Iola has inaugural NWTF Upland Gamebird Chapter



August 31, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Turkey habitat is wildlife habitat.
Bob Walden and Don Erbert are members of the National Wild Turkey Federation. Neither Allen County land owner was interested in developing a local chapter of NWTF.
But a new idea developed by NWTF presented at the national convention in February piqued Walden and Erbert’s interest — a seminar on habitat.
“It was about keeping and developing wildlife habitat. Not just about turkeys but all wildlife,” Walden said. “Roger Wells, who is from Kansas, gave the seminar and Don and I really liked the idea.”
Walden and Erbert were approached by Ellen Benitz, NWTF regional director, about the organization’s newest idea. Benitz had attended an upland habitat seminar in Iola earlier this month.
Last week, the National Wild Turkey Federation announced the formation of its first ever upland gamebird chapter.
The Kansas First Upland Pioneers Chapter was created in Iola on Aug. 18 by more than two dozen conservation-minded individuals who decided the best way to improve quail populations and upland habitat was to form the first NWTF chapter focused on upland gamebirds.
“The NWTF’s work has helped many wildlife species and our new Upland Gamebird Initiative is an exciting opportunity to further expand the NWTF’s efforts to support wildlife species other than the wild turkey,” said George C. Thornton, NWTF chief executive officer. 
“Forming the Kansas First Upland Pioneers Chapter is a fantastic opportunity to advance our mission of conservation and the preservation of our hunting heritage.”
Since its creation the NWTF has conserved 14 million acres of habitat in North America and helped restore wild turkey populations, which many view as its greatest American conservation success story.  Fortunately, the NWTF’s conservation efforts go far beyond the wild turkey.  Habitat improved to benefit the wild turkey also helps a huge range of other wildlife, such as quail, grouse, woodcock, deer and numerous other game and non-game species.
“We believe the NWTF is the most effective conservation organization in North America and our chapter could not ask for a better partner in our efforts to improve quail and upland habitat in Kansas,” said Walden, who was named president and banquet chairman of the Kansas First Upland Pioneers Chapter.  “We are excited to join such a fantastic group.”
The Kansas First Upland Pioneers Chapter was officially accepted into the NWTF on Aug. 22. It already has 10 members on its banquet committee.
The chapter will host its first banquet in Piqua Oct. 30.
“We believe this will help the local chapters of Quail Unlimited and even the Ducks Unlimited, which do a great job of raising funds and awareness of conservation and habitat,” Walden said.
“It’s all about education and management of land. There are programs out there to help us land owners get the most out of our land plus have  wildlife habitat.”
For information on banquet tickets contact Walden at (620) 365-1780 and for information on starting an NWTF upland gamebird chapter in your area, contact Ellen Bentiz at (816) 387-6606.

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