Pheasants Forever Names O’Connor Director of Conservation Programs for Iowa
Position aimed at helping improve pheasant and quail habitat in Iowa.
Des Moines, Iowa – -(AmmoLand.com)- Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever announce Matt O’Connor as the organization’s new director of conservation programs for the state of Iowa. O’Connor has been with Pheasants Forever since 1990, serving as Pheasants Forever’s regional wildlife biologist in northern Iowa until 2004 and most recently as the organization’s habitat team coordinator.
As director of conservation programs in Iowa, O’Connor will lead Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever’s (QF) wildlife habitat conservation mission in the state. He will work on behalf of Iowa’s 105 PF/QF chapters and 22,000 PF/QF members with agencies and partners, including the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. He will be instrumental in PF/QF’s “Reload Iowa” campaign, an aggressive strategy for establishing and improving 1 million acres of wildlife habitat, increasing the number of upland hunters and increasing hunting-related revenue to local communities. And he will lead PF/QF’s support of sustainable outdoor funding which will be decided by Iowa voters in November of 2010.
“Iowa is a state that needs Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever now more than ever, and I’m excited to step into this position at this critical time,” O’Connor said. Long-term changes in agricultural practices and the recent loss of over 280,000 acres from the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), combined with recent harsh winters and spring flooding, have decimated Iowa’s once-thriving pheasant populations and done more damage to an already-declining bobwhite quail population.
“Iowa’s upland birds have been hit hard, but that hasn’t diminished the passion of our chapters and members, and we know with hard work and strong leadership from a lifelong conservationist like Matt O’Connor, we can turn the tide,” said Rick Young, PF/QF Vice President of Field Operations.
“There are some tremendous initiatives we’ve already got started, we’re going to work until sustainable outdoor funding is a reality and we have Pheasants Forever’s premiere event coming back to Iowa this year to showcase everything we’re doing,” O’Connor said.
PF’s National Pheasant Fest – the nation’s largest event for upland hunters, landowners, sport dog owners and wildlife habitat conservationists – is coming to Des Moines, Iowa, February 26, 27 & 28 in 2010. The Fest combines a national consumer show, habitat seminar series, and family event complete with puppies, tractors, shotguns, and art. For more information and updates on National Pheasant Fest 2010, log onto www.PheasantFest.org, and for more information on PF in Iowa, log onto www.IowaPF.org.
O’Connor, 51, is a Dubuque, Iowa native. He graduated from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin in 1981 with a B.S. in biology. Before joining Pheasants Forever, O’Connor worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa State University, and two different Iowa County Conservation Boards. O’Connor resides in Hopkinton, Iowa with his wife, Tracey, and their two sons; Seamus (8) and Liam (12).
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 America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. PF/QF has more than 130,000 members in 700 local chapters across the continent.
For additional information please visit www.PheasantsForever.org and www.QuailForever.org