Record-Breaking Year for PF Youth Events
The past year was a record-breaking one for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever youth events.
In recent years, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever chapters had averaged a combined 500 youth-conservation education events annually, which is a significant mark by any measure. However in 2012, PF & QF chapters reported 937 youth events – from youth mentored pheasant and quail hunts, to clay shooting events to conservation field days. A very admirable 15,000 youngsters per year had been event participants, but in 2012 that number jumped to 44,614. That’s a participation increase of nearly 200 percent!
Much of this jump can be attributed to the success of Pheasants Forever’s newly-developed “FOREVER Shooting Sports Program,” a comprehensive effort that was launched with help from Larry and Brenda Potterfield, founders of MidwayUSA. Many chapters have utilized the program to strengthen their own chapter events, while a significant number of chapters have “adopted” a local scholastic shooting team, looking to draw a more direct line between shooting sports and the world of upland habitat conservation.
While the shooting sports program has taken off, Pheasants Forever’s next youth initiative is to create a new wildlife habitat education program. Drew Larsen, formerly Pheasants Forever’s Regional Wildlife Biologist in Nebraska, has been named the organization’s first-ever National Habitat Education Specialist. The program he develops will be designed to work with chapters across the country to involve youth in wildlife habitat projects…and ultimately create the next generation of land stewards.
To cap off this milestone year, one Pheasants Forever and one Quail Forever chapter will receive the “No Child Left Indoors® National Award” at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 16th. The distinction is presented to the chapters for their efforts in introducing youth to the outdoors and bringing along the next generation of hunters and conservationists.
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