If the parking lot at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World seems a little fuller than usual, it’s probably because about 150 journalists specializing in the outdoors are in Springfield for the 10th Anniversary Professional Outdoor Media Association conference. The conference, headquartered at University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center, kicks off tonight with a welcome reception at the White River Conference Center and concludes with an awards banquet Friday night.

Along with educational seminars about a wide variety of topics, such as self editing, writing tips, social media, video, book publishing and others, attendees will enjoy outdoor activities exposing them to the natural beauty of southwest Missouri and participate in activities hosted by Bass Pro Shops.

“We anticipate many of those journalists will produce stories about what they see and do while here,” said Dana Maugans, sales director at the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“We’re so honored to be able to host this country’s finest outdoor communications professionals here in Springfield. It’s such a great opportunity to showcase the beauty of the Ozarks and all the wonderful ways to enjoy the outdoors here,” said Tammy Sapp, Bass Pro Shops director of communications. “As the leader in helping people learn new outdoor skills and gear up for their next adventure, it just makes sense to have Bass Pro Shops involved in the event. We also have a wonderful conservation message to share with this group about how everyone, from companies to individuals, can do their part to conserve our natural resources.”

Attendees also will participate in POMA Camps and Shooting Day from 1-4 p.m. March 20 at Ozark Shooters Complex. The event includes hands-on demonstrations of outdoor gear and the POMA Axed cooking competition. Using secret ingredients with ties to the Ozarks, POMA Axed competitors will prepare meals during timed events and celebrity judges, including local media and politicians, will pick the winners.

This marks POMA’s second time in Springfield. The organization had its inaugural conference in Springfield 10 years ago.

POMA’s mission is to foster excellence in communications at all levels, help members build their businesses, connect media and industry, promote fair and honest communication of the traditional outdoor sports and conservation stories, and mentor the next generation of traditional outdoor sports communicators. Learn more about the organization at www.professionaloutdoormedia.org.

This is one of many groups brought to Springfield through efforts of the Convention & Visitors Bureau, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the local economy through growth in the tourism and travel industry. For more information, call the CVB at 417-881-5300 or 800-678-8767 or visit www.SpringfieldMO.org.