Conducting a prescribed burn to improve upland game bird habitat is one of the many youth activities of the Pine Bluffs Pheasants Forever Chapter. (courtesy photo)
PINE BLUFFS - Laramie County may not be known nationally for its pheasants – but if it wasn’t before, it sure is known nationally now for its Pheasants Forever chapter. The High Plains Chapter of Pine Bluffs was honored with the No Child Left Indoors National Award at the organization’s national Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic in Kansas City, Mo. Feb. 17.
The chapter was lauded for its myriad annual youth events including family shooting range day, mentored pheasant and goose hunts, wildlife field day for Pine Bluffs, Albin, Carpenter, and Burns kindergarten -sixth graders and wild game processing day.
“We’re proud of what all chapters do for youth, but the High Plains chapter goes above and beyond with all their efforts,” said Cheryl Riley, Pheasants Forever’s vice president of Education and Outreach. “The chapter recognizes that it takes more than a one-time event to keep youth engaged and they have addressed that with a variety of activities led by individuals youngsters can relate to.”
With the interest and following generated from the activities, High Plains took the outreach a step further by starting a youth-only Pheasants Forever chapter in 2010 – one of only six youth chapters nationwide.
“The High Plains chapter has had a strong youth focus since the start, thanks in large part to our initial youth coordinator, Spike Giachino,” said Dean Bowman, one of the chapter’s founding members and former president. “Spike got our youth outreach rolling and it continues to grow.”
Bowman accepted the fifth annual No Child Left Indoors Award on behalf of the chapter at national convention. “This was a team effort and we have a very strong and dedicated team,” he said. “Brian and Patty Mann along with my wife BJ are constantly looking for activities to generate outdoor interest in the kids.”
The High Plains Chapter #321 was founded in 1990 in Cheyenne and moved to Pine Bluffs in 2000 where Glenn Manley is the current President. The chapter currently sports 327 members.
“Hopefully the news of this award will help individual hunters and other outdoor organizations realize there are many kids out there begging to go hunting or just get outdoors -- but educating comes with a price,” he said, adding the chapter always needs and welcomes sponsors for their youth activities.
“We keep the kids and ourselves busy with fund raising activities to support the groups’ interests.”
Both the High Plains Chapter and their student chapter, the Texas Trail Ringnecks, were also recognized for their education fund-raising in the March issue of Pheasants Forever magazine. Of the 700 plus Pheasants Forever chapters, High Plains ranked ninth and the Texas Trail Ringnecks 43rd.
(Contact: Jeff Obrecht (307) 777-4532)