Laurel Ridge Professors, Ann and Rob Simpson, Win Outdoor Writers Competitions

For Immediate Release:
April 12, 2016

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134

national park collage

Both Virginia and Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers Associations announced that Ann and Rob Simpson of Stephens City, Virginia, were recognized as award recipients for 2016. The annual awards ceremonies recognized and honored the best work of outdoor communicators in writing, photography and electronic media.

2016 Awards won by the couple:

Virginia Outdoor Writers Association (VOWA)


  • Excellence in Craft Award
  • First Place – Outstanding Book
  • Nature Guide to Yellowstone National Park
  • March 12, 2016


  • Excellence in Craft Award
  • Second Place – Outstanding Book
  • Nature Guide to Yosemite National Park
  • March 12, 2016


  • Excellence in Craft Award
  • Second Place – Outstanding Photograph
  • “Struggle for Life – Elk and Wolves in Yellowstone National Park”
  • March 12, 2016


Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers Association (MDOWA)


  • Pete Greer Memorial Award for Best Published Outdoor Photograph
  • “Struggle for Life – Elk and Wolves in Yellowstone National Park”
  • April 3, 2016


  • Frank Smoot Memorial Three-Year Rotating Award: Book
  • Nature Guide to “Yosemite National Park”
  • April 3, 2016


Ann and Rob Simpson are nature photographers and authors of numerous books, mostly with a national park theme. Their background as professors in biology at Laurel Ridge Community College (Laurel Ridge), gives their photography an in-depth quality. The Simpsons also teach nature and wildlife photography courses at Laurel Ridge for the career program certificate in outdoor and nature photography. 

The Virginia Outdoor Writers Association is a coalition of writers, photographers, and video/film producers who inform through various media on the out-of-doors and its enjoyment.  The organization pledges to support the conservation of natural resources and to the best precepts, governing their consumption and recreational use. 

The Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers Association was founded in 1957 as a non-profit professional organization dedicated to improving member knowledge of effective communications in all fields of the outdoors media including writing, photography, art, radio and television broadcast, video, and on the internet. M-DOWA promotes outdoor education, the wise use of our natural resources, and holds members to the highest ethical standards of journalism.

Both groups consist of the best outdoor writers and artist in the area.

national park collage

Award Winning Books by Ann and Rob Simpson

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April 3, Award Winners from The Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers Association Conference: Rob and Ann Simpson are seated left to right



Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With three locations — Middletown, Warrenton, and Luray-Page County — the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Laurel Ridge Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees. Laurel Ridge Community College also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities. Laurel Ridge shall promote and maintain equal employment and educational opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions including lactation, age (except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification), status as a veteran, national origin, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment. Inquiries may be directed to the Associate Vice President, Human Resources, [email protected]173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, VA 22645, 540-868-7226.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.