On February 27th, the Bootheel Bobwhites Quail Forever chapter held its first pollinator project in Sikeston. Forty-five participants were in attendance, lending a hand to fifteen acres of soon to be wildlife habitat. Locals remember the area as a closed down golf course, and then simply an area to be mowed. However, in 2020 an opportunity presented itself to turn this area into wildlife habitat.

“This project will benefit both wildlife and community by establishing 15 acres of native wildflower seed which will establish cover, food sources, and various additional benefits for pollinators and small game,” said Kelsey DeZalia, Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever’s (QF) Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist II in Missouri and lead on this project. “It will also act as an educational area and an outlet to reach all patrons of the park; some whom we might not be in contact with originally through our day-to-day jobs. It will absolutely attract more birds and will hopefully be used as an educational tool accessible to everyone and anyone who’d like to do so.”

Throughout the day, participants were able to visit various educational and hands-on station to learn more about the important work taking place. Bees and beekeeping discussions were led by Cory Stevens with Stevens Bee Company. Pollinator-free ice cream sundae discussions and treats were led by Kara McSpadden with Missouri Department of Conservation and Native Plant ID was run by Rachel Settle, Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist II in Missouri for PF & QF.

“I’m very excited to be collaborating with our partner on this project,” said DeZalia. “Our goals for this project directly benefit both wildlife and residents of the surrounding area.”

The project was made possible by the partnership with Sikeston Board of Municipal Utilities, Missouri Department of Conservation, the Bootheel Bobwhites Chapter of QF, US Fish and Wildlife Services, Bayer, Corteva Agriscience, Monarch Joint Venture, Pollinator Partnership, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund.

For more information on Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s Pollinator Habitat Outreach Projects, and how you can start one in your community, visit: Habitat Education and make sure to become a member today!