Quail enthusiasts in Florida recently formed a new Quail Forever (QF) chapter. Known as the Florida Sportsmen Quail Forever Chapter, volunteers will focus their efforts on improving public-use habitat for bobwhite quail and getting youth involved in outdoor pursuits.
The chapter is led by newly-elected President Gary Marriage. “I’ve been hunting for as long as I can remember. Now, more people are looking for conservation to come back,” noted Marriages, an Illinois native who was raised in an upland hunting family and moved to Florida during high school. “Quail Forever’s fundraising model gives our chapter the opportunity to significantly impact habitat, youth and education in Central Florida.”
“After reading about Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever, the organization’s mission and model, and the No Child Left Indoors Initiative, we thought it fell right in line with what our community was after. What really appealed to us is our locally-raised funds are left up to us, the chapter, to manage and use to teach kids sportsmanship, conservation and outdoor ethics,” Marriage continued, “We know what we’ve got in our backyard, and through Quail Forever’s model, we can get Florida where it needs to be in order to ensure our outdoor heritage continues.”
The chapter’s primary goal is to get more youth involved in the outdoors by hosting youth-oriented events, teaching sportsmanship, and “showing them what it’s like to put the video games down, get outside and carry on our outdoor traditions.”
“Florida is a critical state for quail restoration efforts in the Southeast, and Quail Forever’s locally-empowering model will work perfectly for this group of motivated volunteers,” reported Tim Caughran, Quail Forever’s east regional manager. “With the members’ concern for quail restoration and getting youth involved in the outdoors, I know the positive impacts made by the Florida Sportsmen Quail Forever Chapter will be felt by the whole community.”
The chapter hosted its first No Child Left Indoors Initiative event on November 16 at the Sumter County Fairgrounds in Webster, Florida. There, 49 youths, supervised by approximately 150 adults, learned about wildlife, shooting sports and outdoor stewardship. “This event gave the children a chance to see some of the traditions our generation has been a part of, and they now will be the next generation to carry it forward,” noted Marriage.
The chapter is actively looking for volunteers, and those interested are encouraged to contact Gary Marriage at (352) 793-6814 or email Gary. For more information on “The Habitat Organization” or to start a Quail Forever chapter in Florida, please contact Talbott Parten, Quail Forever’s regional representative, at (770) 655-4736 or email Talbott.
Image courtesy Quail Forever