Pheasants Forever is thrilled to announce Cayla Bendel as the organization’s new Women in Conservation Coordinator for the state of North Dakota. The position will focus exclusively on outreach, education and technical assistance to agricultural producers, landowners and volunteers with an emphasis on accelerating conservation engagement amongst women.
Working collaboratively with state and federal agencies, local partners and other nonprofits, Bendel will take a leadership role in establishing a network of connected and empowered women landowners and operators through workshops, field tours, and one-on-one assistance. Increasing the awareness and adoption of conservation principles and practices for the female demographic is a primary objective, while delivering the organization’s goals for education and outreach to successfully foster new women conservationists in North Dakota.
“By offering educational outreach opportunities that are tailored toward women, we hope to connect and empower female landowners to make informed decisions and actions on their land that align with their stewardship goals.” stated Rachel Bush, North Dakota state coordinator for Pheasants Forever. “We’re elated to add Cayla to our ranks and I believe that her skills, background and passion will help create a new community of women interested in agriculture, conservation and the outdoor lifestyle.”
Statistics show that more than 70 percent of the nation’s private farm and ranch land will change hands in the next 20 years (Parsons et al. 2010), with women and non-farming landlords increasing in numbers. Of additional importance are the number of women hunters in the United States which continues to climb at an impressive rate, but is still a small proportion of overall hunters in the country at a mere 19 percent of the nationwide hunting population of 16 million (National Shooting Sports Foundation, 2013). Bendel recognizes these important trends and hopes to positively influence the impact of women in agriculture and conservation.
“I want to build on the foundations established by women in North Dakota and help better define this innovative position so it can be adopted across our footprint, receive broader support, and gain more momentum,” Bendel explained. Through her education and activities she has met many powerful and inspirational women – and she hopes to continue inspiring sportswomen throughout the state in her new position.
Growing up with two older brothers and a passion for the outdoors, Bendel was immersed in the outdoor life at an early age. She attended college at the University of Minnesota – Crookston where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources & Wildlife Management before continuing her higher education at North Dakota State University, recently graduating with a Master’s in Range Science. Bendel worked as a Graduate Research Assistant focusing on the influence of grasslands management practices on native butterfly and bee populations. Her extensive background in wildlife management will aid her ability to assist landowners and other sportswomen in conservation.
Bendel officially started as the Women in Conservation Coordinator for North Dakota on July 3rd
. To learn more about conservation programs and outdoor initiatives available to women in the state, contact Cayla Bendel at (952) 465-8228 or CBendel@PheasantsForever.org
About 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 149,000 members and over 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 $708 million on 517,000 habitat projects benefiting 15.8 million acres nationwide.