Pheasants Forever’s largest event, National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic
, recently concluded in Sioux Falls as thousands of upland supporters flocked to the Sioux Falls Convention Center. During the event, three local chapters from throughout the nation were praised with top honors for their volunteer efforts over the past year in the categories of habitat projects, membership, and conservation advocacy.
“The lifeblood of Pheasants Forever are the engaged chapter volunteers who work tirelessly throughout the year to impact conservation efforts in their local communities,” stated Howard Vincent, Pheasants Forever’s president and CEO. “Our national awards for habitat impacts, membership, and conservation advocacy represent the highest accolades for volunteer committees throughout the United States; presenting these awards on our biggest stage at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic is the highlight of my year. Congratulations to our national awards winners who are all very deserving of the honors.”
Pheasants Forever Habitat Chapter of the Year Award
Labeled as the most prestigious award amongst chapter volunteers and their peers, the Habitat Chapter of the Year Award is selected by Pheasants Forever staff and recognizes a leading chapter in the nation for habitat conservation projects and direct mission delivery over the course of one year. Based in Oskaloosa, Iowa, the Mahaska County Chapter of Pheasants Forever
has earned the 2017 Habitat Chapter of the Year Award by implementing innovative projects and partnerships which are helping to restore pheasant populations and public access in central Iowa.
The Mahaska County Chapter of Pheasants Forever formed in 1988 with an overarching goal to help maintain upland habitat and hunting traditions in one of the most picturesque regions of the Hawkeye State. As one of the most active committees in the Midwest for Pheasants Forever, local volunteers have dedicated their time and energy to habitat improvements (food plots, wetland restorations, winter cover plantings, nesting cover restorations, land acquisitions, and a local prescribed burn crew), advocacy support of the Conservation Reserve Program, and helping implement Iowa conservation initiatives (Farm Bill Biologist Partnership, Iowa Habitat & Access Program) on public and private lands.
Thanks to their fundraising and habitat management efforts, the Mahaska County Chapter of Pheasants Forever has spent $1,062,308 since their inception to complete 1,766 habitat projects benefitting wildlife on 17,510 acres, including 12 land acquisitions providing public access to 1,524 acres throughout the region.
Most recently, the local committee hosted the 2017 Iowa Governor’s Pheasant Hunt and used the occasion as a platform to encourage dedicated funding for natural resources – Iowa’s Water & Land Legacy – throughout the state.
Pheasants Forever Legislative Action Fund Award
The ability of Pheasants Forever to create habitat often begins in Washington D.C. as federal and state conservation programs become approved by Congress for delivery on the landscape. To that end, local chapters are asked to support Pheasants Forever’s advocacy efforts through the Legislative Action Fund to assure the voice of conservation is being presented to political platforms.
The Ingham County Chapter of Pheasants Forever
based in Michigan contributed $35,000 to the organization’s advocacy efforts in the past year, and a total of $133,500 since the program’s inception, to be named Pheasants Forever’s Legislative Action Fund Award winner for 2017. Additionally, the Ingham County Chapter of Pheasants Forever has spent more than $733,000 to complete 3,480 habitat projects benefitting wildlife on 22,874 acres since 1993. These accomplishments will be celebrated on March 9th during the chapter’s 25th
Anniversary Banquet in Bath Township, Michigan.
Pheasants Forever Chapter Membership Award
As the lifeblood of the organization, more Pheasants Forever members equal more acres of habitat, more birds, and more public lands to hunt. Based in Mitchell, South Dakota, the Pheasant Country Chapter of Pheasants Forever
understands this important connection and has earned the Chapter Membership Award for the fifth consecutive year. Their 2017 fundraiser resulted in 686 members during the group’s 32nd
annual fundraising banquet. Thanks to these membership and fundraising efforts, the Pheasant Country Chapter of Pheasants Forever spent more than $48,000 to complete 186 habitat projects benefitting wildlife on 2,750 acres in 2017.
About Pheasants Forever
Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 140,000 members and 700 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent; the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent $784 million on 530,000 habitat projects benefiting 17 million acres nationwide.
Photo Credit: Logan Hinners, Pheasants Forever