Collegiate Contest

The VOWA 2016-2017 Collegiate Undergraduate Writing & Photo Contest
VOWA/Dominion Resources Overall Best Essay and Runner-Up
 Special Awards Given by Cooperative Living Magazine and Hunt’s Photo & Video

Deadline February 13, 2017

Chairperson Marie Majarov
Phone: 434-406-3164

Download: 2016-2017 Rules, Guidelines, and Submission Form for the Annual VOWA Writing-Photo Competition

The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association, Inc. (VOWA) and Dominion Resources, along with our special award contributors Cooperative Living Magazine, and Hunt’s Photo & Video, are proud to once again host a Collegiate Undergraduate Writing/Photo Contest. The objective is to encourage young adults to write about their outdoor experiences and interests in wildlife or natural history.     

The competition is open to any undergraduate student enrolled at a Virginia college or university, including two-year community colleges, public, and private post-secondary institutions, or to students who are Virginia residents attending similar out of state schools.   

 The theme for the contest essays is to write about a memorable outdoor experience or special interest. Each writer must title his/her essay and be careful not exceed the allotted word limit of 800 to 1,000 words of your best, carefully edited work. 

For our  Best Outdoor Photo Award, which is sponsored by Hunt’s Photo & Video submit your very best outdoor photos, up to 3 per person, in JPEG format with a 50-75-word paragraph identifying and telling us about your photo. Photos submitted should not exceed 800 by 800 pixels, but a larger image must be available if you are chosen as our winner. 


  • VOWA – Dominion Resources will present a cash award of $250 for the Best Overall Essay and a $100 cash award will go to the runner-up.
  • A special award for the Best Essay Relating Specifically to the Virginia Outdoors (a story set in Virginia and written about a traditional Virginia outdoor activity such as hunting, fishing, hiking, camping or similar pursuit) will be offered by Cooperative Living Magazine which is published by the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives (VMDAEC).  The winner of this prestigious award will receive $100 and have their entry published in Cooperative Living Magazine. This award could be won by the overall all winner or by another entry.
  • “Best Outdoor Photo” winner will receive a $50 gift Certificate from Hunt’s Photo & Video, and a $50 cash Award.
  • All winning entries will be published on the VOWA website.
  •  Honorable Mentions will be awarded as the judges see fit and these lucky individuals will be featured on the VOWA Website.
  • Attempts will also be made to get Winners and Honorable Mentions published in various publications throughout Virginia.  Rewarding excellence is our goal.In addition,

Judging will be done by panels of professional writers/editors/photographers. The winners will be introduced at our association’s annual meeting awards luncheon to be held in Charlottesville March 25, 2017. Winners and 2 guests each will be invited to the awards presentation as guests of VOWA  and  Dominion Resources; additional guests will also be welcome. This is a very special opportunity for students to showcase their writing and photography before many of the best outdoor writers/photographers in our Commonwealth.

The 2015-2016 winners and their entries can be viewed on the VOWA Winners Showcase page of this website, the Honorable Mentions at our Blog (scroll down to March 2016), and winner of the  Cooperative Living Magazine Award on the Cooperative Living website.

 It should be an exciting contest and VOWA looks forward to your receiving your entry.

VOWA is very grateful to all the schools across Virginia who join with us to encourage collegiate students to write and care about our natural world. We thank Dominion Resources for their generous support of our Collegiate Contest and our Annual Membership Meeting/Awards luncheon.  Cooperative Living Magazine and Hunt’s Photo & Video, we thank you for the special awards to our collegiate contest that make our contest extra special!    

Please Enter & Enjoy!