Springfield, Ill. – April 17, 2008 – Hunters, trapshooters, and conservationists in southern Illinois have formed the state’s newest Quail Forever (QF) chapter. The Southern Illinois Clay Bird Chapter of QF, as the group will be known, is focused on promoting shooting sports to Illinois youth.
Leading the chapter is Donnellson resident Rhonda Laurent, an avid trap shooter and quail hunter who also holds a position on the Illinois ladies trapshooting team. The Lincoln, Illinois, native, who is the chapter’s treasurer and secretary, became interested in shooting sports within the past seven years and placed second overall in the state in lady’s handicap last year. Laurent says the chapter plans to direct its focus on increasing youth interest in shooting sports. “If our hunting and shooting heritage is going to continue, then we need to get the next generation involved” she said, “The time to get them started is now.”
Laurent said the chapter was drawn to QF’s local model. Pheasants Forever 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 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 folks that started this chapter definitely have their hearts and minds in the right place,” said Tim Caughran, QF Regional Wildlife Biologist for Southern Illinois, “This chapter understands that teaching our youth about shooting, hunting, and conservation will protect their favorite pastimes for years and generations to come.”
The Southern Illinois Clay Bird Chapter of QF has also elected Larry Mohr of Bunker Hill, Denny Baker of Shipman and Ray Trimble of Donnellson to its chapter committee. The chapter will hold its first fundraising event at Brittany Shooting Park in Bunker Hill on Saturday, July 12th. The event will be an open invitational trap shoot. Prizes will be given to the top 5-person youth shooting team, the top 5-person adult shooting team, and to all top individual shooters. The public and media are invited to attend. For more information about the event and the chapter, contact Rhonda Laurent at (217)825-7072 or via email at Laurent@hughes.net.
For more information on QF in Illinois, to start a chapter or join one of the state’s 15 existing chapters, contact Tim Caughran at (618)467-2586 or via email at TCaughran@quailforever.org.
Since the organization’s inception, over 95 QF chapters have formed in 26 different states. The QF mission is accomplished through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, education, and conservation advocacy.
For additional information about Quail Forever, please visit www.QuailForever.org