Illinois Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever recognized chapters and individuals from across the state for their wildlife habitat conservation efforts at the organizations’ recent state convention. During this event, four Pheasants Forever members were inducted into the state’s Hall of Fame, celebrating their dedicated efforts in supporting the organizations’ conservation mission in Illinois. Gerry Rodeen (posthumous), Pat Martin, Kelly Howry and Bill Bryan represent the inaugural Illinois Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever (QF) Hall of Fame inductees.

“This year’s inductees represent the true conservation spirit of Illinois, committing their lives to helping the state’s upland wildlife and landscape,” says Dick Wyatt, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Regional Representative for northern Illinois, “Illinois is a state with a rich history of volunteer support and hunting heritage. I hope other Illinois residents carry the banner and follow in the footsteps of this year’s inductees, furthering Illinois’ reputation as an outstanding state for hunting and conservation achievements.”

The Illinois Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Hall of Fame was established to recognize the individuals who have been influential in the success of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever in Illinois over the past 25-plus years. These individuals worked not just to promote their respective chapters, but they helped grow the organizations throughout the state.

Illinois Hall of Fame Inductees

Gerry Rodeen – Illinois Pioneer PF chapter – Rodeen helped found the Illinois Pioneer Pheasants Forever chapter; the first Pheasants Forever chapter founded in Illinois. While staying active with his local chapter, Rodeen helped start a multitude of other chapters across the state. He also assisted in growing Pheasants Forever to its current national level through his 24-year service on the Pheasants Forever National Board of Directors. Rodeen drafted the legislation and lobbied for the Illinois Pheasant Stamp, providing hundreds of thousands of dollars for habitat projects across the state. A lifelong advocate for conservation, Rodeen helped found the Habitat Wheel Initiative, an active Illinois conservation measure which has also been replicated in other states. During his service with Pheasants Forever, he was appointed to the Illinois Conservation Foundation by then Governor Edgar and was active in other community and state preservation organizations. Gerry Rodeen passed away in January 2011, and in his passing, Illinois lost a champion of wildlife conservation.

Pat Martin – Highland PF chapter – In 1986, Martin helped found the Highland Pheasants Forever chapter; the fifth Illinois chapter to sign a national charter. He also helped form the Illinois Pheasants Forever State Council and served on its board for 10 years. Martin assisted Gerry Rodeen with lobbying the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for the Pheasant Stamp Initiative. In 1995, with the assistance of Pheasant Stamp funds, the Highland Chapter purchased 117 acres for public access which constituted the first Pheasant Habitat Area for wild upland hunting in Illinois. Martin served as the Highland chapter President from 1986-2006, and under his guidance, it became the first Illinois chapter to raise and spend over $2 million on habitat.

Kelly Howry – Dewitt County PF chapter – Howry has been an instrumental member of Dewitt County Pheasants Forever since the chapter’s beginning, and he has helped plant thousands of acres of habitat during his tenure as the chapter’s Habitat Chair. Howry has also been critical in the success of Pheasants Forever’s mission in Illinois, having been known to transport chapter equipment hundreds of miles to help with projects in areas without local chapters. Some of Howry’s other accomplishments include his role in several land acquisitions, recruiting new members to the chapter committee, helping conduct repeated sell-out banquets and serving on the Illinois Pheasant Fund Committee.

Bill Bryan – Mclean County PF chapter – Bryan, along with two close friends, formed the Mclean County Pheasants Forever chapter in 1986. For the first two years of the chapter, Bryan served as President to facilitate the chapter’s initial success. Later, Bryan served an additional two terms as chapter President and worked as Habitat Chair for multiple years. Bryan was critical to forming the Illinois Pheasants Forever State Council and served as the council’s President for two years.  He also joined Gerry Rodeen to introduce and lobby for the Illinois Pheasant Stamp program. Bryan served on the Illinois Pheasant Fund Committee for 11 years after being appointed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director. In partnership with the Illinois DNR, Bryan and his wife hosted the first Pheasant Management Workshop on their family farm.  Bryan also was a participating member in coordinating the Illinois Sponsor Print program.

The 2011 Illinois Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever State Convention took place at the Par-A-Dice Hotel & Convention Center, East Peoria, Ill.  In attendance were various guest speakers, including Pheasants Forever President & CEO Howard K. Vincent. After the day’s round-table discussions and educational break-out sessions, the awards banquet and live auction took place to celebrate a successful 2011 for “The Habitat Organization.” Illinois Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever improved over 15,000 acres for wildlife in 2011. Those acres are a direct result of the organizations’ members, volunteers and partners working together to further the organizations’ habitat mission.

For more information on Pheasants Forever or Quail Forever in northern Illinois, please contact Dick Wyatt, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Regional Representative, at (217) 733-2173 / Email Dick. For more information on Pheasants Forever or Quail Forever in southern Illinois, please contact Tim Caughran, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Regional Wildlife Biologist, at (618) 467-2586 / Email Tim.

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