Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever recently presented five wildlife professionals with Conservation Service Awards during the 85th North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference
in Omaha, Nebraska. 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, pollinators and other wildlife.
“Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s Conservation Service Awards recognize the outstanding natural resource professionals in this country who work tirelessly to provide Americans access to open spaces, clean water and world-class wildlife encounters,” stated Howard Vincent, president and CEO of Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever. “Celebrating these achievements could not come at a better time for our nation because as we all know, wildlife and the places they inhabit are needed by Americans now more than ever. Thank you to all of our award winners for their personal sacrifices on behalf of public and private lands.”
Conservation Service Award Recipients
Kurt Forman – SD Partners for Fish and Wildlife Coordinator, USFWS
A key partner of Pheasants Forever in South Dakota, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and its “Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program” has worked alongside the organization as a delivery mechanism for private lands conservation thanks to the efforts of Kurt Forman. In his 27 years of working for the USFWS, Forman and his staff have worked with more than 6,500 landowners in South Dakota – The Pheasant Capital – to restore or enhance 975,000 acres of grassland/wetland complexes.
A Windom, Minnesota native, Forman developed his love of prairies and wetlands while hunting across the vast landscapes of the Prairie Pothole Region. A graduate of South Dakota State University as well as the University of Montana, Forman has made a career for himself as a staff member of the USFWS since the early 1990’s. Forman was privileged to have been hired (and trained) by the "Father" of the USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Carl Madsen. Pheasants Forever is proud to call Kurt Forman a trusted friend and partner in conservation.
Sara Parker Pauley –Director, Missouri Department of Conservation
Private lands conservation is pivotal for maintaining and expanding world-class wildlife populations in North America, and no one is more supportive of this concept than Sara Parker Pauley, the current Director for the Missouri Department of Conservation. In addition to her vocal support of Quail Forever’s private lands conservation partnership in the Show Me State, Pauley also has the privilege of overseeing the nation’s longest running and largest private lands conservation program – a model that produces consistent results for landowners and wildlife.
A native of Columbia, Pauley received both her law degree and bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri – Columbia and did post-graduate studies in Australia as a Rotary Fellow. She previously served as Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources since 2010. She has worked as project manager for D.J. Case & Associates, a natural resources communications firm, and as a deputy director for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. She has been an instructor at the University of Missouri’s School of Natural Resources, teaching a course in natural resource policy and administration. Quail Forever acknowledges her leadership in natural resources and looks forward to future collaboration for wildlife successes on private lands in Missouri.
Keith Trego – Executive Director, North Dakota Natural Resources Trust
A dedicated Life Member of Pheasants Forever, avid bird hunter and natural resources professional in North Dakota and elsewhere for more than 45 years, Keith Trego embodies the spirit of the PF/QF Conservation Service Award. Working with Pheasants Forever since the organization’s inception, Trego has been vital for building new funding mechanisms for conservation delivery in North Dakota on public and private lands.
Trego grew up on a diversified grain and livestock farm in northwest Cass County, North Dakota. He received an undergraduate teaching degree in science and math from Mayville State University, took graduate courses at the University of Minnesota’s Itasca biological field station, and completed his master’s degree in fish and wildlife management at North Dakota State University in 1973. He served in several capacities with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, acting as the agencies’ deputy director from 1989 until 1998 when he accepted his current position as executive director of the North Dakota Natural Resources Trust. Next to spending time with his family, trego counts wandering North Dakota’s great outdoors with his three Brittany bird dogs and working to preserve our natural resources and outdoor heritage for future generations as his greatest passions.
Matthew Warriner – Wildlife Management Assistant Chief, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Whether it’s working to establish new public lands or adding capacity for private lands technical assistance, the efforts of Matthew Warriner of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission have been praised nationally by his peers in the conservation field. The latest example includes Warriner working jointly with Quail Forever to help establish 16 new biologist positions throughout the state of Arkansas, including a five-person prescribed burn team to manage for wildlife (quail specifically) with quality habitat in mind.
Warriner has served as an assistant chief with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Wildlife Management Division since June 2014. In this role, he oversees the activities of the division’s Wildlife Diversity, Bird Conservation, Nongame Mammal and Captive Wildlife Programs, as well as coordination of the division’s budget. Prior to serving as assistant chief, Warriner was the division’s federal aid coordinator. In this capacity, he administered grant funds provided through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act, Endangered Species Act and other federal programs. Warriner is a trusted partner and key advisor to Quail Forever in Arkansas’ effort to restore the whistle of bobwhite quail.
Tony Wasley – Director, Nevada Department of Wildlife
Pheasants Forever’s unique work in sagebrush conservation efforts of the West can be attributed to strong partnership ties. In the state of Nevada specifically, Tony Wasley has supported Pheasants Forever as the implementation arm of the Sage Grouse Initiative since its humble beginnings in 2010. Since that time, Wasley’s leadership of the wildlife community has led to the establishment of a MOU, bringing together 10 conservation agencies in Nevada to establish the foundation for a landscape-scale habitat restoration initiative to remove invasive juniper and other woody species negatively impacting the native range of sage grouse.
Wasley earned undergraduate degrees in Biological Sciences and Wildlife Management from CSU-Chico and a master’s degree in Biology from Idaho State University. He started working for the Nevada Department of Wildlife 23 years ago as a habitat staff specialist. His other career accolades include time spent as a habitat biologist, game manager and state deer coordinator. He serves on numerous regional and national committees including the Executive Committee for WAFWA and as Chair of the Executive Committee for AFWA.
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 & Quail 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 138,000 members and 760 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent over $900 million on 550,000 habitat projects benefiting 19 million acres nationwide.
Photo (From left to right):
Howard Vincent of Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever joins Keith Trego, executive director for the North Dakota Natural Resources Trust; Bill White, Missouri Department of Conservation standing in for Sara Parker Pauley; and Kurt Forman, SD Partners for Fish and Wildlife Coordinator-USFWS, as they accept Conservation Service Awards. Not pictured are award winners Matthew Warriner and Tony Wasley.