|Pheasants Forever Honors Conservation Partners at the North American 100thAssemblyIndividuals throughout the nation awarded for their contributions to natural resources managementOmaha, Neb. – March 12, 2015 –Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have honored five individuals for their distinguishing contributions to conservation during the 100th assembly of the North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference. Awards were presented to Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever partners who have made conservation advances for upland species including pheasant, quail, sage grouse, and the lesser prairie-chicken.“Our awards represent innovative partnerships for the management of upland bird species throughout North America,” said Howard Vincent, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s President and CEO. “In an era of restricted budgets for natural resources, working with partners for the common goal of wildlife habitat conservation has yielded some incredible results. These individuals are champions of conservation, and we’re very proud to work side-by-side in the field with all of them.”Pheasant Award – Jim Douglas, Director of Nebraska Game and Parks CommissionPartnering with Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever for more than 20 years, Jim Douglas, along with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC), has been crucial for conservation successes of the ring-necked pheasant in Nebraska. The leadership of Douglas at NGPC has produced 23 biologist positions in the state that are shared by Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever, and during his tenure, the organizations have produced 41 different partnership programs for the benefit of wildlife habitat and public hunting access. In addition, the long-standing partnership between NGPC and Pheasants Forever has produced over $6 million annually for the organization’s mission of habitat conservation and youth education in Nebraska.Quail Award – Mark Gudlin, Private Lands Liason for Tennessee Wildlife Resources Authority
Helping to secure matching funds for the addition of three Quail Forever Farm Bill biologist positions in Tennessee, Gudlin has been instrumental for the expansion of technical assistance for quail habitat throughout the state. One of Quail Forever’s most promising partnerships in the eastern United States, the biologist positions are helping to implement the Tennessee Northern Bobwhite Quail Restoration Plan. In its first two years the partnership has enrolled over 8,610 acres into various Farm Bill programs for the conservation and longevity of bobwhite quail in Tennessee.
Sage Grouse Award – Sal Palazzolo, Farm Bill Coordinator for Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game
Guiding the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) throughout Idaho for the Department of Fish and Game, Palazzolo has embraced habitat work in the heart of sage grouse country to produce incredible results for this iconic western species. Partnering with Pheasants Forever to help fund three SGI Farm Bill biologists, this collaborative effort has enrolled over 96,000 acres into various Farm Bill programs in the last two years. The Burley Landscape Juniper Project has removed 9,343 acres of invasive juniper and restored it to prime sage grouse habitat. This project was recently awarded the BLM National Range Stewardship Award.
Lesser Prairie-Chicken Award – Ross Melinchuk, Deputy Exec. Dir. of Texas Parks and Wildlife
Elected chairman for the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) Lesser Prairie-Chicken Council, Melinchuk is considered a leading authority for restoration efforts of the lesser prairie-chicken. Critical to this conservation effort are the LPCI-funded field staff who work one-on-one with landowners to provide conservation planning and technical support for upland habitat in the lesser prairie chicken range. Melinchuk has garnered vital financial support for the program which will be expanding to 13 positions in five different states in the coming year.
Partner of the Year – Mike Pruss, Private Lands Section Chief for Pennsylvania Game Commission
The Pennsylvania Game Commission has partnered with Pheasants Forever to provide funding assistance for six Farm Bill biologist positions throughout the state. At the core of this partnership is Mike Pruss, an advocate for conservation programs which are delivered by Pheasants Forever biologists and Pennsylvania Game Commission staff. Working in tandem to protect the state’s vital natural resources, biologists are providing technical assistance for a variety of programs including the Voluntary Public Access & Habitat Incentive Program, Golden-winged Warbler Conservation Initiative, Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative, and Wild Pheasant Recovery Program.
About the North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference
Presented by the Wildlife Management Institute, The North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference is an annual gathering of industry leaders dedicated to the conservation, enhancement and management of North America’s wildlife and other natural resources.
About Pheasants 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 140,000 members and 700 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent.
Photo: Awards winners arranged from left to right include Ross Melinchuck, Jim Douglas, Sal Palazzolo, and Mark Gudlin. (Not pictured: Mike Pruss)