. I did so right away and my husband and I attended our first conference a few weeks later and almost every one since then. I’ve become an established writer and speaker dealing with human interest and fishing helped by the knowledge and material I’ve acquired from OWAC. My membership has given me credibility on my resumes and profiles and expanded my influence as well. Do you see how I just shared my story in just a few words? We want our membership to know each other better so we can continue to create a larger platform for sharing ideas and information through our newsletter and conferences. We want to do this with all interested members and sponsors and I hope that’s you.

 On a sentimental note I’ve come to know some of the best people on the planet in OWAC and call them my friends. We are different in every way but we respect each other and consider ourselves family. Your part of our family and we want to hear from you. You’re very important to us and we value your contributions large or small. Please take a few minutes and send your comments, stories and contributions for future newsletters to Carol Martens…OWAC Secretary. My email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Put OWAC in the title so I can find you in my spam file and then I can direct your information to the right people. Feel free to share your comments and ask questions.

 Thank you for letting me be sentimental over you and Happy New Year!


There’s More Than Just Skiing in Mammoth Lakes

By Lara Kaylor

And just like that, it’s winter in Mammoth Lakes. A huge Thanksgiving snowstorm turned this resort town into a winter wonderland overnight, and the season has officially begun. For those of you who only know Mammoth Lakes as a ski town, it’s time to get reacquainted. For those who haven’t visited before, you’re in for a real treat.

Imagine a place where life is still a bit wild. Where people live and play in tandem with nature. This is Mother Nature’s Adventureland and the story opportunities are endless for outdoor writers and photographers.

Best known in the winter for being home to Mammoth Mountain’s 3500 skiable/rideable acres, Mammoth Lakes offers an array of other activities to quench anyone’s adventure palate.

Have you been a skier or snowboarder for ages and want to put a new twist on your old tricks? Backcountry skiing or snowboarding could be a great story angle for you. Take your inbound skills and enhance them with some avalanche knowledge and extra safety information. Then, with a guide provided by Mammoth Lakes Tourism, get away from the crowds and earn your turns. Backcountry skiing or snowboarding involves hiking your way up a mountain and then skiing or riding back down. While the effort is a bit more strenuous than riding a chairlift, the serenity and untracked powder are always worth it. Bonus: you get to explore a more secret side of Mammoth Lakes.

Looking for something that is a little more effortless? Snowmobiling is a fun way take in the beauty of the area without breaking a sweat. You can even take a guided ride where all you have to do it hold on! Speed through ancient Jeffrey pine forests and across wide-open meadows ringed with snowy peaks. Visit the area’s incredible geological wonders in deep solitude, far beyond the reach of ordinary vehicles or human-powered travelers.

In addition to the groomed trail network, there are more than 150,000 acres of public land on the Inyo National Forest that are open to snowmobiles. For detailed information on off-trail play areas, including those along the base of the Sherwins Range to the south and east of town, stop by the California Welcome Center located at the entrance to town.

For some fun for the entire family check out Mammoth Lakes’ snow play options, which include ice skating, tubing and sledding. The popular outdoor Mammoth Ice Rink (open late November through February) offers gorgeous wraparound views of the White Mountains and Sherwin Range, ice skating classes for all levels and skate rentals. For the ultimate snow tubing experience, head to Woolly's Tube Park & Snow Play, where you can zip down the hill without worrying about the walk back to the top. Or head out to explore some DIY sledding and snow play in the many public snow play areas in Mammoth Lakes, including the Mammoth Scenic Loop and Shady Rest Park.

If you want to add to your ice-skating adventure, try to time your visit when the conditions are right for ice skating on a frozen lake. The best time for this is once temperatures have dropped but the first real snowfall has not yet occurred.

Want to feel the crisp mountain air in your lungs, take in majestic views of ice-covered lakes and snow-clad peaks, and immerse yourself in the deep, timeless silence of the forest, but not really interested in backcountry skiing or snowmobiling? Cross-country skiing or snowshoeing might be a great option for you. Mammoth Lakes is surrounded by several million acres of public lands, and a number of roads that are transformed into trails for the winter so it's easy to get out and explore via skis or snowshoes. Bring your own or rent to experience more than 140 miles of cross country track that winds throughout the area and into the Inyo National Forest.  

As a special treat, plan your visit around a full moon and get out for a moonlit cross-country ski or snowshoe trek at Tamarack Cross-Country Ski Center. Enjoy a warm beverage and dessert to cap off your experience. Dates for this year’s full moon tours are Dec. 10 & 11, Jan. 8 & 9, Feb. 7& 8, and March 7.

If you’re thinking all of the above sounds fine and dandy, but what you’re really looking for is something that will get your adrenaline pumping a little more, ice climbing could be the experience for you. The Eastern Sierra is a great place to give this thrilling activity of ice axes and crampons a whirl, and Mammoth Lakes Tourism can help writers and photographers enjoy this experience with a guide.

At the end of your day of playing hard, when the light fades and the temperatures drop Mammoth Lakes offers indoor dining and après adventures as well.

Take a ride in a snowcat for one of the most unique excursions in the Eastern Sierra. Snowcat tours are operated by Mammoth Mountain and offer visitors the chance to experience the backcountry from the heated comfort of a luxury snowcat. Each snowcat holds up to 12 people, making snowcat tours a great option for groups. Tours include a sundown ride to Minaret Vista complete with beautiful views, chocolate-covered strawberries, a charcuterie board and a glass of wine plus waffle sundaes and hot cocoa for the kids.

Another great evening spot is Mammoth Rock ‘n’ Bowl, a modern entertainment complex with an upscale restaurant, lounge and two full bars.

 There’s so much to do here, we just know you’ll have a “mammoth” good time.

Interested in a visit or have a story idea you’d like to discuss? Reach out to Lara Kaylor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information on the above activities go to www.visitmammoth.com

Snowmobiling Mammoth is a great way to get to know the terrain.

A leisurely stroll over pristine snow-covered trails plugs visitors in to the Mammoth Vibe.

There's no better workout than building up a sweat while back country skiing on freshly fallen snow along the many Mammoth trails.


OWAC Website Report

By Gigi de Jong

At a number of board meetings during the last few months, the board members of OWAC discussed the status of our current website at length. Some suggested that we simply update the content and others proposed redesigning the site. At first, we agreed that a basic update of articles and pages should be done

and I volunteered to learn the process and undertake this task. After a number of delays complicated our efforts to get the content updated, we reviewed the subject at our most recent meeting.

We agreed that the platform on which the current site is built is somewhat too complicated for easy updating and publishing of new articles by the members of our board. It requires some training to learn the basics for simple updating and the assistance of a skilled web developer to make large-scale changes. It is, however, still a viable website.

A suggestion to redesign the site on WordPress was greeted with enthusiasm. Most of the board members are familiar with the platform and comfortable making updates and posting stories. Moving to WordPress would allow us easier content management and simpler design tools to create a more flexible, responsive website.

With that in mind, we decided that the first priority is to update the site as it exists, as quickly as possible, to show current content. Updating is now in progress and I expect to have all basic updates done before the year end. In addition, we agreed to entertain a proposal to redesign our site on WordPress. I am preparing a proposal that I will present to the board at our January meeting. We will continue to maintain our current site until it is moved, if we so agree, to a new platform.

Thank you to the board members and especially John Poimiroo for their support and trust. I would welcome any submissions or suggestions for content as we move forward to get our website up to standard. 


Photos by

Barbera L. Steinberg

The best of Sacramento’s wildlife

By Barbara L. Steinberg

Sacramento is a special place. At the confluence of the Sacramento, American and Cosumnes rivers and gateway to 1,200 miles of California Delta waterways, Sacramento welcomes millions of migratory birds each fall and winter. A major player on the Pacific Flyway, winged visitors make their way to flooded rice fields, nature preserves, parks and refuges. Breathtaking fly-ins of ducks, sandhill cranes, Canada geese, snow geese and tundra swans are the showstoppers, but wildlife viewing is a year-round attraction in the Sacramento Valley. Throughout the region, a wide array of feathered friends, mammals and fish are fulltime residents. Sacramento’s urban parks, neighborhoods and rivers are habitat for red-tailed hawks, Swainson’s hawks, falcons, river otters, owls, Mexican free-tailed bats and even the occasional wayward sea lion! Whether you walk, paddle or observe from your car, it’s easy to get up close and personal with nature in and around Sacramento. Keep your binoculars and cameras close. Here are just a few of the best in the region.

American River Parkway

Sacramento’s recreation crown jewel, the parkway includes more than 30 miles of county and California State Parks trails. Within its boundaries are birding and wildlife gems including Effie Yeaw Nature Center, Sailor Bar, Ancil Hoffman Park, Folsom Lake Recreation Area/Willow Creek and Nimbus Fish Hatchery. Herds of deer, coyote, spawning salmon and more than 100 bird species attract thousands of wildlife and nature enthusiasts.

Cosumnes River Preserve

 A one-mile universally accessible trail and three-mile roundtrip levee trail and boardwalk provide up-close views of sandhill cranes, shorebirds, riparian forests and wetlands. Bring your own boat for guided kayak and canoeing trips on the last free-flowing river from the Sierra Nevada to the Central Valley. Visitor Center includes interpretive displays and covered deck great for picnicking.

Nimbus Fish Hatchery

View steelhead trout in the fish ladder (through February), explore the interactive Visitor Center, and enjoy excellent birding along the river trail. Special programs and play area for young children. Free parking and admission. In the springtime, the heron rookery at nearby Lake Natoma is truly special.

 Woodbridge Ecological Preserve

The wildlife international airport – squadrons of Greater Sandhill Cranes descend during nightly fly-ins September - March. More than 30 other species of birds including ducks, geese, hawks, owls, swans, avocets, coots and stilts join the evening revelry.

Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area

Each summer, the Yolo Causeway hosts more 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats. Nightly bat fly-outs are out of this world! During fall and winter months, raptors are in abundance including peregrine falcon, northern harrier, and many red-tailed hawks.

Effie Yeaw Nature Center

Along the American River, free weekend naturalist presentations cover a wide-range of science and nature-related topics from bird-watching to solar-cooking. Offered year-round, space is limited and sign-ups are taken the day of event so arrive early. Annual events include Bird & Breakfast Weekend and NatureFest.

Galt Winter Bird Festival – February 1, 2020

Festival headquarters is the starting point for educational presentations, wildlife shows, hands-on activities, art displays and group tours to Cosumnes River Preserve, Heritage Oak Winery, Staten Island and more.

California Duck Days – February 22, 2020

Field trips, workshops, hands-on activities and docent-led tours for all ages. Self-guided auto tour of the Yolo Wildlife Area for the DIY set.

Walk on the Wildside – May 16, 2020

This one-day festival features hands-on activities, live animal shows, entertainment and guided tours of Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and the 2,150-acre Bufferlands a unique opportunity to see a rare heron and egret rookery, one of only four in Sacramento County. Twilight tours are offered during summer and fall.

Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival – November 6-8, 2020

For more than 23 years, this three-day festival has celebrated the return of the greater sandhill cranes to the Central Valley. Listed as endangered, the cranes are one the largest migrating North American cranes. Sometimes called B52s, their wingspan can reach almost seven feet wide and they can be up to four feet tall. Leaping with wings extended, their mating dance is marvelous! Guest speakers, art show, entertainment, guided tours and dozens of exhibitors!

Follow binocular signs to California Watchable Wildlife viewing sites and festivals.

Online at www.CaliforniaWatchableWildlife.org




Teleconference November 11, 2019 Meeting Minutes

7:05 Call to Order: Carrie Wilson

Roll Call: Carol     Bob Semerau, Peter Schroeder, Barbara Steinberg, Carrie Wilson, John Williamson, GiGi de Jong & Carol Martens 

Not Present: Betsy Crowfoot, Tom Martens, John Poimiroo, Josh Asel, Chris Langley

Review and approval of previous Board minutes, APP A Bob Semerau motioned to approve, and Peter Schroeder seconded it. Minutes approved.

Financial Report Bob Semerau reported $ 18,779.72 in OWAC general account

Committee Reports: Peter

A--Californian of the Year~ Kathy Callan will help Betsy put together the ballot. Kathie Morgan requested that the voting period should run for three weeks and the full text of each nominee be sent out to the membership for consideration. The names of the nominators should not appear with the entries.

B–Conference, Spring & Fall~ Tiburon is still on board for our 2020 Spring Conference and Carrie is trying to contact them to confirm. Morro Bay is not interested at this time.

C--Craft Improvement~Report was tabled for this call.

D--Investment, Endowment, & Scholarship~Peter We currently have a total of $15,200 in our investment In funds. We are earning approximately $900 in dividends per year and we have a Yield of 5.8%. Recently E-Trade started waiving all their fees. Don Vachini is preparing to make another $1,000. donation to OWAC in memory of his wife Pat around December. It’s been suggested that we match his donation again. Maybe each Board member will consider a $50 donation before end of year.

E--Membership~ A number of Board members have been calling members that haven’t renewed their memberships and although many have not responded, a few have.

F--Newsletter~Chris Langley is still recuperating. We need another volunteer to do the next newsletter. Deadliine is coming up on the 20th of Nov. Bob Semerau agreed to publish the upcoming December-January edition.

G--Publicity~Betsy was not present to report.

H--Raffle~ Nothing to report.

Website- The Website Committee is requested to make a proposal to the board at the January meeting about redesigning the website.

Next Meeting Date: December 9, 2019

7:51  John Williamson motioned to adjourn and Gigi seconded it. Meeting adjourned.

  • 7972
  • Last modified on Monday, 16 December 2019 01:16
Login to post comments

Article Categories



Outdoor Writers Association of California
PO Box 50136
Oxnard, CA 93031