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Midlands chapter leaders seek youth involvement in habitat restoration

Lexington, SC – June 9, 2008 – Wildlife advocates, habitat conservationists and quail hunters united to create the Midlands Chapter of Quail Forever (QF). This new chapter will focus its efforts within Richland and Lexington Counties.  Landowners in Orangeburg County are also already interested in joining as well. Due to the lack of land management for area habitat, increased crop production, and suburban growth, the Midlands group of founding members decided to take action before the quail situation worsened.

“The quail populations in the area are struggling for a number of reasons,” explained Andy Edwards, Regional Wildlife Biologist for QF.  “We must combat the quail losses with not only habitat restoration and conservation, but using education as a tool as well.”

The new Midlands chapter president, Sam Gunter, has also noticed the downward trend of local quail populations. “I grew up hunting quail but now the wild birds just don’t seem to be here anymore,” explained Gunter, “A group of us realized that we have to do something for our local quail, and soon. That’s why we decided to form the Quail Forever chapter to put some habitat back in the ground here locally.”

In order to successfully contribute to local quail habitat and populations, the Midlands chapter is planning on executing a two-fold plan. This conservation blueprint encompasses both the renewal of habitat and the implementation of youth conservation education. “We’re going to be focusing on habitat restoration, and engaging our local youth in the efforts,” added Gunter.

Edwards agreed, “There is going to be a lot of activity focused on getting younger generations involved in the outdoors, conservation and creating a renewed local passion for quail. We want our youth to become future stewards of the land so there will always be quality habitat in South Carolina.”

For more information on Quail Forever in South Carolina, to start a chapter or join one of the state’s existing chapters, contact Andy Edwards at (931) 424-3211 or via e-mail at aedwards@quailforever.org

Pheasants Forever formed 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.

Since the organization’s inception, 106 QF chapters have formed in 25 different states. The QF mission is accomplished through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, education, and conservation advocacy.