20080909_pfsquarelogo

Valley City, ND – September 11, 2008 – Residents of North Dakota’s Barnes County have established the 26th Pheasants Forever’s (PF) chapter in the state, the Sheyenne Valley Chapter of PF. The Valley City-based group will work to enhance and protect wildlife habitat in their area while also introducing youth to the outdoors.

“There is a very healthy pheasant population in this region and we want to sustain these numbers,” explained Jesse Beckers, PF Regional Representative for the state. The strong numbers can largely be attributed to the nearly 3 million North Dakota acres currently enrolled in the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). However, over 1.8 million of these acres are set to expire in the next five years. “The potential effects of this will be devastating on pheasants and other wildlife if groups such as the Sheyenne Valley chapter don’t continue to combat the disappearance of habitat through projects and advocacy,” Beckers added.

To do this, the Sheyenne Valley chapter will be working closely with the state’s first Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Biologist, Steve Stensgard, who is based out of the nearby Jamestown Natural Resources Conservation Service office (NRCS). The Farm Bill Biologist program is designed to educate farmers and landowners about the benefits of conservation programs, as well as assist those farmers and landowners after programs have been implemented. “We will be working closely with Stensgard and the NRCS to identify where the most improvement can be had by planting food plots and seasonal grasses for nesting and brooding,” said Gus Skramstad, newly-elected president of the chapter and a Valley City resident.

“We also realize that in order to make a lasting effort we have to educate the public – especially the youth – about what’s going on,” Skramstad added, “You don’t see many kids walking the fields during the fall like you used to, and this needs to change. Kids need to learn about the importance of holding on to our outdoor heritage.”

The Sheyenne Valley chapter has also elected Tyler Van Bruggen of Valley City as treasurer and Jeremy Gizinski of Valley City as habitat chair. For more information about the chapter, please contact Skramstad at (701)845-9975 or by email at gusskramstad@yahoo.com.

The first North Dakota PF chapter formed in 1986. Since then, the state’s 26 chapters and over 2,000 members have spent over $1.37 million to complete 3,721 habitat projects benefiting over 40,000 North Dakota acres for pheasants and other wildlife. If you are interested in starting a PF chapter or joining one of the 26 existing chapters in North Dakota, contact Jesse Beckers at (701)202-8120 or via email at jbeckers@pheasantsforever.org.

PF empowers county chapters with the responsibility to determine how 100% of their locally raised conservation funds will be spent – the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure. As a result, chapter volunteers are able to see the fruits of their efforts locally, while belonging to a larger national organization with a voice on federal and state conservation policy.

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are non-profit conservation organizations dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant, quail, and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. PF/QF has more than 129,000 members in 700 local chapters across the continent.

For additional information about Pheasants Forever, please visit www.PheasantsForever.org