posted on August 10, 2005 00:00
Pheasants Forever Forms New Quail Habitat Organization
Quail Forever to apply proven model to the quail range for benefit of habitat and hunters
St. Paul, Minn. – August 10, 2005 – Pheasants Forever (PF) announced today that it intends to extend its successful organizational model for habitat development by forming a new organization, Quail Forever, dedicated to quail conservation and education. Quail Forever will build on PF’s track record of successful local chapter development, localized habitat initiatives, and national public policy leadership and advocacy. Plans for the new organization include recruitment of additional wildlife biologists and a phased chapter development plan.
PF was founded in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1982 and has grown to more than 110,000 members and 600 chapters nationwide. PF is unique among conservation organizations in that its local chapters maintain control of 100% of locally raised funds, and make all decisions on how to spend those conservation and education dollars. The organization has a steady track record of success, including the completion of more than 300,000 habitat projects benefiting 3.4 million acres for wildlife since inception. PF has also participated in over 800 land acquisitions totaling more than 100,000 acres now open to public hunting. All told, PF has spent more than $170 million nationwide on wildlife habitat projects and conservation education during its 23-year history.
Leveraging a Successful Model
In forming Quail Forever, PF plans to deploy the same organizational model – localized decision-making with lean, low-overhead central administration. Pheasants Forever already has a strong presence in states where quail and pheasants share habitat – Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. In fact, Pheasants Forever members have been responsible for delivering more than 2 million acres of wildlife habitat in those shared habitat ranges. Those same states have also been some of the country’s most successful at enrolling acres in the bobwhite buffers (CP-33) component of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
“Quail – like pheasants – don’t migrate, so we believe locally raised funds shouldn’t migrate either,” said Howard Vincent, PF president and CEO. “Without a doubt, there is still plenty of pheasant habitat work to do. At the same time, we have an opportunity to share the successful Pheasants Forever model with quail and quail hunters.”
Public Policy Leadership
PF is a respected voice in state and national government, helping promote the 39.2 million-acre CRP program, the 2.2 million-acre Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), and a variety of state-specific wildlife conservation initiatives. PF was also involved with the creation of the CRP practice (CP-33) – known as the bobwhite buffers initiative – which has led to 250,000 acres targeted at quail conservation.
The Southeast Quail Study Group (SEQSG), a technical arm of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, is a working group composed of many of the country’s foremost bobwhite quail biologists. The SEQSG developed the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI), the first-ever national quail recovery plan. The NBCI provides a landscape-scale road map to restore quail populations to their 1980 levels through habitat conservation.
“With our experience in enrolling bobwhite buffer acres and the recent completion of the Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative plan, the time was right for us to lend our habitat conservation expertise to help implement the NBCI,” Vincent said. “We want to do what we can to make a difference for quail and quail hunters before it becomes too late.”
Phased, Member-Centric Approach
PF outlined a phased approach to establishing the Quail Forever organization. Initial focus will be on states with both pheasant and quail hunters and habitat. Quail Forever’s expansion south and west will be based on chapter interest and available resources. In the organization’s first year, Quail Forever has set a goal of forming 50 chapters and recruiting 12,000 members to work on quail habitat projects.
PF currently employs 22 wildlife biologists covering 28 states and Canada. There are plans to add quail specialists in states where chapter need and state agency grants allow. The organization has promoted Jim Wooley of Iowa, PF’s senior wildlife biologist, to oversee all Quail Forever biologists. Wooley has been with the organization for 20 years and was PF’s first biologist. Current PF biologists along the shared pheasant and quail range will work with both PF and Quail Forever chapters in the interim as well.
Established Professional Management Structure
Quail Forever will be managed by the existing PF national staff, with oversight by the PF Board of Directors. The PF national office currently receives a nominal $30 membership fee from each member to cover administration, magazine publication, and chapter services costs, and raises additional funds through corporate sponsorships and merchandise sales. All locally raised event funds remain local for use by chapters in habitat development projects. “We have an opportunity to service two organizations while keeping administrative overhead low and leaving more dollars available for habitat projects to benefit quail and pheasants,” added Vincent.
“The Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative points the way to restoring huntable quail populations across their range,” said Don McKenzie, coordinator of the NBCI. “Now we need strong arms and legs to deliver that plan down to the grassroots level across two dozen states. Pheasants Forever has proven successful at delivering effective conservation programs to the ground across the pheasant range. If they can catalyze a similar movement of quail enthusiasts to implement the NBCI, they will help make a real difference to brighten the future of the South’s game bird king.”
To learn more about starting a Quail Forever chapter in your area, please contact the Quail Forever national office toll free at (866)45-QUAIL or contact Jim Wooley at (641)774-2238 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.