OCTA Awards

Awards, Credits, Prizes & Programs

Recognition for exceptional contributions!

OCTA recognizes individuals and groups that protect and share the legacy of emigrant trails.

OCTA is especially proud to support and recognize educators and students through awards, an honorarium, and annual prizes.

Announcing the Winners for Western Calendar

several young girls sit at table with papers and talk to a man

Here are the winners for the 2021 Western Calendar!

Congratuations to the student winners of the 2021 Dangers & Hazards Along the Trails calendar. The young budding artists whose works were selected, along with their teachers who encouraged their work, deserve recognition.

In spite of the many complications that schools and students faced due to the virus this year, they were able to find a path that enabled their participation.

The fourteen students whose artwork appears in the calendar and their teachers and schools are:

Scarlett Ransom, Mrs. Lowry & Ms. Leisha Black, Canyon Rim Academy, Salt Lake City, UT; Brooklyn Evans, Ms. Hodson & Ms. Leisha Black, Canyon Rim Academy, Salt Lake City, UT; Camille Bird, Mrs. Lowry & Ms. Leisha Black, Canyon Rim Academy, Salt Lake City, UT; Beckham Allred, Ms. Hodson & Ms. Leisha Black, Canyon Rim Academy, Salt Lake City, UT; Grace Leavitt, Ms. Hodson & Ms. Leisha Black, Canyon Rim Academy, Salt Lake City, UT; Jane Hunter, Ms. Hazen & Ms. Leisha Black, Canyon Rim Academy, Salt Lake City, UT; and Sophie Winterton,  Mrs. Lowry & Ms. Leisha Black, Canyon Rim Academy, Salt Lake City, UT; Oliver Graczyk, Ms. Sharri Janner, John Paul II School, Overland Park, KS;  Brennan Leary, Ms. Sharri Janner, John Paul II School, Overland Park, KS; Jenny Danielson, Mrs. Dutson, Bennion Elementary, Taylorsville, UT;  Whitney Metcalf,  Mrs. Dutson, Bennion Elementary, Taylorsville, UT;   Madison Paganetti-Dick, Ms. Yorkeys, Golden View Elementary, San Ramon, CA ; Dhruv Prabhu, Mrs. Mcintosh, Golden View Elementary, San Ramon, CA; and Mackenzie Bartlett, Mrs. Mcintosh 4th grade Golden View Elementary, San Ramon, CA.

Information about the 2022 student calendar contest and its theme, “Emigrant and Indian Foods,” is also available on the OCTA website. We hope again that students and teachers will again overcome the challenges caused by Covid and will be able to participate in even greater numbers. Also, all those other students, along with their teachers, whose works were not selected deserve credit and a hearty THANKS for their involvement.

Outstanding Educator Award

Woman holds an award plaque and stands next to another woman and man

Outstanding Educator Award

The outstanding Educator Award seeks to honor outstanding educators and institutions for their work in providing unique programs that engage and spark their students’ interests in westward emigration and expansion that give students a both a factual and realistic understanding of it. The award includes a $250.00 honorarium. Applications for the award are open to any individual, team of educators, or institution that contributes significantly to students’ education about the 19th century westward overland migration in the United States. The deadline for submissions is April 30.


Activity Book Raffle

book cover with text Reading, Writing and Riding Along the Oregon-California Trails

Activity Book Raffle

Each winter we sponsor a raffle for a class set of one of OCTA’s educational activity books that focus on the Oregon-California trails, Mormon Trail, Pony Express Trail, or Lewis and Clark Trail. The deadline for raffle postcard entries are February 1.

Western Calendar

several Shoshone Indian people stand near two tipis

Each year the Oregon-California Trails Association (OCTA) produces a special western calendar based on a particular theme. The calendar will be created using the original artwork of elementary students. Prizes will be awarded to each child whose artwork is selected. Each selected student receives a $50.00 prize. The theme for the 2023 calendar is “Mountain Men, Indians, and Emigrants – Trade and Trade Goods” The deadline to enter is April 15, 2022.

cover of OCTA 2021 Calendar with children's drawings

OCTA Awards

OCTA awards are given each year to people who have made exceptional contributions toward the furtherance of OCTA’s mission and objectives. Awards recognizing those contributions are presented at the annual convention. As a general rule, when giving out awards, preference is given to persons residing in the general area where the national convention is being held. The objective of this rule is to maximize publicity and interest at the local level and to increase participation in the awards program.

Types of Awards

Merrill Mattes Award  This award is presented to the author(s) of the article in the Overland Journal  that best reflects excellence in writing and research and the goals of OCTA. It is open to both OCTA members and non-members.

Gregory Franzwa Meritorious Achievement Award The highest award OCTA can give to recognize long-term and significant contributions to OCTA. Only members can qualify for Meritorious Achievement.

Dave Welch Preservation Award For special efforts toward Preservation.

Distinguished Volunteer Award Bestowed on OCTA members who contribute significantly to achieving OCTA goals and projects. Only OCTA members can qualify for Distinguished Volunteer.

Distinguished Service Award Granted to organizations, businesses, government agencies, individuals, or others who contribute or participate in furthering OCTA’s programs directly or provide substantial support in a non-affiliated way to trail preservation and education.

Friend of the Trail Award Presented to groups, individuals, or organizations that have direct ties to lands over which historic trails pass. Neither property ownership nor current residence on trail property is required, but emphasis is on preservation of trail remnants, education of the public about their historic resources, and allowing responsible public access to the historic resources.

National Certificates of Appreciation Presented to individuals and organizations that have made a particular effort in achieving a short-term OCTA goal. These certificates are for efforts of national scope; more regional or local efforts should be recognized by appropriate chapters.

Young OCTAN Award Presented to children and youth between the ages of six and twenty-one who have demonstrated particular interest in OCTA and the history and/or preservation of historic emigrant trails. The nominee will have demonstrated this interest by an activity in the field or via a school or class project in such a manner that is considered outstanding and far above the typical field or school project. The project may also be an outstanding personal endeavor on the nominee’s own initiative. An entire class or group of school-aged children may be nominated as one aggregated nominee. Qualifying standards would include participation in OCTA meetings, outings, and/or work projects over an extended period. OCTA membership is not a requirement. In addition, other awards may be appropriate, such as the Past Presidential Award, the Special Presidential Award, Certificates of Appreciation for outgoing officers and directors, and Resolutions of Thanks for convention program chairs and local arrangement chairs.

Awards Presented by Local Chapters Local chapters of OCTA may present Certificates of Appreciation to deserving individuals or institutions who have shown outstanding contributions in preservation, research or education on the local level. Although these certificates are primarily intended for those outside of OCTA, it is also open to OCTA volunteers.

Award Forms Award forms can be filled in and submitted electronically.