Collaborations for Conservation: Missouri’s Habitat Specialist Crew

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Photo by Dylan Jacobs // Habitat Specialist Crew working their first collaborative prescribed fire with partner staff at Shaw Nature Reserve.

The subject of prescribed fire is a hot topic and there are some exciting collaborations happening

By Kim Cole, Missouri Outreach Coordinator

In Missouri, the subject of prescribed fire is a hot topic and there are some exciting collaborations happening to get more fire on the ground, reverse habitat degradation, and provide high-quality habitat for pheasants, quail and other wildlife.

One of those collaborations is a brand-new Habitat Specialist Crew — a first for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever in Missouri — that focuses on using prescribed fire to enhance native habitat in east-central Missouri. Made possible through a unique partnership between the Missouri Department of Conservation, Shaw Nature Reserve and PF & QF, and supported by generous donations from Nestlé Purina, Steve and Jeanne Maritz, and Roeslein Alternative Energy, the Habitat Specialist Crew that formed in winter 2021-2022 wasted no time working with partners and getting prescribed fire on the landscape to help manage valuable native habitat in Missouri.

The Missouri crew has been working with key partners to coordinate and conduct wildlife habitat management practices on cooperating lands, with an emphasis on the application of prescribed fire. Stationed at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, Dylan Jacobs serves as Crew Leader, and Abbey Ward and Benjamin Clevenger are habitat specialists that round out the crew. Eager to collaborate with partner staff and get right to work, the crew has already joined up with staff at Shaw Nature Reserve and the Missouri Department of Conservation to conduct several prescribed burns and implement other habitat management practices that have had a positive impact on many acres of wildlife habitat in east-central Missouri.

“Dylan, Abbey and Benjamin bring a wealth of knowledge and extensive experience with prescribed fire to the team,” said Andrew White, Missouri State Coordinator for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “All three are valuable additions to the Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever in Missouri team and we’re excited to see the positive impact the Habitat Specialist Crew will have on the landscape. They will form a strong foundation for the newly formed habitat crew and be blazing the trail for other Missouri habitat teams in the future.”

Because of the ongoing support and involvement of many partners and donors, we now have a Habitat Specialist Crew on the ground in Missouri. As this new crew continues to manage the land and successfully improve habitat, we hope to find other opportunities to collaborate with partners and create crews in new parts of the state to have even more of an impact on the conservation of upland birds.


Kim Cole is a Pheasants Forever Outreach Coordinator in Missouri

This story originally appeared in the 2022 Summer 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 member today!