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Media Information Page

For the convenience of the media, we are providing downloadable versions of our press releases, art work, and other accompanying materials. Traditional media outlets, websites, and other forms of the media are welcome to use any of the materials found here.

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    Press Release:

"2021 National Outdoor Book Awards Now Open"

"Winners of 2020 National Outdoor Book Awards Announced"

Also see the winners & reviews on our website

 

Art for Use by Media Sources:

National Outdoor Book Award Medallion

High & Low Resolution Scans of the Covers of Winning Books (2020 Award Winners)

 

Other Media Information:

Web Master Information: Website owners and developers are welcome to use our press releases, reviews and book scans.

      Mailing List:

Media Mailing List: Receive NOBA press releases.  Only two press releases are sent out annually.

 

Media Contact Information: 

For more information, or to be placed on a media mailing list, contact: Ron Watters, 921 South 8th Ave, Stop 8128, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID 83209.

Phone: 208- 232-6857.

Email: wattron@isu.edu.

Past Press Releases & High Resolution Scans:

2019 Winners 2008 Winners
2018 Winners 2007 Winners
2017 Winners 2006 Winners
2016 Winners 2005 Winners
2015 Winners 2004 Winners
2014 Winners 2003 Winners
2013 Winners 2002 Winners
2012 Winners 2001 Winners
2011 Winners 2000 Winners
2010 Winners 1999 Winners
2009 Winners 1998 Winners
 

 

 


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A Note to Media Members, Bloggers and Web Site Developers

We invite you to sign up for our media email list.  Our email list is highly confidential and not shared with any other sources.  We send out only two press releases per year.  One release announces the opening of nominations for the new year's program—and the other announces the winners (in the fall immediately after the judge's decisions are finalized).  To get on the mailing list, send an email to NOBA Chair Ron Watters at wattron@isu.edu.


PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   

(Valid from May 22, 2021 to August 15, 2021)

Contact: Ron Watters  (208) 282-3912 - wattron@isu.edu

 

2021 NATIONAL OUTDOOR BOOK AWARD NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2021 National Outdoor Book Awards. The program, which is in its 25th year, recognizes the work of outstanding writers and publishers of outdoor books.

Books may be nominated for awards in one of several categories including: History/Biography, Outdoor Literature, Outdoor Adventure Guides, Nature Guides, Children's Books, Design/Artistic Merit, Nature and the Environment, Natural History Literature, Outdoor Classics, and Journeys. 

Journeys is a new category this year.  Titles entered in this category involve journeying in some manner for the purposes of nature or outdoor travel.

To be eligible for the 2021 National Outdoor Book Awards, nominated books must have been released (date of first shipment of books) after June 1, 2020 and before September 1, 2021, except for those titles which have been nominated for the Outdoor Classic Award.

Application forms and eligibility requirements are available on the National Outdoor Book Awards web site (http://www.noba-web.org).

The deadline for applications is August 19, 2021.

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2020 Winners

 

PRESS RELEASE

NOTE: High & low resolution cover scans of all books mentioned below are available for download.

  • See also the announcement of the winners & reviews on our website
  • To download the following release (in Microsoft Word format), click here: PressNOBA20.doc

The following release consists of  three sections:
        General Release | Quick Summary of Winners | Complete Reviews of Winners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   

Contact: Ron Watters  (208) 282-3912 - wattron@isu.edu

 

2020 NATIONAL OUTDOOR BOOK AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED

The elusive and mysterious eel is a winner in this year’s National Outdoor Book Awards.

The eel is the subject of the book which took top honors in the Natural History Literature category, one of ten highly competitive categories that make up the National Outdoor Book Awards. 

A total of fourteen books were chosen as winners in this year's contest which is now in its twenty-fourth year.  Sponsors of the program include the National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Idaho State University and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.

 “The Book of the Eel” by Patrick Svensson pieces together humankind's long quest for knowledge about the creature, a quest that, interestingly enough, starts with Aristotle.  Parts are also played by Sigmund Freud and Rachel Carson, but the star of the show is Johannes Schmidt who spends much of his life searching the world's oceans to find where European and American eels are birthed.

What we learn from Svensson’s work is that the eel remains as mysterious as ever.  In fact, biologists still have not observed the eel’s most basic life function:  reproduction in the wild.    

“This is simply great writing,” said John Miles,  a judge for the contest and former dean and professor of Environmental Studies at Western Washington University. “It is a marvelous book, done in a highly readable way, never descending into technicalities.”

Almost all of the books entered in the National Outdoor Book Awards are new books, published within the last year.  The Classic category, however, accepts older books, and recognizes works which have shown to be of lasting significance in the outdoor world.

This year’s winner of the Classic award is “The Only Kayak” by Kim Heacox.  Heacox is an Alaska based writer and the author of a dozen books.  The judges were unanimous in their assessment that “The Only Kayak” was among Heacox’s best works.  “This is simply an outstanding book,” said John Miles, “with powerful writing throughout.”

In the book, Kim Heacox writes of his years living and working in Glacier Bay.  It is about paddling trips with friends, intimate encounters with wildlife, his work as a ranger, and excursions with an engaging young woman who, as it happens, becomes his life partner.  “I was tremendously impressed with the book,” said Miles, “and believe it should be on the shelf of classics in the history of environmental writing.”

The winner of the History/Biography Category is “The World Beneath Their Feet”  by Scott Ellsworth.  Ellsworth covers mountaineering history from 1930 to 1953. 

“What separates this book from many other climbing histories is that Ellsworth approaches mountaineering from a cultural and political perspective,”  said Ron Watters, chair of the National Outdoor Book Awards.

“The British,” said Watters, “aware that the days of their great empire were numbered, sought to bolster national pride by attempting to climb the world's highest peaks.  At the same time, the newly empowered Nazis looked to the Himalayas as a proving ground for Aryan superiority.”

And the Americans?   “They were a motley lot of Ivy League college buddies itching to be a player in this high stakes climbing game.”

The judges also chose a second winner in the History/Biography category: “Labyrinth of Ice” by Buddy Levy.

“Labyrinth of Ice” is about the Greely polar expedition which was forced to make a desperate escape from the frozen north.  “It is one of the most harrowing expeditions of polar history,” said Watters.  “Author Buddy Levy tells this epic tale with finesse and intelligence.”

The winner of the Outdoor Literature category is “Dragons in the Snow” by Edward Power.  Power reconstructs avalanche accidents, dissecting what went wrong, all the while bringing in the voices of men and women on the front lines of the avalanche safety profession. 

James Moss, a judge and outdoor industry attorney, calls it “an exceptionally well done book, one that holds your interest while at the same time, offering important, and possibly life saving, lessons on avalanche safety.”

The Design and Artistic Merit category honors outstanding photography and other forms of visual artwork.  This year’s winner is “Beauty and the Beast: California’s Wildflowers and Climate Change” by Rob Badger and Nita Winter.  Moss found lots to like about this colorful, large format work:  “This is a book of wonder,” he said, “and a celebratory feast for the eyes.”

Complete reviews of these and the other 2020 winners may be found at the National Outdoor Book Awards website at:  www.noba-web.org.

Here is a list of winners. 

Natural History Literature.  Winner.  “The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World.”  By Patrik Svensson.  Ecco / HarperCollins, New York.  ISBN 9780062968814

History/Biography.  Winner.  “The World Beneath Their Feet: Mountaineering Madness and the Deadly Race to Summit the Himalayas.”  By Scott Ellsworth.  Little, Brown and Company, New York.  ISBN 9780316434867

History/Biography.  Winner.  “Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition.”  By Buddy Levy.  St. Martin’s Press, New York.  ISBN 9781250182197

Outdoor Literature.  Winner.  “Dragons in the Snow:  Avalanche Detectives and the Race to Beat Death in the Mountains.”  By Edward Power.  Mountaineers Books, Seattle.  ISBN9781680512960

Classic.  Winner.  “The Only Kayak:  A Journey Into the Heart of Alaska.”  By Kim Heacox.  Lyons Press, Guilford, CT.  ISBN 9781493049400

Design and Artistic Merit.  Winner.  “Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change.”  By Rob Badger and Nita Winter.  WinterBadger Press and California Native Plant Society, Sausalito and Sacramento, CA.  ISBN 9781733104401

Children's Category. Winner.  “Nature Play Workshop for Families: A Guide to 40+ Outdoor Learning Experiences in All Seasons.”  By Monica Wiedel-Lubinski and Karen Madigan.  Quarry Books, Beverly, MA.  ISBN 9781631598685

Nature and the Environment.  Winner.  “Secrets of Snakes: The Science Beyond the Myths.”  By David A. Steen.  Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX.  ISBN 9781623497972

Nature and the Environment.  Winner.  “America's Great Mountain Trails:  100 Highcountry Hikes of a Lifetime.”  By Tim Palmer.  Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., New York.  ISBN 9780847865420.

Nature Guidebooks.  Winner.  “Foraging Southern California: 118 Nutritious, Tasty and Abundant Foods.”  By Douglas Kent.  Adventure Publications, Cambridge, MN.  ISBN 9781591939153

Instructional.  Winner.  “Peak Nutrition: Smart Fuel for Outdoor Adventure.”  By Maria Hines and Mercedes Pollmeier.  Mountaineers Books, Seattle.  ISBN 9781680512052

Instructional.  Honorable Mention.  “Crack Climbing: The Definitive Guide." By Pete Whittaker.  Illustrations by Alex Poyzer.  Mountaineers Books, Seattle.  ISBN 9781680512151.

Outdoor Adventure Guides.  Winner.  “Fly Fishing Austin and Central Texas.”  By Aaron Reed.  Imbrifex Books, Las Vegas.  ISBN 9781945501241.

Outdoor Adventure Guides.  Winner.  “Hiking Lassen Volcanic National Park: A Guide to the Park's Greatest Hiking Adventures.”  By Tracy Salcedo.  Falcon Guides, Guilford, CT.  ISBN 9781493044047

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Full Reviews Follows . . .

Natural History Literature.  Winner.  The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World.  By Patrik Svensson.  Ecco / HarperCollins, New York.  ISBN 9780062968814

Patrik Svensson's Book of Eels is natural history writing at its finest.  It only takes a few pages, and Svensson draws you in, delivering a graceful and moving account of these elusive and mysterious creatures.  Ever so gradually, he pieces together humankind's quest for knowledge about eels, a quest that, interestingly enough, starts with Aristotle.  Parts are also played by Sigmund Freud and Rachel Carson, but the star of the show is Johannes Schmidt who spends much of his life searching the world's oceans to find where European eels are birthed.  Part marine biology, part historical drama, and part personal narrative, The Book of Eels is an extraordinary achievement.

 

History/Biography.  Winner.  The World Beneath Their Feet: Mountaineering Madness and the Deadly Race to Summit the Himalayas.  By Scott Ellsworth.  Little, Brown and Company, New York.  ISBN 9780316434867

Scott Ellsworth combines solid research, and a touch of panache, in this work on mountaineering history from 1930 to 1953.  What separates this book from many other climbing histories is that Ellsworth approaches mountaineering from a cultural and political perspective.  The British, aware that the days of their great empire were numbered, sought to bolster national pride by attempting to climb the world's highest peaks.  So, too, are the newly empowered Nazis, but they also look to the Himalayas as a proving ground for the superiority of the Aryan master race.  And the Americans?  They were a motley lot of Harvard college buddies, itching to be a player in this high stakes game.  There's plenty to sink your teeth into, and plenty of new insights, in this absorbing and eminently readable book.

 

History/Biography.  Winner.  Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition. By Buddy Levy.  St. Martin’s Press, New York.  ISBN 9781250182197

The Greely Expedition is perhaps one of the most harrowing expeditions in polar history.  A. W. Greely, an American army lieutenant, set out to reach the farthest north yet achieved by any human.  He was successful in that effort, but it is the return journey for which the expedition is known.  A resupply ship is blocked by ice from reaching the party, and what follows is Greely and his men's desperate attempt to escape from the frozen north.  Based on exhaustive research, this is an epic tale told with finesse and intelligence.

 

Outdoor Literature.  Winner.  Dragons in the Snow:  Avalanche Detectives and the Race to Beat Death in the Mountains.  By Edward Power.  Mountaineers Books, Seattle.  ISBN9781680512960

Imagine that you're on a backcountry snowboard outing.  The snow is epic:  deep, powdery and, oh, so luring.  Suddenly, there is an avalanche and you are caught in a moving mass of snow hurtling down a mountainside.  Told in a captivating, novelistic style, Edward Power's lead story in Dragons in the Snow places you at the scene of an accident.  An accurate re-telling of the event, he effectively uses it to introduce a selection of backcountry guides and avalanche professionals who must deal with the vagaries of snow.    It's an exceptionally well done book, one that holds your interest while at the same time, offering important, and possibly life saving, lessons on avalanche safety.

 

Classic.  Winner.  The Only Kayak:  A Journey Into the Heart of Alaska. By Kim Heacox.  Lyons Press, Guilford, CT.  ISBN 9781493049400

In this elegant and moving memoir, Kim Heacox writes of his years living and working in Glacier Bay.  It is about paddling trips with friends, intimate encounters with wildlife, his work as a ranger, and excursions with an engaging young woman who, as it happens, becomes his life partner.  Through it all, he wrestles with the questions that plague all conscientious outdoor users: the never ceasing encroachment of untrammeled spaces, our relationship with the wild, and our relationship with one another.  He often draws from thinkers, explorers, philosophers, and environmental writers of the past.  This is a thoughtful and penetrating work of outdoor literature that clearly ranks among Alaska's finest.

 

Design and Artistic Merit.  Winner.  Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change.  By Rob Badger and Nita Winter.  WinterBadger Press and California Native Plant Society, Sausalito and Sacramento, CA.  ISBN 9781733104401

The first part of this large format book is entitled "The gift of Beauty."  It's referring to wildflowers, of course, but it is also an apt characterization of the book itself.  It is truly a gift, a gift of artistic beauty that would grace anyone's home.  From wide view photographs of vast fields of color to intricate close-ups of individual flower species, it is a book of wonder and a celebratory feast for the eyes.  Complementing the photographic artistry are 18 essays which help deliver a message of what has been—and will be—lost in the natural world if global warming continues unchecked.

 

Children's Category. Winner.  Nature Play Workshop for Families: A Guide to 40+ Outdoor Learning Experiences in All Seasons.  By Monica Wiedel-Lubinski and Karen Madigan.  Quarry Books, Beverly, MA.  ISBN 9781631598685

With years of experience in teaching children, Monica Wiedel-Lubinski and Karen Madigan couldn't have formed a better partnership for this book.  While children will enjoy the bright, colorful photos and graphics, it's primarily oriented to adults: parents, youth leaders and teachers.  Using an extraordinary practical approach, the co-authors provide innovative ways to entice children away from the indoors and into the outdoors.  Their secret?  Play.  Children love to play, and if you get them playing outdoors, they naturally enjoy being there.  Intended for children in the 8 to 12 year range, it's a joy to use and is packed full of ideas to combine play and learning in the outdoors.

 

Nature and the Environment.  Winner.  Secrets of Snakes: The Science Beyond the Myths.  By David A. Steen.  Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX.  ISBN 9781623497972

What is impressive about this excellent primer on snakes is its clever organization.  It is divided up into a series of statements and/or questions, each lending themselves to short chapters:  Does the head of a snake reveal danger?  Are baby snakes more dangerous than adults?  Can you tell the age of a rattlesnake by its tail?  With the reader's interest thus engaged, author David Steen uses the opportunity to correct falsehoods and misconceptions about snakes, and then very effectively follows up by imparting information about snake ecology and biology.  It is enlightening without being overly academic, perfect for anyone who wants to learn about the fascinating world of snakes.

 

Nature and the Environment.  Winner.  America's Great Mountain Trails:  100 Highcountry Hikes of a Lifetime.  By Tim Palmer.  Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., New York.  ISBN 9780847865420.

You can always rely on Tim Palmer for keen observation and accurate descriptive writing.  In this new, large format book, he details 100 noteworthy trails in the United States, covering the mountainous areas of the East and West, along with Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.  It's two books rolled into one.  It's a guidebook, yes, with information and practical hints on hiking the trails, but it's also an art portfolio, exhibiting Palmer's outstanding outdoor photography.

 

Nature Guidebooks.  Winner.   Foraging Southern California: 118 Nutritious, Tasty and Abundant Foods.  By Douglas Kent.  Adventure Publications, Cambridge, MN.  ISBN 9781591939153

Foraging Southern California is a terrific little guidebook on nature's edible goodies which easily slips into a pocket of your pack.  Foraging expert, Douglas Kent takes care of the important stuff first.  In the opening chapter, he pictures and describes the plants you want to stay away from:  those that are toxic or poisonous.  From there it is smooth sailing, setting the stage for a great day of foraging.   Each of the edibles include a large color photograph and descriptive information on habitat, leaves, flowers, harvest season and comparable species.

 

Instructional.  Winner.  Peak Nutrition: Smart Fuel for Outdoor Adventure.  By Maria Hines and Mercedes Pollmeier.  Mountaineers Books, Seattle.  ISBN 9781680512052

"Wow" is the best way to summarize the judges' reaction to this exquisitely designed and illustrated book on outdoor nutrition.  What really notches up the wow factor is the great writing team of Mercedes Pollmeier and Maria Hines.  Pollmeier is a nutrition expert and a certified strength and conditioning coach.  She trains athletes from around the world.  Hines is a climber and a chef.  Food & Wine magazine included her in their list of “Best New Chefs” and the New York Times has featured her organic restaurant.  Combining their diverse talents, they add a little pazazz to trail cooking, helping you create meals that are both delicious and nutritious.  Try one of the recipes in this book and you, too, will be saying wow.  The best thing?  You'll never ever have to resort to a tasteless freeze dried dinner again.

 

Instructional.  Honorable Mention.  Crack Climbing: The Definitive Guide. By Pete Whittaker.  Illustrations by Alex Poyzer.  Mountaineers Books, Seattle.  ISBN 9781680512151.

If there's ever been a definitive guide devoted to one segment of climbing technique, this is exhibit number one.  Pete Whittaker is a world class crack climber and he leaves no stone unturned in this excellent instructional book.  What is crack climbing?  It is that aspect of the sport whereby you jam fingers, hands, or feet into cracks to move upward on a rock face.  Whittaker has organized the book by width of crack (finger, hand, offwidth, chimney).  Then, with excellent illustrations by Alex Poyzer, he describes a myriad of ways a climber can position fingers, hands, feet and body to tackle any crack that comes your way.

 

Outdoor Adventure Guides.  Winner.  Fly Fishing Austin and Central Texas.  By Aaron Reed.  Imbrifex Books, Las Vegas.  ISBN 9781945501241.

All you have to do is to read the introductory chapters to realize that Aaron Reed is the sort of guy who you wouldn't mind having as a fishing pal.  Fortunately, for most of us, his fly fishing guide allows you to do just that.  You can fish the same waters, grab a bite at a favorite eatery, and enjoy the same music.  Music?  Yessiree.  At the end of each chapter, Reed includes suggested music that you might enjoy on your fishing excursion.  This is Austin, Texas after all.  He covers more than 100 legal fishing accesses, most within 50 miles of Austin and others within a 90 mile radius.  Besides being a first rate writer, he's a darn good photographer, and his color photographs are the perfect supplement to this well designed and thoroughly useful guide.

 

Outdoor Adventure Guides.  Winner.  Hiking Lassen Volcanic National Park: A Guide to the Park's Greatest Hiking Adventures.  By Tracy Salcedo.  Falcon Guides, Guilford, CT.  ISBN 9781493044047

It's always a pleasure to come across a guidebook writer who really knows her stuff—and Tracy Salcedo is certainly that and more.  She has been hiking the trails of Lassen for over 20 years, and her many days on those trails plainly show as she accurately guides you on the 50 trails highlighted in the book.  Everything you need is there: nicely rendered maps, color photos, difficulty ratings, mileage charts, and helpful advice from one who knows.

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To download the above release (MS Word format), click here: PressNOBA20.doc

If you are unable to use the Microsoft Word document, above, a simple way to transfer the press release to your word processor is to highlight the text of the above press release with your mouse, choose EDIT--COPY, and then paste it in your word processor.  Another way is to choose FILE--SAVE AS (TEXT) on your Browser Menu.  This method saves the entire page, but once you open the file in your word processor, you can delete any text you don't want. Note that both of the above methods will not retain formatting. 

 



Cover Scans of all 2020 Winning Books

(Note: if you need high resolution scans of the winning books from previous years, see Past Press Releases.)

Web Resolution Scans (72 dpi)

If you need low resolution scans for blogs, websites and other Internet uses, the following zip file includes all 2020 Winners: Low Resolution JPG's

High Resolution Scans (300 dpi)

For your convenience, we have made high resolution scans of all NOBA winners.  The covers were scanned with a graphic-quality scanner at 300 dpi, a resolution suitable for most print media work. All scans were saved in a TIFF file format. 

When downloading the following image files, we suggest using your browser's SAVE option.  On some browsers, you can do this by right clicking and selecting SAVE LINK AS. 

Natural History Literature. Winner.  The Book of Eels

History/Biography.  Winner.  The World Beneath Their Feet

History/Biography.  Winner.  Labyrinth of Ice

Outdoor Literature.  Winner.  Dragons in the Snow

Classic.  Winner.  The Only Kayak

Design and Artistic Merit.  Winner.  Beauty and the Beast

Children's Category. Winner.  Nature Play Workshop for Families

Nature and the Environment.  Winner.  Secrets of Snakes

Nature and the Environment.  Winner.  America's Great Mountain Trails

Nature Guidebooks.  Winner.  Foraging Southern California

Instructional.  Winner.  Peak Nutrition

Instructional.  Honorable Mention.  Crack Climbing

Outdoor Adventure Guides.  Winner.  Fly Fishing Austin and Central Texas

Outdoor Adventure Guides.  Winner.  Hiking Lassen Volcanic National Park

 



NOBA Medallion

The following links will download a high resolution scan of the NOBA medallion.  The medallion is copyrighted.  However, media sources (such as newspapers, periodicals and other news outlets) may use it without permission to illustrate informational articles on the NOBA program. The scan was saved in a TIFF file format. 

When downloading the following TIFF image files, we suggest using your browser's SAVE option.  On some browsers, you can do this by right clicking and selecting SAVE LINK AS. 

To download, click on the following:

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Winner Medallion
National Outdoor Book Awards Winner Medallion
(Scanned as a TIFF file and available for download in two file types)

Winner Medallion TIFF format (300 dpi):  MedalWin.tif (878 Kbytes)
Winner Medallion TIFF format (300 dpi) (In ZIP file): MedalWin.zip (281 Kbytes)

Winner Medallion TIFF format (600 dpi):  MedalWin600.tif (4.8 MBytes)
Winner Medallion TIFF format (600 dpi) (In ZIP file): MedalWin.zip (1.8 MBytes)

Note that versions of medallion for use on the web are available: here

Honorable Mention Medallion
National Outdoor Book Awards Honorable Mention Medallion
(Scanned as a TIFF file and available for download in two file types)

Honorable Mention Medallion TIFF format (300 dpi): MedalHon.tif (744 Kbytes)
Honorable Mention Medallion TIFF format (300 dpi):  MedalHon.zip (283 Kbytes)


 

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