Wednesday, 27 February 2013 11:23

Southeast Alberta benefits from work of habitat conservation group Pheasants Forever

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An active southeast Alberta conservation group is hosting its major fundraiser March 8 at the Cypress Centre.

According to Kathy Kopperud, senior volunteer for Pheasants Forever Chinook Chapter No. 43, the group, which is comprised of not only people from southeast Alberta but as far away as Calgary, Swift Current and even Havre, Mont., will host the 21st annual banquet and fundraiser. It’s a chance for Chinook Pheasants Forever members  to check out and purchase some work from artists including Gena Lacoste, Hope Johnson, Terry Redlin, and Gail Mar. .
Other auction and raffle items include  a helicopter ride in the Calgary City Police Hawc Helicopter, plus tickets to the Calgary Flames and fitness memberships. The impressive list of items totals more than $20,000.
Kopperud said the event is organized and efficient. It needs to be as the group does not receive government funding. There are not a lot of speeches and people can get to the silent auction, socializing and fun right away.
“It makes money and people get a lot of enjoyment out of the evening,” explained Kopperud about why the event is always so successful.
The goal of Pheasants Forever is “to the conservation of pheasants and other upland wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs. Habitat restoration and enhancement projects include planting trees, shrubs and grasses to create shelterbelts and grassy corridors for wildlife travel lanes and protective cover; planting good quality nesting cover for ground nesting birds; fencing out existing or newly-planted habitat areas to promote growth and limit livestock access; developing riparian buffer zones; protecting cattail marshes for winter thermal cover and setting up winter food plots.”
The ultimate goal is to make that piece of property within a 15-kilometre area of Medicine Hat within Cypress County and the County of 40-Mile open to the public so they can see and enjoy that habitat.
Kopperud emphasizes all of the money generated stays in southeast Alberta. She said those who are members of Pheasants Forever (those who purchase a banquet ticket automatically become members and receive a subscription to the quarterly Pheasants Forever magazine) know the importance of the organization’s work.
“People understand that we’re losing habitat everywhere,” explained Kopperud. “It’s because of our aggressive urban sprawl that we’re losing habitat. People understand that.
“We have the group that knows how to raise the money and they have partnerships with (the business community and other environmental and government agencies) ... we get the right people who can help us the most.”
Kopperud said the group then tries to not only buy targeted pieces of land that will help save habitat, but another major objective is to clean up that property.
She added all of the people within the organization are volunteers.
When something is needed, there is an expert or specialist they can call on to do the job. They have also planted more than 400,000 trees in the last 15 years.
“We work as a cohesive group,” said Kopperud of the approximate 500-member group.
Pheasants Forever will organize a free under-16 youth trap shoot seminar in June. For more information or to obtain tickets for the March 8 event phone 403-526-9043 (8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.) or online at: (Chinook Chapter).

Read 17399 times Last modified on Thursday, 28 February 2013 08:22
Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor