Illinois State University Students “Back the Birds” for Second-Largest Quail Forever Chapter in the United States

Acquiring more than 200 Quail Forever members at its inaugural spring fundraiser and impacting 3500 adults/youth since the fall of 2017, the Illinois State University (ISU) Trap & Skeet Quail Forever chapter has quickly garnered the respect of its local community as a premier conservation group. Members, partners, and interested volunteers can expect more of the same for the remainder of 2018 from America’s fastest growing chapter of Quail Forever.

“We’re excited to focus chapter efforts towards local habitat, mentored hunts, and youth shooting sports activities in McLean County,” reports Rodney Graf, president of ISU Trap & Skeet Quail Forever. “Combining conservation efforts with McLean County Pheasants Forever is providing further opportunities for greater impact in our local area. This competitive, collegiate group of shooters is excited to be promoting ‘The Habitat Organization’ at Illinois State.”

This unique model showcases how a well-established Pheasants Forever chapter, combined with collegiate energy and enthusiasm, can partner to further promote mission-centric projects of “The Habitat Organization.” In fact, ISU Trap & Skeet QF joins a growing list of higher education institutions – including Iowa State University, North Dakota State University, Hocking Valley College (OH), Big Red (NE) and University of Georgia – who have transformed a passion for conservation into successful endeavors benefiting habitat and wildlife.

“Our chapter recognizes the importance of instilling hunting traditions with today’s youth and engaging the next generation of chapter volunteers through the college campus,” stated Eric Gerth, president of McLean County Pheasants Forever. “To that end, we look forward to partnering with ISU volunteers to restore habitat and increase shooting sports opportunities in McLean County.”

Recently, McLean County Pheasants Forever purchased a FOREVER Shooting Sports™ trailer that will be used in joint capacity with ISU Trap & Skeet QF to further solidify the growing partnership and add more community members to the ranks of hunters statewide. Both groups will join Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever national staffers as the organizations bring National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic, the nation’s premier tradeshow and annual meeting for upland hunters, to the Schaumburg Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center on February 22-24, 2019.

“This is merely the tip of the iceberg for engaging collegiate hunters, men and women alike, to cultivate a new demographic of upland hunters. College-aged individuals are crucial to establishing more licensed hunters in Illinois and throughout the United States; this is a great step in the right direction for preserving our hunting heritage,” expressed Ross Fogle, regional representative for Quail Forever in Illinois.

About Quail Forever

Quail Forever is a leading organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation efforts for the United States’ native quail species. Since its creation in 2005, Quail Forever has conducted more than 13,000 habitat projects across the nation benefitting quail and other wildlife. Along with its affiliate organization Pheasants Forever, it has committed more than $784 million to improve more than 17 million acres of wildlife habitat. Quail Forever has more than 16,000 members and 170 local chapters across the country. Both Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever are part of Pheasants Forever, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

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Jared Wiklund
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