Decatur, Ill. – February 8, 2008 – Local conservation leaders from Macon County in Illinois have formed the Lincolnland Chapter of Quail Forever (QF). The chapter will work to improve the quality of both quail and pheasant habitat in and around Macon County.
Leading the chapter as its first president is Jim Cleveland of Decatur. Cleveland decided it was finally time to make a difference in his own backyard. He travels to South Dakota every fall and has observed the number of pheasants that benefit from habitat improvement there. “To revive quail and pheasant populations, it’s all about creating habitat for both birds here in central Illinois,” Cleveland said, “Quail Forever gives us the opportunity to do just that at local levels. The money we raise locally is all going straight back into the ground as wildlife habitat.”
Pheasants Forever (PF) launched Quail Forever in August of 2005 to address the continuing loss of habitat suitable for quail and the subsequent quail population decline. QF chapters promote local, state, and federal conservation programs that help landowners protect environmentally sensitive acres for quail, pheasants, and other wildlife. They also employ the organization’s unique model of empowering local chapters with 100 percent control of the chapters’ locally-raised funds to complete habitat and youth education projects in the chapters’ own communities.
The chapter plans to educate and encourage area landowners about the opportunities and equipment that are available to them to improve habitat for upland birds. “One of the biggest limiting factors for getting habitat on the ground these days is educating landowners about what is available to them to make it happen,” continued Cleveland. “We hope to get landowners involved with programs such as Conservation Practice 33 (Bobwhite Buffers) and Conservation Practice 38.” The goal of Conservation Practice 38, also called the State Acres For wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) program, in Illinois is to restore grassland and wetland habitats in upland landscapes.
The Lincolnland chapter also plans to make youth a focus. “My other great passion is introducing kids to the outdoors. They are the future of our hunting heritage,” said Cleveland, “We plan on using money raised to educate and provide hunting experiences for the young members of our community because they are the future of conservation.”
The chapter will hold its first annual fundraising banquet on February 23rd, 2008, at the Mt. Zion Civic Center. The chapter will offer both Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever memberships at the banquet to attendees. For tickets and more information contact Jim Cleveland at 217-433-1144 or via email at JimCleveland897@yahoo.com.
“Illinois upland bird hunters and conservationists continue to show a strong commitment to conservation and improving quail and pheasant habitat,” said Tim Caughran, QF Regional Wildlife Biologist, “This chapter cares about maintaining and bettering this resource and keeping the great tradition of bird hunting alive. I strongly encourage other members of this community to step up to the plate the way these folks have and come out to their banquet to help raise money for habitat and youth education in Macon county.”
The chapter has also elected Brad Kershner of Decatur as vice president, Brad Centola of Harristown as youth coordinator, Jim Ash of Decatur as habitat chair, and Kirk Myers of Decatur as treasurer/secretary.
For more information on QF or PF in Illinois, to start a chapter or join an existing chapter, contact Tim Caughran at (618)467-2586 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.