Boots on the Ground, Wings in the Air

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PF/QF field staff at the core of pollinator habitat efforts and successes

Stories and photos by Marissa Jensen

With a variety of unique landscapes across the country, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever biologists hold many different skills and positions, and work as specialized consultants in conservation programs and habitat planning that expands to a variety of species and interest areas, including pollinators and their habitat.

At PF & QF, we know that quality pollinator habitat equals excellent brood rearing habitat for upland gamebirds. Additionally, pheasant and quail chicks feed off soft-bodied insects (pollinators) for the first several weeks of their lives. Simply put, our beloved birds wouldn’t thrive without the help from these beneficial insects … and the pollinator habitat that nurtures them.
 
That’s why The Habitat Organization works to put boots on the ground to help implement quality upland habitat that benefits a variety of wildlife, including monarchs, bumblebees, pheasants, quail, songbirds, and a host of other upland wildlife from whitetails to cottontails. This massive effort includes adding milkweed to seed mixes to provide necessary food for monarch larvae.
 
Field biologists are PF/QF’s main delivery mechanism for putting habitat on the ground. There are 178 PF and QF field biologists employed across the country. In the past seven years alone, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever has planted over 984,000,000 milkweed seeds in an effort to provide habitat for a declining monarch population. We are passing one billion milkweed seeds in the ground this year!

The Habitat Organization also supports six unique positions that are focused specifically on pollinators, located at the national level, as well as in multiple states including Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, and Oklahoma. National staff focus on programs such as Milkweed in the Classroom, Youth Pollinator Habitat Program, Take Habitat Home and Conservation Clays, to name a few. The role of each state position varies slightly depending on their location; however, they serve as lead to their state’s coalition group, working together with partners to find solutions for pollinators. 

Field staff are responsible for meeting with more than 30,000 landowners on an annual basis, and hosting over 300 educational programs and habitat tours across the country per year. With the help of conservation-minded landowners, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever biologists impact over one million acres of habitat annually, leading to more bees and butterflies, more gamebirds, and even more public access.
 
That’s all something to get excited about!

But the mission never stops, and PF/QF continues to look toward growth, to continue to make a larger impact on the landscape and find solutions that provide more pollinator habitat in general and more milkweed in particular.

Join our efforts today, and you can help make a lasting impact for uplanders, pollinators, pheasants and quail for many generations to come.

Field Staff team are made possible thanks to partnerships with state and federal agencies. 

Marissa Jensen is Education & Outreach Program Manager for Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever.