County Conservationists recognized in PF Journal

The Pheasants Forever magazine showed up in my mailbox today and I see that county conservation people from Iowa landed a couple spots, which is pretty great if you ask me. 

Will Horsley, the Director in Clay County was recognized with a Polaris Habitat Stewardship Award from his local PF chapter. Then, in a nationwide drawing of the various winners, the Clay County Chapter was drawn to win the Polaris Ranger. Sweet deal!

I know Will and am somewhat familiar with some of the work he and his team have done out there in Clay County. Specifically, the Oneota Environmental Learning Center mentioned in the article has been one helluva project. The conservation team took this giant barn, picked it up and hauled it down the road, placing in one of their parks to serve as their new nature center. They're in the process of fundraising the dollars needed to finish it.

I don’t remember all the details (maybe I’ll get him on the podcast sometime to hear about it), but I know it took some serious coordination to close roads and transport the building that took up the entire right-of-way. 

I'm pretty sure this is the barn they moved. Image source.

Read the story about Will online here.

The second county conservationist to grace the Journal is yours truly. I had previously been featured in a post online, but it came as a surprise to find out I made the pages of the magazine. 

On a side note, I don't know if I should feel salty about being the only person in the spread not wearing pheasant hunting gear or holding a dead bird...

It's nice to be recognized, I guess. And I do love PF. Have for a long time. The people on my local committee are awesome and we do some great things in this community together. In fact, as I write this, we're 10 days before our annual banquet. We're not even meeting again until the night before the event, that's how prepared we are! (I hope). 

Here's the thing, though. I'm only one of many. Will and I are only two out of hundreds of county conservation employees. Many of them are also PF volunteers and chapter leaders. Or they're part of DU, or NWTF, or any other alphabet-soup organization (we government types really like our acronyms) that exists to improve the natural world around us and connect more people to the land. 

So to all the acronym-employed conservationists and the otherwise-employed volunteers out there, thanks for what you do. I know the work it takes to put on banquets and the sweat equity that goes into habitat work. And I know sometimes it may seem like there's not a lot to show for it. But then you look back and you see a nature center where there didn't used to be one, public land where there had previously been no access, and quality habitat where invasive species once ran rampant. 

And then you look forward and you see a new generation learning about the natural world, taking to the field instead of to the computer, and connecting with the land and people in ways they couldn't have done without the hard work of the people that came before them. 

Your hard work. 

Keep it up. We are leaving a legacy. And there's no greater work to be done than that.