At the 2017 National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic, the Aldo Leopold Chapter of Pheasants Forever (Iowa) and the Neosho Valley Chapter of Quail Forever (Kansas) received No Child Left Indoors®
(NCLI) national awards. The NCLI awards represent the organization’s highest honors for chapters involved in engaging the next generation of hunters and conservationists.
The NCLI national awards annually recognize one Pheasants Forever chapter and one Quail Forever chapter for their youth program efforts. Additionally, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever bestow NCLI national awards to outstanding volunteers and one key partner who have helped provide outdoor opportunities for youth throughout the nation.
“One of our most rewarding jobs is to recognize the volunteers who do so much for our organization,” said Cheryl Riley, vice president of education & outreach for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “We have so many unsung heroes. I am in awe of the people and chapters who give of their time and talents to make sure that young people have positive experiences in the outdoors. They are passing on a heritage that is priceless.”
Pheasants Forever NCLI Chapter of the Year: Aldo Leopold PF Chapter
Based in Burlington, Iowa, the Aldo Leopold Chapter of Pheasants Forever
strives to engage its communities throughout the year to provide educational outdoor activities for area youth. Representing one of the fastest growing local conservation committees in the state of Iowa, the Aldo Leopold Chapter has established itself as a leader in youth initiatives through the following programs and initiatives:
- Annually hosts six Young Gun events to teach youth and their families the importance of firearm safety and the fun of shooting sports
- Annually sponsors one youth pollinator project in Des Moines County every year to connect students to the landscape and wildlife
Quail Forever NCLI Chapter of the Year: Neosho Valley QF Chapter
- Has successfully implemented a trap shooting team in every single high school located within Des Moines County – this success has now spread to middle schools as well as a local university.
- Created Iowa’s Hook & Hunt University – an initiative to engage youth and adults alike in long-term mentor efforts around the state
- Working with other groups to host an annual Outdoor Youth Jamboree. The premier event attracts over 1500 people and provides every youth in attendance a free Pheasants Forever membership
Based in Burlington, Kansas, the Neosho Valley Chapter of Quail Forever
embraced new outreach efforts in 2016 to become a leader among Quail Forever chapters nationwide in outdoor youth education. Established in 2012, the following youth programs and initiatives have helped the chapter gain over 40 sponsors at their annual banquet during the past fiscal year:
- Hosted a youth pollinator project with 65 fourth-graders who planted a 58-species seed mix on three acres of a USFWS reservoir
- Sponsored the annual “OK Kids” event at John Redmond Reservoir where over 15,000 triggers were pulled during the weekend
- Held their annual “Trap Day” to educate youth about predator trapping and teach them to shoot trap - each participant took home a dog-proof predator trap
- Sponsored hunter safety programs at local schools and clubs
NCLI Volunteers of the Year: Ron & Ted Gilles
- Hosted their first-ever mentor quail hunt on the property of Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Center to create a new partnership in the county
Dedicated to helping youth experience the great outdoors for more than 28 years, brothers Ron and Ted Gilles of the Illinois River Valley Chapter of Pheasants Forever have earned the distinction of being named the organization’s NCLI Volunteers of the Year. The Gilles’ passion, commitment, and desire to leave the land in a better place for future generations is demonstrated by the following achievements:
NCLI Partner of the Year: Sunsect (Steve Shafer, CEO)
- Hosted habitat projects, shooting sports, dog training and mentor hunts on their own farm in the past year
- Despite budget constraints, seven local schools participated in field trips to their farm in 2016 where they learned about fish biology, CRP plantings and soil erosion.
- Maintained four different habitat areas for annual youth hunts, which average over 150 kids per weekend. Throughout their 28 years of hosting these events, the brothers have provided more than 4,000 kids an opportunity to experience hunting and conservation
- Hosted habitat tours for individuals to learn more about CRP, food plots, pollinators and additionally exciting land improvements
- Have inspired many neighboring landowners to adopt management practices and CRP programs that the pair have promoted for many years
Serving as a committee member for the Red Hills Chapter of Quail Forever in Tallahassee, Florida, Patron Member Steve Shafer has demonstrated his enthusiasm for conservation and shooting sports as a staunch supporter of the NCLI program. As the CEO of Sunsect
– a patented insect repellent + sunscreen combination product which provides lasting protection against biting insects and damaging sunrays – Shafer has uniquely positioned Sunsect to support “The Habitat Organization” through the following means:
About Pheasants Forever
- Sponsored a reception at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic to support youth initiatives in 2015, 2016, and 2017 – fundraising more than $125,000 for the organization
- Provided Sunsect products at numerous youth events throughout the nation
- Continuously supported our youth shooting sports efforts at the local level with chapter
- Has had a special interest in the PF/QF National Youth Leadership Council because his son Nate served as a Florida representative on the Council.
, 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 720 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.