Saint Paul, Minn. – February 19, 2008 – Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever (QF) have launched, as an expansion of the organization’s education mission, the No Child Left Indoors™ initiative. This new initiative is part of a national movement aimed at getting youth unplugged from electronics and turned on to the outdoors, nature and wildlife.
Nationwide, a smaller percentage of people – particularly youth – are spending time participating in outdoor recreation activities such as hunting, fishing and camping. Instead, time is being spent in front of computers, televisions and other electronics. “It’s imperative that we reconnect youth to the outdoors,” said Cheryl Riley, PF/QF’s Vice President of Education and Outreach, “If we don’t engage youth in the outdoors, then they don’t understand nature and won’t care about it. And if they don’t care about wildlife and wild places, they won’t care about conserving them.”
The No Child Left Indoors™ initiative builds on PF/QF’s popular Leopold Education Project and chapter youth events with a menu of expanded youth and family programs that are designed with PF and QF chapters in mind. The No Child Left Indoors™ initiative will be carried out through youth habitat projects, youth and family community events and youth outdoor education programs hosted by chapters and volunteers across the country.
Pheasants Forever kicked off the No Child Left Indoors™ initiative with the first annual No Child Left Indoors™ National Award recognizing a PF chapter that shares a vision of how to bring along the next generation of conservationists and land stewards. Winner of this inaugural award – given at Pheasants Forever’s National Pheasant Fest 2008 and 25th Anniversary – was the Watonwan County (MN) Chapter of Pheasants Forever.
“Many of our chapters do terrific youth and family events. The Watonwan County Chapter particularly exemplifies our new initiative. In addition to a popular youth mentor hunt, they have formed a youth club that meets monthly to do outdoor activities, community events and fundraising. This provides very important multiple touches to their youth programs,” said Riley, “They also have a special program with landowners who allow youth to hunt on their property and in return, the youth do habitat work for the landowner – to the tune of 200 acres so far.”
Other PF & QF chapters nominated for the first ever No Child Left Indoors™ National Award included: Wright County (MN), Lee County (IA), Rock River Valley (WI), Southeast Ohio, Kansas Ringnecks, Nebraska State Council, Muskegon County (MI), Yellowstone Valley (MT), Peaceful Valley (ND), Highland Chapter (IL), Carroll County (IA), Western New York, St. Joseph County (IN), Northern Colorado, North Idaho, Puget Sound (WA), Mahaska County (IA), Ozark Plateau (MO) and Illinois Pioneer (IL).
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever chapters hold more than 500 youth events a year connecting 25,000 plus youth to the outdoors. Many provide educators with scholarships to attend Leopold Education Project workshops. They reach out in their communities to sponsor youth mentor hunts, outdoor conservation days, shooting sports competitive events, conservation camps, youth fishing tournaments, outdoor expos, hunter education classes, schoolyard habitats and much more.
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 120,000 members in 700 local chapters across the continent.