Pheasants Forever Receives Largest Donation in 26-Year History
Kansas Man Hopes to Inspire Others with 1,700-Acre Gift
Saint Paul, Minnesota – Wallace N. Weber, 65, of Russell County, Kansas ended 2008 with the single largest donation ever to Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever (QF) in the organization’s 26-year history. Weber cites his desire to see his 1,700 acres stay together and managed as a wildlife habitat demonstration unit as critical factors in his decision to make Pheasants Forever the recipient of his gift.
Weber, a retired U.S. Army Colonel, along with his sister Cheryl of Topeka, began the process of donating 1,700 acres of land to PF in late December 2008. The land includes two full sections, a half section, a quarter section and an additional 80 acres. He affectionately refers to the property as “Dubuque Land & Cattle” relating back to the land’s history and location. The first half section was transferred to PF in December 2008. Upon COL. Weber’s death, the land will be accompanied by a charitable remainder trust for management expenses. All told, the Weber donation is expected to be valued at well over a million dollars. The entirety of the donation will be complete upon COL. Weber’s passing.
“This donation is not about dollars or acres. I’ve made this gift to Pheasants Forever, because we share a common mission and dream of turning this land into a living unit that will inspire others to manage for wildlife in harmony with sustainable agriculture,” explained COL. Weber.
He acknowledges not only his family, but the greater Dubuque community’s part in helping create the opportunity for him to be able to do this.
The mission for the land will be to implement conservation practices beneficial to wildlife, while maintaining the property’s agricultural and ranching operations. The land is currently home to a tremendous population of pheasants with great potential for quail habitat improvements. Prairie chickens, whitetail, and mule deer have also called the property home over the years. A creek runs through the property and there are also three ponds used by migrating waterfowl and stocked with fish. PF will begin managing the land immediately to be a demonstration unit. In time, PF envisions hosting conservation and habitat field days to illustrate “best management practices” on the property. It’s hoped the site will become a destination for natural resource agency tours, chapter events, and youth field trips. The land will remain private, with hunting by written permission only. Upon COL. Weber’s passing, PF intends to open Dubuque Land & Cattle to public hunting.
The idea of making the donation first came to Wallace and Cheryl last year after reading about the Baxter Family gift to PF. Bill Baxter Sr., a Nebraska Game & Parks Commission biologist, passed away in February of 2007. Before his passing, Baxter and his son Bill Jr. worked out the details of leaving their 320-acre Nebraska family farm to PF. The Baxter’s story appeared last year in thePheasants Forever Journal of Upland Conservation and in the Pheasants Forever eNewsletter, On The Wing.
COL. Weber hopes his story will provide similar inspiration to others. “I read about the Baxters and I realized Pheasants Forever could help me achieve the dreams I had for turning this property into a legacy for others. I reminisced being a thirteen-year-old kid again who lived to hunt, trap, and fish on this ground. I believe this land can turn similar memories into reality for other youngsters for decades, for forever.”
Some of the land has been in the Weber family for three generations. Over the years, Wallace’s accrual of the surrounding property has continued to shape a family history, including; immigration from Luxembourg and Bohemia, farming, hunting, amateur baseball, railroads, a business empire, and The Great Depression.
Wallace was born in 1943 and grew up in the house he lives in today. He spent 31 years in the U.S. Army and served over nine years of active duty; including service as a flight surgeon with the Assault Battalion of the 82nd Aviation Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division during Operation Desert Storm in the First Gulf War combat zone. He founded Heartland Dermatology Center in Hays in 1977 and continued in the American Board Certified practice of Dermatology, Dermatopathology, and Dermatologic Surgery in central and northwest Kansas until selling the practice in 2005. He’s a lifelong outdoorsman who has been farming and ranching on his property since 1987.
“Pheasants Forever is incredibly honored to now be a part of the Weber Family legacy. We share a common passion for wildlife and a vision for the future,” said Howard Vincent, PF/QF President & CEO. “Most folks don’t realize how significant an impact we can all make individually. Wallace Weber may not be a name you recognized before today, but it’s a name that will live on forever through his generosity, vision, and dedication to the land. Dubuque Land & Cattle will be a fitting wildlife habitat legacy.”
The Weber donation was made through PF’s first-ever national fundraising effort, the Grassroots Conservation Campaign. To learn more about making a charitable donation to Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, please contact PF/QF’s Vice President of Development David Bue at 218.340.5519 or via email at [email protected]
“As I’ve worked with Wallace through this entire process, his leadership and his commitment to leaving a legacy through this land have been impressive,” added Bue. “This will be a major success story for Pheasants Forever in Kansas for decades to come.”
In fact, the Russell County Conservation District is planning to award COL. Weber with their Wildlife Award in February for his conservation efforts on the Dubuque Land & Cattle property.
There are 41 PF and 8 QF chapters in Kansas. Combined, there are over 6,000 members in the state. Since the organization’s inception in 1982, PF has improved more than 100,000 acres in Kansasto benefit wildlife.
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are non-profit conservation organizations dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant, quail, and other wildlife populations in North Americathrough habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. PF/QF has more than 130,000 members in 700 local chapters across the continent. To join, log ontowww.PheasantsForever.org or www.QuailForever.org.