Pheasants Forever volunteer chapters throughout America are being honored this week for their mission-driven accomplishments over the past year in the categories of habitat work, membership, education and outreach, and advocacy. These attributes are what propel the organization’s conservation accomplishments from year-to-year, now accounting for more than 20 million acres since 1982.
“Pheasants Forever’s take-home message from 2020 is this: it takes more than a worldwide pandemic to distract dedicated volunteers and chapters from accomplishing the organization’s upland wildlife habitat and hunting heritage missions,” stated Howard Vincent, president and CEO of Pheasants Forever. “The lifeblood of Pheasants Forever – our engaged chapter base – never ceases to amaze me, which is why I am honored to announce our deserving national chapter award recipients of ‘The Habitat Organization.’”
National Chapter of the Year - Habitat Award
Nobles County Chapter of Pheasants Forever (Minnesota)
Established by dedicated volunteers in 1986, the Nobles County Chapter of Pheasants Forever has maintained its status as one of the top, mission-driven volunteer committees in the nation for the past 35 years. Since its inception, the chapter has contributed $13.1 million to complete 273 wildlife habitat projects, helping to improve habitat conditions for pheasants and other wildlife on 8,063 acres. Among these projects are 42 land acquisitions that have helped permanently conserve more than 3,204 acres of wildlife habitat.
In a year filled with obstacles for non-profit wildlife habitat conservation groups, Nobles County Pheasants Forever elevated its efforts by spending more than $355,000 on habitat improvements over the last fiscal year. These expenditures included funds for purchasing the Elsing acquisition, a 296-acre wildlife management area now open to public hunting south of Worthington, Minnesota. The chapter, as well as dedicated volunteers from surrounding regions, stacked up more than 1,062 volunteer hours for this specific project by removing barbed wire fencing, cutting invasive trees, restoring native prairie, and installing signs/parking locations.
National Chapter of the Year – Membership Award
Pheasant Country Chapter of Pheasants Forever (South Dakota)
Marking an incredible eighth year in a row, the Pheasant Country Chapter of Pheasants Forever based in Mitchell, South Dakota, has once again earned national recognition for hosting the nation’s largest banquet resulting in 651 adult memberships for 2020.
Now in their 35th year, this dedicated local chapter has mastered the formula (More Members = More Habitat = More Wildlife and Public Lands) for mission success. This is evidenced by some of the incredible achievements seen in the greater Mitchell region including:
National Chapter of the Year – Education & Outreach Award
Northern South Dakota Chapter of Pheasants Forever
- Completing 2,470 habitat projects improving 27,464 acres since 1986
- Expanding the Community-Based Habitat Access Program to Davison County and funding 1,983 acres of property enrolled in the state’s Walk-in Access Program for public hunting over the past three years.
- More than $82K in support of Pheasants Forever’s Legislative Action Fund since 2010, helping transform advocacy work into on-the-ground habitat (New state Habitat Stamp, Farm Bill programs, and other successes).
Creating quality outdoor experiences that fulfill an organizational pillar for education & outreach has been a top priority for the Northern South Dakota Chapter of Pheasants Forever based in Aberdeen for more than a decade. Working year-round to raise funds and deliver its mission with a special emphasis on fostering an appreciation for natural resources in youth and adults alike, it is no surprise this special group of volunteers is receiving national accolades for their efforts.
National Chapter of the Year – Advocacy Award
Northern Colorado Chapter of Pheasants Forever
- Learn-to-Hunt Events: The Northern South Dakota Chapter hosts four hunting experiences each year for area youth, impacting more than 400 individuals since 2010. Recently, a female-only event has been added to the annual roster in addition to an apprentice hunt, focusing on opportunities for adult-onset hunters and college students.
- Shooting Team Support: Seven shooting teams across three counties receive support from the local chapter in their crusade to help connect more youth to wingshooting opportunities in the region.
- Youth Pollinator Projects: Two newly established pollinator projects were created in 2020 with support from the local chapter.
- Aberdeen Pheasant Coalition: The second phase of the Aberdeen Pheasant Coalition – a chapter-led initiative in the region that works with local businesses and organizations to impact landowners/hunters through habitat and access – was launched.
The ability of Pheasants Forever to create habitat often begins in Washington, D.C. and state legislatures as federal and stateside conservation programs become approved for delivery on the landscape. To that end, local chapters are asked to support Pheasants Forever’s advocacy efforts through the Legislative Action Fund, assuring that the voice of conservation is being presented to political platforms on behalf of the organization’s 130,000 members.
As staunch supporters of our advocacy work, the Northern Colorado Chapter of Pheasants Forever has contributed $30K to the Legislative Action Fund and the No Child Left Indoors initiative for the past three years, including $151,200 in contributions since the chapter’s inception. These contributions have helped support two staffers in the halls of Congress, passage of the Great American Outdoors Act in 2020, and constant influence on the nation’s Farm Bill and associated conservation programs. Additionally, the Northern Colorado Chapter of Pheasants Forever supports a wide variety of beneficial upland habitat programs, biologist staff, and a new state coordinator position for implementing mission throughout the state.
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 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 20 million acres nationwide. In fact, more than 210,000 of those acres are now permanently protected as public lands.
Pat Howe, Headwaters Pheasants Forever Chapter (MT)