Michigan Pheasants Forever recognized chapters and individuals from across the state for their wildlife habitat conservation efforts at its recent state convention. The Bay/Midland Pheasants Forever (PF) chapter was named the Michigan Pheasants Forever “Chapter of the Year” for spending $121,877 on PF’s habitat mission, while Bill Brake, PF State Council Vice President, was named the Michigan Pheasants Forever “Volunteer of the Year” for his work representing Pheasants Forever and assisting at the grassroots level.
In addition to the state’s Pheasants Forever volunteers and chapters, 10 partner wildlife agencies/conservation groups were present, including the Michigan DNR, Michigan Department of Ag & Rural Development, USDA-NRCS, Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Lenawee Conservation District, Gratiot Conservation District, Michigan Steelheaders, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and Michigan State University.
Senator Debbie Stabenow was also in attendance as an honored guest. The Senator recognized the accomplishments of the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative (MPRI) through its environmental benefits. Senator Stabenow also gave a preview for what to expect in the 2012 farm bill.
The Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative Awards
The Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative “Habitat Cooperator of the Year” award was given to Steve Strnad from the Gratiot County Pheasants Forever chapter. Being one of the pioneers of the MPRI, Strnad tried to organize the first pheasant co-op and developed planting plans for not only his property, but for the surrounding areas. He also donated his time and the use of his farm equipment to plant habitat at the Maple River State Game Area.
For being the largest financial contributor to the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative, Washtenaw Pheasants Forever won the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative “Chapter of the Year” award. The chapter donated a total of $3,000 towards the Initiative.
“The support we have from the entire Michigan outdoor community speaks volumes to the atmosphere of conservation that has instilled itself across the state,” said Ben Wickerham, Pheasants Forever Michigan Regional Representative, “To see the backing we have for the Michigan Pheasants Restoration Initiative from our chapter members and partners makes me confident that we will achieve the long term goal of reestablishing pheasant throughout Michigan.”
Launched in early 2011, the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative’s goal is to reestablish the pheasant as a prolific game bird in specific regions of the state. The Initiative also has the potential to change small game hunting opportunities, increase other wildlife populations, improve hunter satisfaction and help Michigan’s economy. Find more on the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative.
Other Michigan Pheasants Forever Awards
“Visionary Award” Mike Parker, former PF Michigan Regional Representative, awarded for being the catalyst to start the MPRI • “Prairie Heritage Award” recipients included Barry County PF (686 acres), Eaton County PF (321 acres), and Bay/Midland County PF (283 acres) • “Habitat Heritage Award” recipients included Thumb Area PF (2,000 total acres of habitat), Livingston County PF (1,670 acres), Bay/Midland PF (1,335 acres) • “No Child Left Indoors Chapter of the Year” – Muskegon Pheasants Forever chapter (1,806 youth participants in 2011) • 25th Anniversary recognition – Ionia Pheasants Forever chapter and the Washtenaw Pheasants Forever chapter • “Longspur” recognition was given to 5 individuals for 10 or more years of service to Pheasants Forever in Michigan – Jeff Kubiak of Genesee, Bob Kiefiuk of Oakland, Kent Ballard of Ingham, Terry Neff of Macomb, and a honorary “Longspur” was given to Al Stewart of Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Pheasants Forever not only presented awards to its volunteers, but also received an award. The Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) awarded Pheasants Forever “Project of the Year” for its work on the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative.