ANSWER THE CALL

The uplands called in 2021, and Pheasants Forever — chapters, volunteers, members, employees, donors, sponsors and partners — answered.

In so many measurable ways, as you will see in the summaries that follow, it was a record year. Celebrating those accomplishments is important, and we shall do so here. But as a key part of the Pheasants Forever family, you know what really matters: What is to come.

Join us on a look back at 2021. Commit with us on saving our endangered grasslands and upland wildlife habitat. And together, let us focus forward on the challenges ahead.

Habitat

In all, Pheasants Forever accomplished more than 2.2 million acres of habitat work in 2021. Need some perspective? That’s more than 3,400 square miles, an area more than twice the size of Rhode Island.

 

Adding access to the PF Mission Statement this year tells you about what is dear to members, and where the organization is re-committing. Places to recreate (yes, hunt) and enjoy the fruits of our habitat labors — forever — are key to what we do as The Habitat Organization. One might also call us The Access Organization

 

Permanent protection is critical: land that will forever be protected as wildlife habitat and open to public hunting. In 2021 Pheasants Forever added 6,398 acres of such lands, bringing the organization’s total acres-to-date in this category to 218,592. Public, forever.

 

Access includes lands that may not be permanently public but are open to recreation. In 2021, PF helped create 379,646 total acres of access for public hunting. Annual enrollments in walk-in programs are key here — acres which would not be available to wildlife if not for our Farm Bill wildlife biologists helping private landowners create wildlife habitat — that also improves soil, cleanses and retains water, and assists in climate resiliency — across pheasant country.

 

Restoring and enhancing habitat on both public land and private lands remains the heart of the PF mission, and is in fact the core of what we do through our army of wildlife biologists and habitat specialists. In 2021, Pheasants Forever restored or improved 503,159 acres of upland wildlife habitat.

 

PF & QF now has Farm Bill wildlife biologists in 38 states, up from 32. In all, this impressive team totalled more than 1.48 million acres of habitat work in 2021. This only happens through the key partnerships we have with federal and state agencies.

 

And don’t forget: PF chapters themselves are a habitat force, with 190,000 acres of habitat improvements logged in 2021.

 

Will you help us continue to make more and better places for pheasants, butterflies, bees, grassland songbirds and the myriad of other wildlife in the uplands?

HERITAGE

Without new sportsmen and women — of any and every demographic — joining the outdoor lifestyle, conservation would surely wane and die. That’s why building our hunting heritage is so important and worthy of PF’s focus.

Despite considerable ongoing challenges with Covid-19, our PF team and innovative, hard-working chapters delivered. Momentum did not stop! Everyone developed new ways to get people involved in the heritage of the great outdoors, creating new members of The Habitat Organization and supporters for upland conservation.

In 2021 we began focusing on another important audience-broadening adventure: Engaging adults with hunting. Chapters drive this initiative, alongside partnerships with state game and fish agencies, for adult learn-hunt events and mentoring.

To that end, our robust Path to the Uplands content series continues to grow, engaging and informing those looking for information and insights.

And our Women on the Wing initiative gained real momentum in 2021, with 33 events hosting over 650 participants in 15 states, so far.

We also expanded our pollinator program beyond youth, because people of all ages care deeply about butterflies and bees, and are starting to understand how that habitat, and prime pheasant nesting and brooding habitat, are one and the same.

Will you help us make more hunters to love the uplands?

ADVOCACY

Being a voice for grassland habitat, and their impact on pheasants and other upland wildlife, is critical to the habitat mission.

In early September, a dedicated group of 10 organizations including PF & QF called on Congress to create a North American Grasslands Conservation Act. Our groups elevated the peril of grasslands and sagebrush ecosystems, and are currently in negotiations with the Senate for timing and bill language. We are committed to introducing bipartisan legislation with balanced support and are taking the time to get it right.

When enacted, this legislation would function like the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) by providing grants to voluntary landowners and tribal entities that will enhance and conserve habitat.

Next to creating permanently public uplands, this may be the biggest single initiative of impact the organization ever does.

Visit ActForGrassland.org to show your support, and use #ActForGrasslands in your social media posts when you are out enjoying all our grasslands have to offer.

The PF & QF Government Affairs team has been in-person on Capitol Hill in early discussions for the next Farm Bill making sure that the interests of PF and QF members, volunteers and supporters are at the forefront of the planning process.

And the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) continues to gain momentum and now has 122 House and 28 Senate co-sponsors. This is a good sign that the legislation continues to gain momentum this Congress. If passed by the House and Senate, RAWA will dedicate $1.4 billion annually to help implement state wildlife action plans, and the associated habitat benefits will endure for pheasants and quail.

Will you help us maintain a loud voice for the uplands?

CHAPTERS

2021 saw more of a return to normalcy for the majority of Pheasants Forever chapters across this country. While the pandemic continued to impact some of our traditional events and gatherings, our volunteers have continued to “Answer the Call of the Uplands”” by converting locally raised dollars into habitat, public access and new hunters.

Two things remain constant in this changing world. Pheasants Forever volunteers are the most dedicated and giving individuals in the conservation world. And our grass-roots model, where locally generated dollars stay under local control, forever resonates in communities from coast to coast.

Chapters are seeing incredible support from our members, and are already allocating dollars to critical local, state and national initiatives. 2022 promises an impressive roster of local events that will not only support our mission but also re-engage members for the first time in a couple years.

Chapters are also re-imagining how conservation gets delivered on a local scale. From winter survival food plots to native grass seedings, prairie burns, brush and tree control, and other management activities, PF chapters continue to fund, install and assist thousands of habitat projects every year. Dollars and person-power are the fuel.

Will we see you at your next local chapter meeting? Open arms await.

CALL OF THE UPLANDS®

Thanks to the generosity of our donors and partners, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are making significant strides towards reaching its aggressive Call of the Uplands mission delivery and fundraising goals.

Since launching the campaign, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have received over 100 leadership gifts of $100,000 or more in support of habitat conservation, education & outreach, and advocacy.

Individuals, families, corporations, foundations and other partners from all 50 states and provinces across Canada recently helped the organization eclipse 75 percent of our Call of the Uplands fundraising goal.

The Call of the Uplands campaign is positioning Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever to rapidly accelerate the expansion of impactful programs. We are using the financial support of passionate people like you to:

  • Expand public access via the Build A Wildlife Area® program
  • Protect vital habitat permanently, using conservation easements
  • Enhance private lands by providing technical assistance to landowners across the country
  • Educate the next generation of hunter-conservationists
  • Advocate for a National Grasslands Conservation Act

But there is no time to rest. We have miles to go. Will you help us reach campaign goals for the uplands?

FOCUS FORWARD

Record revenue resulted in record habitat and heritage accomplishments this year.

But PF does not go it alone. It happens through chapters, volunteers, partner organizations, local and national sponsors … and individual supporters at all levels.

Our monumental Call of the Uplands® campaign has elevated the organization to a new plateau. But we are not finished yet, and we never will be.

Will you help us keep moving forward with a Giving Tuesday gift this year?

Forward. Forever.