PF on the Landscape in Pennsylvania
Story by Kurt Bond, Regional RepresentativeStaff Photos
Located in the heart of the “PA Wilds,” which is comprised of over 2 million acres of hardwood forest, Elk County, Pennsylvania, might seem like an unusual place to build a thriving Pheasants Forever chapter.
But the North Central Pennsylvania chapter of PF has done just that by embracing and delivering Pheasants Forever’s education and outreach mission. The chapter’s dedicated volunteers will tell you that it was no easy task helping a community that is surrounded by and sustained through its forests to see the relevance of an organization known for its grassland habitat efforts.
North Central Pennsylvania PF does find opportunities to create grassland and early successional habitat in the region, mostly on the reclaimed strip mines that are commonly found on their local State Gamelands. But the chapter’s bread and butter are the numerous annual outreach events held for veterans, women and youth.
For over a decade, chapter volunteers have hosted multiple Learn to Hunt events providing opportunities to 80 Pennsylvania youth hunters annually. Five years ago, the chapter decided to expand their mentored hunts and provide a learn-to-hunt event for local veterans. The initial effort quickly grew into a three-day event providing opportunities for over 300 local veterans.
With growing committee interest to do more, the chapter hosted the region’s first Women On The Wing event, a unique opportunity for women to learn about wild game cooking, wildlife habitat and shooting safety, and also engage with conservation professionals.
The busy, standout chapter volunteers of North Central Pennsylvania PF have made it their mission to promote outdoor participation and create new hunter-conservationists.
Beyond specific outreach events, it’s difficult to find open weekends on the calendar for North Central chapter volunteers. Over the course of a year, they attend nearly 20 community events totaling over 75 days of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever outreach with countless volunteer hours spent educating the public on upland wildlife habitat and recruiting new hunter-conservationists.
North Central Pennsylvania PF’s chapter volunteers have carved out an important niche in their territory and have made it their mission to promote, educate and provide opportunity to participate in the tradition and community of upland hunting. After years of success and growth, relevance is no longer an issue. In fact, this PF chapter is looked to as a true leader in the conservation arena and sets an important example for other parts of the northeastern U.S.
This story originally appeared in the 2022 Spring Issue of the
Pheasants Forever Journal. If you enjoyed it and would like to be the first to read more great upland content like this, become a Pheasants Forever member today!