Habitat & Conservation  |  10/27/2021

Arkansas QF Staff Win Organization Awards


Arkansas Habitat Specialist Burn Crew Leader Maia Larson won one of the organization’s internal awards.

Arkansas State Coordinator Ryan Diener and Arkansas Habitat Specialist Burn Crew Leader Maia Larson have won two of the organization’s internal awards for the habitat mission work they’re doing across the state.

Ryan Diener won this year’s Jeff Finden Award is an award that represents honor, integrity, and teamwork, and is presented to the employee who has demonstrated these qualities throughout the year.

Arkansas State Coordinator Ryan Diener also won one of the organization’s internal awards.

Ryan, an 11-year veteran employee of the Habitat Organization, began his career as a Farm Bill wildlife biologist in northwest Kansas, before transferring back to his home state of Missouri, where he served as a Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist II, before promoting to the state of Arkansas as the state’s first Farm Bill wildlife biologist. Over the past three years, Ryan has served as the Arkansas state coordinator and helped to grow Quail Forever’s partnership and impact within the state.

Maia Larson won the Acre Maker award for her work as the team leader for the Arkansas Habitat Specialist Burn Crew. In the first year on the ground, Maia and the crew have completed a total of 6,700 acres of prescribed fire on private and public lands in the state, a total of 48 operations. 24 operations have been completed on private lands solely by the crew, for a total of 1,600 acres of prescribed fire. They have also completed an additional 800 acres of woodland thinning and herbicide applications.

All this work has been happening within the Quail Focal Landscapes in Arkansas, designed to specifically increase usable space on a meaningful scale for bobwhite quail. Maia has also helped lead trainings for the Farm Bill biologists related to herbicide applications, timber stand improvement methods, and prescribed fire. Her leadership and coordination with private lands staff and WMA managers have made the crew an invaluable resource in the state.

This story originally appeared in the 2021 Fall Issue of the Quail Forever Journal. If you enjoyed it and would like to be the first to read more great upland content like this, become a Quail Forever member today!