Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever recently presented five wildlife professionals with Conservation Service Awards during the 84th North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference in Denver, Colo. The award winners were selected for their distinguishing contributions to wildlife habitat conservation efforts nationwide, including landscape-level habitat improvements through cooperative partnerships and direct mission delivery of PF/QF programs focused on upland birds and other wildlife.
“Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s Conservation Service Awards recognize individuals who have helped impact the mission of our organization through habitat improvements, public access, policy, and R3 initiatives in the United States,” stated Howard Vincent, president and CEO of Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever. “These folks represent the real foundation of our organization, footings based on input from dedicated and proven wildlife natural resource professionals. We are grateful for their guidance and input.”
Tim McCoy – Deputy Director, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Working alongside Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever to deliver conservation programs for upland birds in Nebraska, Tim McCoy has led a very successful career in various positions with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. As a respected member of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, McCoy has also provided valuable input over the years to improve wildlife programs within the federal Farm Bill that are delivered on the landscape to expand habitat, soil health, and water quality measures.
A native of southwest Nebraska, McCoy grew up chasing pheasants with his father and older brother before he was old enough to carry a firearm. After high school, he went on to earn a B.S. in Agriculture from the University of Nebraska and completed both his M.S. and PhD in Fisheries and Wildlife Science from the University of Missouri-Columbia. His work experience includes habitat management, CRP wildlife research, Ag landscape conservation programs, private landowner partnerships, wildlife and conservation policy, and administration within the hierarchy of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
Larry Kruckenberg – Executive Secretary, Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever consider Larry Kruckenberg a lifelong friend and true proponent of western conservation partnerships including the Sage Grouse Initiative, Lesser Prairie Chicken Range-wide Plan, and complex agreements to restore private/public desert quail habitat of the Southwest. With a long history of state government, corporate and private business experience, Kruckenberg has been instrumental in spearheading growth of the organization to help restore populations of iconic western species.
Kruckenberg spent more than 38 years of his professional career with two state wildlife agencies - 32 years in director/policy level positions and six years in public affairs work. Having extensive knowledge and considerable working experience in fish, wildlife and other natural resource management, Kruckenberg has been acknowledged by his peers for outstanding contributions to agency operations and the wildlife management profession. Additionally, he has served as WAFWA's Executive Secretary for the past 22 years, serves on its Executive Committee and is a long-standing member of AFWA's Legislative and Federal Budget Committee.
Kelly Hepler – Secretary, South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks
A native South Dakotan who relishes time afield in pursuit of South Dakota’s legendary ring-necked pheasant, it’s no wonder that Kelly Hepler and the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks is a habitat conservation partner of Pheasants Forever. Working tirelessly to promote and enhance the state’s habitat nexus that fuels upland game bird production, Hepler has been a great supporter of Pheasants Forever’s work throughout the state on both public and private lands, ensuring the state’s cherished upland traditions are alive and well for the next generation.
Born in Deadwood, South Dakota and graduated from Spearfish High School before receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Fish and Wildlife Management from Montana State University in 1978, Hepler has been a fixture of the outdoor community in “The Pheasant Capital.” Whether its upland hunting, big game pursuits, fishing, camping or other recreational pursuits, Hepler’s level of engagement and dedication to South Dakota’s sportsmen and women is unmatched.
Terry Steinwand – Executive Director, North Dakota Game and Fish Department
A steadfast representative of North Dakota’s outdoor heritage since 1976, Terry Steinwand’s tenure with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has always been focused on providing wildlife resources in a state renowned for its upland, waterfowl, and big game opportunities. Appointed to the North American Wetlands Conservation Council in 2006 and now serving as chairman, Steinwand has worked jointly with Pheasants Forever to deliver important wetland conservation projects throughout North America and in his home state.
Steinwand was raised on a small farm east of Garrison, North Dakota where diverse agriculture was practiced, ranging from small grains to livestock. He started with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department as a seasonal aide for the Fisheries Division in 1976. Upon full time employment in 1982, Steinwand served as the Garrison Diversion Unit Biologist until the time he was appointed as Chief of the Fisheries Division in 1990 and ultimately as Director in January of 2006.
Steve Williams – President, Wildlife Management Institute
A passionate wing-shooter, Steve Williams has worked with Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever throughout the years to provide valuable guidance in the arena of wildlife conservation policy at state and federal levels. In addition to his wildlife expertise, Williams serves on numerous national councils to promote shooting sports and future generations of conservationists within the United States, directly impacting Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s mission to recruit, retain, and reactivate the next generation of hunters and conservationists.
Williams received his B.S. and PhD degrees from Pennsylvania State University and a M.S. degree from the University of North Dakota. Prior to joining the Wildlife Management Institute, he served as Director of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife, the Kansas Governor's Cabinet Secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Parks, Deputy Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and Assistant Director for Wildlife and Deer Project Leader for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.
About the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference
Presented by the Wildlife Management Institute, The North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference is an annual gathering of industry leaders dedicated to the conservation, enhancement and management of North America’s wildlife and other natural resources.
About Pheasants Forever
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 140,000 members and 740 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent $867 million on 540,000 habitat projects benefiting 18 million acres nationwide.
Photo: Participants of the 84th North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference gather for a picture after receiving Conservation Service Awards from Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever. Pictured from left to right are Howard Vincent, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever; Kelly Hepler, South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks; Larry Kruckenberg, Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies; Tim McCoy, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission; Terry Steinwand, North Dakota Game and Fish Department; Steve Williams, Wildlife Management Institute; Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever.