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Outdoor Writers Association of America Announces Speakers for First Ever “Field Fest” Mini-Conference

Hosted in Johnson City, TN on July 7-11, 2024, the new Field Fest provides professional outdoor media a unique opportunity for networking and education 

The Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA) is proud to announce their initial speakers for the first ever Field Fest mini-conference. Designed to provide OWAA members, supporting groups, and other outdoor industry professionals with an opportunity for networking and education, Field Fest will serve as a complement to the annual OWAA Conference, providing an additional opportunity for professional growth.  

Scheduled for July 7-11, 2024, this first Field Fest will take place in Johnson City, TN. Located deep in the Appalachian Mountains and surrounded by lakes, rivers, trail networks, and in close proximity to Cherokee National Forest, Johnson City offers abundant opportunities for a wide range of outdoor recreation activities, making it a perfect location for an OWAA meeting. 

“The announced speakers will surely further enhance the craft of and inspire our visiting OWAA members,” said Alec Castro, Director of Sales & Public Relations for Visit Johnson City. “Takeaways from our curated keynotes and workshop instructors can be utilized immediately during Field Fest in Northeast Tennessee, post-FAM in Knoxville, and all work moving forward. These individuals represent the nation’s premier outdoor communicators and were selected from the association membership and Johnson City area.” 

Event speakers will include:

Opening Keynote – Gerry Seavo James – “The Declassified Field Guide to an Outdoors For All”

Gerry Seavo James is Deputy Campaign Director, Outdoors For All for the Sierra Club’s Outdoors For All Campaign where he works as part of a team focused on securing federal legislative and administrative opportunities that accelerate outdoor access and equity across the U.S. He is also the founder of Outdoor Recreation Design Lab, a creative think tank home rooted in incubation of inclusive outdoor environments. 

Maayan Gordon – “Build and Leverage Your Personal Brand to Unlock Massive Business Opportunities”

A four-times founder and entrepreneur for the past 13 years, she has generated over $1,000,000 in sales through social media and grown her online following to more than 2.3 million across Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok. She currently works as a consultant and startup advisor, speaker, author, and travel influencer.

Marvin Cash – “Artificial Intelligence and Your Creative Journey”

An avid, lifelong outdoorsman, he is the host and producer of the award-winning fly fishing podcast, The Articulate Fly. In its sixth year, the podcast has 800+ episodes. The Articulate Fly is Marvin’s laboratory for using digital tools to build the fly fishing community. Off the water, Marvin has spent the last thirty years as a lawyer, entrepreneur, and businessman.

Howard Fox – “Everything You Need to Know to Be a Guest on a Podcast or Host Your Own”

An award-winning outdoor adventure podcaster, Fox hosts the Outdoor Adventure Series. His episodes celebrate individuals and families, entrepreneurs, and organizations that seek out and promote the exploration, conservation, stewardship, access, and enjoyment of the outdoors. 

Closing Keynote – Connie Deegan – “Capturing Nature Connections”

Connie Deegan is the naturalist for the City of Johnson City, specializing in herpetology, with snakes being her area of expertise. She conducts week-long seasonal nature camps and writes a popular weekly nature series, ‘Naturally Yours’. Deegan is responsible for park trail design and construction, signage, maps, and maintenance. 

Taking place at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City, Field Fest is open to OWAA Active Members and their partners, OWAA Supporting Groups, and anyone interested in learning more about the OWAA and the benefits of membership. 

Early Bird registration for the Field Fest is now open but fees will increase by $50 on April 8th. The registration fee includes a $400 travel stipend (for the first 20 active media OWAA members who register), discounted room rate at the Carnegie Hotel, all meals, ground transportation, core meeting activities, and tours. 

Local partners helping to bring Field Fest to life include Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, Tri-Cities Airport, Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association, Tour Carter County, Explore Bristol, Heart of Appalachia, Real. Wild. Unicoi County, Historic Jonesborough, Visit Kingsport, Visit Morristown, Discover Greeneville, and Visit Knoxville

To register for Field Fest, please visit: 

About OWAA

Recognized as “The Voice of the Outdoors,” OWAA is the nation’s largest organization of professional outdoor journalists. Its membership includes writers, photographers, videographers, radio and TV personalities, digital storytellers and artists. Formed in 1927, the nonprofit association’s mission is to improve the professional skills and opportunities of its members, set the highest ethical and communications standards, encourage public enjoyment and conservation of natural resources, and mentor the next generation of professional outdoor communicators.

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