Quail Forever 2021 National Chapter of the Year Award Recipients

Quail Forever volunteer chapters throughout America are being honored this week for their mission-driven accomplishments over the past year in the categories of habitat work, membership, education and outreach, and advocacy. These attributes are what propel the organization’s conservation accomplishments from year-to-year, now accounting for more than 22 million acres since 1982.
2021 saw continued challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but local chapters persevered through difficult conditions to ensure the success of Quail Forever’s mission. Each category below represents a pillar of Quail Forever, and each chapter recognized has gone above and beyond to strengthen the core mission of “The Habitat Organization.”
National Chapter of the Year - Habitat Award
Mount Pleasant Chapter of Quail Forever (South Carolina)
This South Carolina volunteer chapter played a significant role in Quail Forever’s first land acquisition in the southeastern United States. The Bobwhite Hills Wildlife Management Area expansion in central South Carolina was purchased under the Build a Wildlife Area program and consists of 790 acres in Lee and Sumter Counties. Tim Askins, the Mount Pleasant chapter president originally identified the property, fostered a relationship with the previous landowner, and became the liaison between the landowner, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Quail Forever. For his work on this project, as well as many others, Askins received the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative’s “Firebird Award” recognizing outstanding work in quail conservation.
The Mount Pleasant chapter also helped identify the South Carolina Conservation Bank (SCCB) as a funding source to help offset organizational costs. They lobbied board members and assisted with presentations generating $850,000 in funding from the SCCB. This was the single largest contribution in Quail Forever history.  The chapter is also committed to raising funds for the Build a Wildlife Area program during their upcoming banquet in February 2022.
National Chapter of the Year – Membership Award
Cooper County Chapter of Quail Forever (Missouri)
The Cooper County Chapter of Quail Forever was chartered in May 2020, just as the pandemic shut down travel and large gatherings worldwide. Unable to host their kick-off banquet, the chapter quickly pivoted to a drive-thru banquet at the county fairgrounds so they could still host a successful membership drive. The event was a huge achievement, garnering memberships for the organization and introducing the new chapter to the Cooper County area.
Chapter volunteers also worked with the local 4H club to support their trap team, and in the process signed many of the trap team members up as “Whistler” Quail Forever members. They also hosted a 3D archery shoot as an outdoor alternative fundraising event, while simultaneously pursuing new members and advertising for their first in-person banquet, which will take place in Spring 2022.
To wrap up the year, the chapter held a youth hunt for 15 local youth and gave each participant a youth membership. In a time where restrictions have limited much of what chapters can and cannot do, the Cooper County Chapter of Quail Forever found alternative methods to ensure their newfound chapter would be a success.
National Chapter of the Year – Education & Outreach Award
Valley of the Sun Chapter of Quail Forever (Arizona)
The Valley of the Sun Chapter of Quail Forever based in Phoenix, Ariz. continued their education and outreach mission in 2021 despite the challenges of the pandemic. They hosted a number of smaller events to engage the local community, bring new youth and adult hunters into the field under the guidance of chapter members and delivered the Quail Forever habitat mission on public and private lands.
The chapter continued its Arizona Small Game Challenge, in conjunction with Arizona Game and Fish. These four individual challenges recognize the diverse landscapes of Arizona and reward the small game hunter for accomplishing a yearly challenge, with proceeds going to support the chapter’s ongoing habitat projects. These include their continued project on Robbins Butte Wildlife Area — a burgeoning dove mecca west of Phoenix — by laying three miles of drip lines, providing essential water access for wildlife through the ongoing drought.
In partnership with Arizona Game and Fish’s landowner relations program, the chapter established a working partnership with a local rancher who holds a 100,000-acre grazing lease. The chapter has already completed initial cleanup and habitat surveys in support of future habitat improvement efforts.
Valley of the Sun Quail Forever’s sustained approach with youth and adult outreach throughout the pandemic resulted in their banquet attendance numbers increasing from a previous average of 60, to 120 attendees in October 2021. The chapter is keeping this momentum going with a number of group hunts for Gambel’s, scaled and Mearns quail, as well as a Women On the Wing hunt for Gambel’s quail later this year.
National Chapter of the Year – Advocacy Award
Shortgrass Chapter of Quail Forever (Missouri)
The Shortgrass Chapter of Quail Forever has made it their mission to ensure quality habitat is on the landscape for quail and other wildlife. On top of being a burn-certified chapter that has delivered hundreds of acres of prescribed fire, the chapter is also highly invested in Missouri policy.
In the last year, Missouri has passed a prescribed fire bill into law that grants private landowners protection when using fire as a management tool on their properties. The Shortgrass Chapter of Quail Forever was a voice for fire throughout this process. In addition, the Shortgrass volunteers have always been a huge advocate for critical habitat that wildlife needs to survive, especially upland birds.
The Shortgrass chapter has also been a key player for advocacy within the state of Missouri, pushing state leaders to continue supporting conservation-oriented legislation. If that weren’t enough, they also increased their support for state and national programs, including the Legislative Action Fund. The uplands are in good hands with the Shortgrass Chapter of Quail Forever in their corner! 
About Quail Forever
Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 138,000 members and 760 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent over $900 million on 550,000 habitat projects benefiting 19 million acres nationwide. In fact, more than 200,000 of those acres are now permanently protected as public lands. 

Media Contact
Casey Sill