Pheasants Forever Promotes Iowa and Illinois Biologists

PF Habitat Specialists move up to fill openings

St. Paul, Minn. - August 26 -

Pheasants Forever (PF) promoted two regional wildlife biologists and named two PF habitat specialists as their replacements. The most significant move occurred on August 10th when PF launched Quail Forever (QF); a division of PF focused on improving quail habitat. Jim Wooley, PF's regional wildlife biologist for Iowa was promoted to Quail Forever's director of field operations.

Wooley was hired by PF in 1985 as the organization's first biologist. He becomes QF's first biologist and will represent the organization as it creates regional and national partnerships on behalf of quail conservation. He will also manage all QF biologists, while continuing to service Missouri PF and QF chapters.

"Jim is the rare talent that can communicate his knowledge of wildlife biology, build coalitions and partnerships with resource agencies, as well as motivate and guide volunteers to make the right decisions for wildlife," explained Howard Vincent, PF's president and chief executive officer. "There is no question we added credibility to the Pheasants Forever name the day we hired Jim in 1985 and there is no doubt that credibility will translate into quail habitat and hope for quail hunters through Quail Forever."

PF also announced the promotion of Tom Schwartz to director of conservation programs for Illinois. A Franklin, Wisconsin native now living in Petersburg, Illinois, Schwartz had been working as PF's regional wildlife biologist for Illinois since 2000. He was recently promoted to focus efforts on state-wide conservation programs. Schwartz will also spend more time on writing, administering, and reporting statewide grants, as well as increasing the amount of time dedicated to political involvement in state conservation issues.

One Illinois habitat program of particular focus for Schwartz is the Habitat Wheel Initiative. Through the Habitat Wheel concept, the first step is the acquisition of a big block, or hub, of land critical as wildlife habitat. Once that hub of land is acquired, PF and state resource professionals work with area landowners to enroll nearby eligible lands in conservation programs, thus creating spokes on the hub. As a result, these efforts are additive and serve multiple purposes for addressing landscape wildlife habitat issues.

Wooley and Schwartz's positions as regional wildlife biologists have both been filled by two PF habitat specialists. Regional biologists primary duties include starting new chapters and working with existing chapters to raise and expend funds on wildlife habitat and conservation education projects. Regional biologists also serve as point-people for the local, state, and federal natural resource personnel in a given state.

In contrast, PF's habitat specialists are more hands-on habitat creators. Habitat specialists are responsible for implementing habitat from the planning stage to the planting stage. Responsibilities include promoting local, state, and federal conservation programs and helping landowners understand their conservation options for their property. Specialists are also skilled at performing the actual habitat establishment. They drive the tractors and pull the seed drills to plant native grasses and forbs, convert brush and tree vegetation to grasslands, and perform prescribed burns.

Replacing Wooley as western Iowa's regional biologist is Tim Vande Noord. Vande Noord had been working in northern Illinois as a PF habitat specialist since April of 2004. Prior to joining PF, Tim worked for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. He received his B.S. in environmental studies from Central College in Pella, Iowa and is a Pella, Iowa native.

Replacing Schwartz as the new regional biologist for Illinois is PF habitat specialist Tim Caughran. Caughran had been working in south central Wisconsin since December of 2002. In 2003, Caughran was named PF's "Acre Maker" as the employ responsible for accomplishing the most habitat projects during the year. Prior to joining PF, Caughran worked for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service. He received his B.S. from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois and is a Shelbyville, Illinois native.

PF is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. Such efforts benefit landowners and wildlife alike. PF has more than 110,000 members in over 600 local chapters across the continent.

Bob St.Pierre (877)773-2070

Pheasants Forever is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasants, quail and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness and education. Such efforts benefit landowners and wildlife alike.