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February 25th, 2021, Pheasants Forever, (PF), unveiled their unprecedented campaign to make measurable improvement to upland habitats nationwide. In a live message, PF President Howard Vincent explained the vision for the “Call of the Uplands”.
“This campaign is a $500 million effort to cultivate the next generation of conservationists, enhance over 9 million acres of upland habitat, and permanently protect 75,000 acres of land forever.”
Known as “The Habitat Organization”, PF was founded in 1982 in Saint Paul, MN by Dennis Anderson, forming of one of the most successful conservation non-profits in the world. Recognizing habitat loss to various types of development, Anderson published an article in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press & Dispatch, for which he was the outdoor editor. The following year, the first PF fundraiser banquet was held, inspiring more than 760 supporting chapters since.
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Unlike other conservation organizations, PF empowers chapters to raise funds and maintain them locally, meaning each chapter decides where and how to invest 100 percent of funds raised into outreach and habitat projects. This chapter-level empowerment has led to more than $825 million invested in 551,000 habitat projects.
Continuing the momentum, the Call of the Uplands presents a call to action for outdoorsmen and women and conservationists. Between 1966 and 2017, our nation has seen an 83 percent decline in Bobwhite quail populations, 27 percent decline in pheasant populations, and 23 percent decline in overall bird species due to the loss of native habitats across the U.S.
The loss of grasslands is particularly concerning with marked conversion to other land covers. “Since 2009, the Great Plains have lost more than 53 million acres of grasslands—an area the size of Kansas—to development. Longleaf pine woodlands once covered 90 million acres of the American Southeast. Today, less than 3 percent remain. Changes in land management practices jeopardize the future of the West’s public lands and the upland bird populations they support.”
To combat the loss of our nation’s native habitats, three pillars define the Call of the Uplands campaign; Habitat Enhancement, Education and Outreach, and Advocacy.
Habitat Enhancement: PF strives to enhance and conserve 2.4 million acres in the Western U.S., 5.8 million acres in Central U.S., and 910,000 in Eastern U.S.
Education and Outreach: PF “…will reach 1.5 million participants with new and expanded education and outreach programs to engage them in outdoor recreation, shooting sports, hunting and habitat conservation.”
Advocacy: PF “…will bring the collective voice of our 500,000+ constituents and coalition of partners to critical dialogue in Congress, at federal and state agencies, and in state legislatures across the country.”
While the goals of the campaign are lofty, PF has the track record and committed constituency to see them to fruition.
Do you hear the call? Visit https://pheasantsforever.org/Participate/Find-a-Chapter.aspx to find a PF chapter near you. Your contribution to conserving the uplands begins with a chapter membership, active chapter participation, a monetary donation to a local chapter or PF national, or a landowner conservation partnership.
Learn more about the Call of the Uplands at https://pheasantsforever.org/call-of-the-uplands.aspx.