Communicator of the Year

Dan Small

WWF Conservation Communicator of the Year


Dan Small, dean of Wisconsin outdoor communicators, has demonstrated outstanding conservation efforts and created a high degree of public awareness of the importance of natural resources conservation. Last year, more than ever, he showcased the healthy benefits of time spent outdoors.

Beyond being an avid outdoorsman who enjoys spending time among Wisconsin’s natural resources with people of all walks of life, Dan is an award-winning journalist who professionally covers conservation and the outdoors. Recently, Wisconsin’s tourism industry gave him its prestigious Legacy Award. So, you would think he must be retired. To the contrary, in 2020 and 2021, he increased his outdoor communication outreach. Last year, with the pandemic changing everyone’s lives, Dan Small’s comforting presence on TV and radio, and online, and in print, helped them escape to the outdoors.

After decades of hosting Outdoors Wisconsin on PBS, Dan increased his outdoor communication activity with online posts, Facebook live-streaming, his column in Wisconsin Outdoor News, his annual Deer Hunt Wisconsin TV program, and his weekly Outdoors Radio with Dan Small that grew to 22 radio stations last year!

His balanced coverage of timely issues and timeless outdoor pursuits both entertains and informs his many listeners, viewers, readers, and social media followers. He covers all outdoors.

Dan is a trusted voice here and across the country. Whether it’s timely interviews with outdoor leaders or fun conversations with unique outdoor personalities, people tune in to Dan’s coverage of environmental issues, regulation changes and legislative matters or feature stories about hunters, anglers, birders, trappers, and others. He has a way of conveying the essence of his subjects. He gets to the heart of the matter. He explains the most complex facts in easy-to-understand language that creates a more informed public. He describes outdoor pursuits in a way that helps his audience virtually see, smell, hear, taste, and touch the subject, motivating them to want to follow in his footsteps and experience the outdoor activity or destination for themselves.

Dan also has been recognized by his peers locally and nationally for his work and his trusted guidance. It can be seen in the many awards he has received for his writing, photography, social media, TV, and radio programs. His award-winning work has won regional and national honors. Above and beyond his work, Dan was selected by his peers to serve on Boards of Directors of professional organizations like the Outdoor Writers Association of America, who also bestowed top national honors on him, recognizing and appreciating his contributions on so many levels.

As he begins a new year of helping WWF connect people with nature, we honor Dan Small as the WWF Conservation Communicator of the Year.