Chapter members also recognized with individual honors

The Stearns County Pheasants Forever (SCPF) chapter was recognized as the Minnesota Chapter of the Year by Pheasants Forever (PF) at its annual state meeting held February 16 in conjunction with National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic 2013. This honor recognizes a Minnesota chapter that is balanced in its approach to accomplishing the mission of Pheasants Forever and excels in all aspects of being a chapter.

In addition to the Minnesota Chapter of the Year, SCPF received recognition for spending $3 million on total habitat and conservation expenditures since their inception in 1983. Stearns County is only the third chapter in the nation to earn this honor. Since their beginning, SCPF and partners helped purchase 33 land parcels accounting for almost 4,200 acres which are now protected and open to public hunting and outdoor recreation in Stearns County.

“The Stearns County PF chapter does it all,” stated Eran Sandquist, Pheasants Forever regional wildlife biologist. “They throw a great fundraising banquet and leverage those locally raised dollars to bring more resources for the organization’s local habitat mission. Combined with their rich history of being the first PF chapter to create a newsletter, a sponsorship program, and receive a Federal North American Wetland Conservation Small Grant, the Stearns County PF chapter provides leadership to the entire state on what is possible for an individual chapter to accomplish.”

Other Stearns County PF chapter accomplishments include:

  • Participated and volunteered for the Pheasants Forever Minnesota State Convention and District Meetings
  • Supported and lobbied for increased state and federal conservation policy
  • Enhanced habitat management on public lands
  • Offered and supported multiple area youth conservation events, youth mentored hunts and supported scholastic shooting teams
  • The first chapter to partner with Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, USDA – NRCS, Minnesota DNR, Minnesota BWSR, and Stearns SWCD in funding a Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist to Stearns County. This biologist’s role is to assist landowners in designing, developing, and funding habitat improvements on private lands.

Two of the chapter’s committee members were also recognized at the awards banquet. Charlie Opitz was the recipient of Pheasants Forever’s Dedication Award, and Ralph Feld was inducted to the Pheasants Forever’s Long Spur Society for being instrumental in the creation and continuation of the chapter as well as playing an essential role in the development of chapter programs.

“Stearns County PF is fortunate to have a passionate group of committee members,” said Steve Sellnow, SCPF chapter president. “We want to thank all the volunteers, spouses, banquet attendees, and sponsors who have enabled us to achieve these milestones; without their support, none of this would be possible.”

The Stearns County Pheasants chapter was the first chapter formed in 1983, just one year after Pheasants Forever was founded. For more information, please contact Steve Sellnow at (320) 266-1004 or email Steve.

Image courtesy Pheasants Forever

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