Grand Rapids, Michigan, January 7, 2022 — At its recent annual conference, the Michigan Outdoor Writers Association (MOWA) awarded Claire Watts (M.S. Candidate 2022) its MOWA/Toyota “Let’s Go Places” Scholarship.
Watts received $2,500 in support of her presentations at both the Ann Arbor School District and Harbor Springs Public Library. Using a multi-media approach — video, photography, and a 3D storyboard —she familiarized patrons with Michigan native flora, fauna and landmarks.
“My goal was to instill the importance of reconnecting with nature and to provide solace during these COVID-infested times of uncertainty,” says Watts. “Working with local schools and libraries to educate people about the environment and to identify organisms, I hoped to influence the public to go outside to parks and enjoy nature.”
Tom Carney, MOWA Board Chairman and Chair of its Scholarship Committee says, “Unlike in past generations, these days nature appreciation and outdoor recreation don’t automatically excite and appeal to most people. Communicators of the outdoors experience often find they need to spark connections to nature among their audiences, introducing it and teaching about it. By illustrating her understanding of the direction in which communicators need to head in order to stay relevant, Claire is performing as both a student at U of M and a fresh role model in MOWA.”
In addition to the monetary prize, the scholarship included expenses for attending the MOWA conference and up to five years as an Apprentice member in the organization.
With the financial support of Toyota Motors North America, MOWA offers the “Let’s Go Places Scholarship” to Michigan resident college upperclassmen whose career plans include communicating the outdoors experience, including but not limited to issues like public lands, wildlife diseases, water quality challenges, outdoor recreational activities and nature writing.
The goal of the scholarship is to help subsidize the efforts of these individuals as they take the next steps toward achieving their career goals. A unique feature of this program is that while it is called a “scholarship,” awardees are not restricted to using their prize money only for school expenses; they may apply their funds in any way that helps them grow professionally as communicators.
The Michigan Outdoor Writers Association is the state-level organization of professional outdoors communicators.
For more information contact: Tom Carney