"It is on some, but not all, of these misty autumn day-breaks that one may hear the chorus of the quail. The silence is suddenly broken by a dozen contralto voices, no longer able to restrain their praise of the day to come." -Aldo Leopold
In 1990, Missouri had one Pheasants Forever Chapter, the Heartland Chapter, and they were doing great work. After a couple of years, they had impacted a couple hundred acres. By 2005, we are in quail country and the first Quail Forever chapter started: The Gateway Chapter. Numbers of impacted acres and chapters start growing and in five years we had impacted just under 20,000 historical acres in MO. From two years and 200 acres, to twenty years and 20,000 acres.
How can we do more?
In 2011, with chapter support and partner engagement we launched the Farm Bill Biologist Program with three biologists. In five years, the now seven biologists and chapter support had impacted over 150,000 acres. Chapter dollars matched with partners. More habitat, more acres. During those same five years our over 20 chapters added about 60,000 acres.
From 1990 – 2017, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever in Missouri impacted over 290,000 acres and the numbers are climbing exponentially. We now have 23 active, passionate, and driven Missouri Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever chapters leading the nation in their efforts. Missouri chapters are in the Top 10 for: food plots (5/10 were MO), habitat spending (3/10), nesting cover (4/10), and habitat maintenance (4/10). Missouri is leading the nation in quail country and Quail Forever members (2,709 Quail Forever members and 3,899 Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever members as of April, 2019).
Over the next few years we will grow our chapters, our membership, and our partnerships so we can continue to do more. We will continue to dream bigger because that is what is required to meet this challenge.