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Greetings Chapter Leaders!

Autumn is finally here.  I hope you are able to enjoy the fruits of your labor with plenty of hunting and wildlife watching.  If you contributed to LAF, the fruits of your labor are in the plains states as well as Michigan, and I hope you get a chance to take a trip their too.  I’m hoping your outdoor activities also include mentoring someone that doesn’t normally get a chance to go hunting.

We have lots to report to you this quarter, as always.  There  is so much positive going on with PF chapters and with the MPRI.  It was especially good to see so many of you at the 6 district meetings.  Please remember to include me when you let fellow leaders know about your meetings.  I always enjoy visiting with you when I can.
Check out the new Challenge, the Chapter Challenge Checklist for 2015-16.  The ideas on this list are designed to help your chapter be fun, sustainable and influential.  I look forward to hearing next July what you’ve accomplished this year.
This newsletter is the first one where we are trying to put more focus on what individual chapters are doing.  Please see the 4 chapter stories at the end of the newsletter.  We hope you will submit a paragraph and a photo that shows your efforts, habitat, or events for future newsletters.
Be sure to cherish all the time you get with those you love, including your hunting dog family member.  I’m reminded this fall of how our time together can be shorter than we expect.  My 8-year-old yellow Labrador retriever is near the end with kidney failure.  He was the worst dog ever, the best dog ever, and the happiest dog ever.  We sure will miss him.
Bill Vander Zouwen, PF Rep
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Lake Hudson Great Outdoor Youth Jamboree  What a fantastic day for the third annual Great Outdoor Youth Jamboree - clear sky's and 68 degrees. We had 1300 parents, grand parents and children of all ages come out and enjoy the unique outdoor event with all the activities that the vendors had to offer.  There were lots of smiling faces and bags full of goodies.

In addition to a Big Thank You to all the vendors,  we would like to send out a big thank you to all of the volunteers who came out to help at the registration table, shooting trailer, door prize table, and chukar hunt. Various
chapters (Ingham, Clinton, Washtenaw, Jackson, Berry, Saginaw, Macomb, and Shiawassee) contributed monetary donations, chukars for the hunt OR their time and talents to benefit the event.  
State Council also made donations to cover the expenses of the event. For those who helped with the planning of the Jamboree and distribution of the fliers, please accept our gratitude as you helped plan this great event offered FREE to the public.
The date for next year's Jamboree has been set for Sunday, September 11th. Check out some of the photos posted on our Facebook page!
Bill Fischer  *  Pheasants Forever  *  Jambo Coordinator
Completion of THREE DNR Habitat Grant Projects  All work was completed on three projects with grants awarded to Pheasants Forever by DNR this past year. They included: Verona SGA – 236 acres of land cleared of brush and trees for future planting of grasslands; Maple River – 59 acres of land cleared of brush and trees for future planting of grasslands and a food plot; Lake Hudson SRA – 194 acres planted to grasslands and additional grassland improvements through 275 acres of mowing and 170 acres of selective herbicide spraying.  Chapters providing matching funds for these grants included St. Clair, Macomb, Clinton, Ingham, Monroe, Lenawee and Jackson Chapters.  Thanks goes especially to the MDNR Parks and Recreation Division for doing planting and herbicide spraying that grant funds ended up not covering.  We’re excited to see what these public properties look like in a couple years.
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Awards of SIX new DNR Habitat Grants  We learned this week that Pheasants Forever will receive about $230,000 in wildlife habitat grants from DNR for projects at Lake Hudson SRA, Coldwater State Park, Maple River SGA, Verona SGA and Sharonville SGA.  Congratulations goes to the chapters who put up matching funds for these grants including Monroe, Lenawee, Branch, Washtenaw, Jackson, Ingham, Clinton, Macomb, St. Clair, and Thumb Chapters.  I’ve also heard that the Lapeer/Genesee grant application written by the local conservation district was funded.  A grant was also awarded to the Gratiot Conservation District for a project on the Gratiot-Saginaw SGA with matching funds provided by the Gratiot Chapter.  All these projects will improve pheasant habitat on publicly accessible land.  These grants result in $10 spent on habitat projects for every $1 invested by chapters.    

Chapter Habitat Report  With Habitat Accomplishment Reports in for most chapters, we have the following totals for this past year:
·         Food plots – 11,874 acres
·         Nest cover planted – 2,482 acres
·         Nest cover improved – 2,705 acres
·         Wetlands restored – 74 acres
·         Shrubs and trees planted – 57 acres

Thanks for all your great work on habitat.  There is no one like you in the wildlife conservation world.  You are THE HABITAT ORGANIZATION!!!
Signing up for sponsored Ringneck Memberships
  We were able to sign up 125 new youth Ringneck members at the Jamboree, thanks to the generous donations of funds from the State Council and Lenawee, Branch, Jackson, Ingham, Macomb, St. Clair, Washtenaw, and Hillsdale Chapters.  The families of these youth will now get the PF magazine for kids and all will see our mission related messages four times per year. Their names and addresses will also be in our chapter databases for invitations to future events.
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MPR Coalition Meeting Highlights  Bill chaired the MPRI Steering Committee for the first time on August 20.  The coalition hadn’t met for 2 years.  But, the member agencies and organizations sure were busy doing habitat work over that time.  We will be putting together a mid-term report on contributions toward the goals of the MPRI 10-Year Pheasant Plan that should be available at our January State Convention.  I think you will be impressed.  During the first 5 years of the plan, Pheasants Forever chapters did more than 75,000 acres of habitat work in southern Michigan.  DNR purchased 15 parcels of land in MPRI Counties that will contribute 917 acres of habitat.  DNR established a new landowner incentive area in the St. Joseph Watershed where landowners get a signing bonus for getting into CRP.  The US Fish and Wildlife Service provide 2,860 acres of wetland and grassland habitat through their Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program with private landowners.  And, that’s just a few of the many accomplishments you will hear about in the progress report!
How to Get More People to Your Banquet  Bill solicited ideas from chapters and PF colleagues in other states.  There are lots of great ideas that chapters can use.  Check out the ideas at this link.
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How to Get More Volunteer Chapter Leaders The Tennessee Regional Rep for PF shared a powerpoint of a talk he gave at last year’s state convention.  It was previously sent to all chapter leaders that are on Bill’s email distribution list. There is a Powerpoint document that you can download on our Michigan PF website.   Note that you can view it one “slide” at a time on your computer screen and do not have to have projection equipment.
Youth Coordinator Positions  When Mary Brunken left the Youth Coordinator position on July 1, we began to look into the possibility of funding a full time position with benefits rather than the 29 hours per week without benefits position that we have had.  We had hoped to attract a broader pool of candidates with significant experience.  In the end, we could not come up with a way to provide funding for a full time position.  We then looked into pooling resources with National Wild Turkey  Federation as well as DNR for a full time position, similar to what is being done in Iowa.  It looked like this option was going to result in less PF chapter services, with more focus on events for recruitment, retention and reactivation of hunters.  We ended up with the best situation possible.  We will soon be recruiting for a part-time position that is 29 hours per week to serve chapters and will contribute $5000 annually toward a joint position with NWTF and DNR.  DNR will make significant contributions each year to both positions. Both will work together, and we look forward to seeing our youth program grow in Michigan as a result.
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Camo at the Capitol Pheasants Forever joined other conservation organizations at a September 9 rally at the capitol building in Lansing.  We were able to talk with local legislators, attend hearings on bills, and hear speakers from DNR, MUCC and the Legislature.  The State Council was a Gold Sponsor ($500) of this event that was coordinated by MUCC.  We are hoping to increase our visibility and influence in the legislature.
Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Advisory Council  On September 10, Pheasants Forever was approved as a new member of this Advisory Council. It is led by the MUCC director Dan Eichinger, and it serves to provide a unified and informed voice on conservation, hunting, trapping, and fishing issues.  The Advisory Council provides input to the Legislative Sportsman’s Caucus.  Michigan has one of the more active sportsman’s caucuses, and it will be good for PF to have a seat at the table.  The State Council of PF will pay the annual dues of $750.
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District Meetings a Success  There were 90 leaders from 29 chapters who attended the six district meetings held across Southern Michigan in August and September.  A big thanks goes to the chapters who hosted the meetings and provided food and beverages including Calhoun, Washtenaw, Ingham, Isabella, Grand Valley and Saginaw Chapters.  Those in attendance were able to hear about PF resources and programs, fund-raising ideas, and MPRI progress.  They were also able to view the banquet package and a wide assortment of Encore Items selected by the Grand Valley and Barry Chapters.  Chapter leaders shared some of the strategies they used to raise funds at their banquets.  These meetings are one of only two opportunities to get together with other chapter leaders during the year.
2016 Michigan PF State Convention  Save the date!  Our next State Convention will be January 16 at the Eagle Eye in Lansing.  The more than 120 people who attended last year from more than 20 chapters enjoyed the day and took something back with them to use for their youth, habitat, and fund-raising programs.  We expect the next state convention to be just as valuable and useful.  If you wish to come the night before, we have a block of rooms at the Holiday Inn just down the road and we will have refreshments at their conference room the evening before the convention.  Be watching for a program and reservation details later this fall.  We are hoping that each chapter will sponsor at least three of their leaders or members attending the meeting and awards banquet.
Another great convention is being planned for leaders in your chapter
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Enbridge Pipeline Habitat Deal  We are close to signing a deal with DNR to oversee $1 million in funding from the Enbridge Pipeline company to do habitat work on several state game areas across the pheasant range.
Legislative Action Fund (LAF)  Is LAF in Your Chapter budget? Please make it so!  We are hoping that every Michigan Chapter will contribute to the Legislative Action Fund.  Those who do will receive one or more incentive guns, depending on the level of contribution.  There is nothing a chapter can do that has more influence on pheasants and pheasant hunting than this fund that is used to influence laws, financial appropriations, and policies at the National level.  If every chapter in the country would contribute, we would collectively have a huge voice.  The federal farm programs are a prime example that would not have near the benefit they do today if not for Pheasants Forever’s influence at the national level.  And, you get a gun to help you earn much of your contribution back.  What a deal?!  Talk to Bill about this opportunity if you have questions.
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2015-2016 Chapter Challenge  The Chapter Challenge for 2015 is behind us, but the 2016 version of the Chapter Challenge Checklist has just been released.  View and download here.
Thanks goes to all the chapters who considered the ideas in the 2014-15 Chapter Challenge Checklist and to those who turned in a completed checklist for what your chapter did last fiscal year. 

Those who turned in their checklist are in a drawing for a Beretta A400 Xplor shotgun.  Thanks goes to the Allegan Chapter for allowing us to use the incentive gun that came from their LAF contribution.  We hope the checklist ideas provide ways for your chapter to be sustainable, healthy, fun, and influential at local, state and national levels.  Follow the above link to the Michigan Pheasants Forever website to view and downloan the 2015-16 Chapter Challenge Checklist!
Youth Membership Challenge  Chapters who sign up 50 youth PF members between July 2015 and June 2016 and submit the memberships through Online Membership Reporting will be in a drawing for a Legacy Sports Pointer O/U 20 gauge shotgun (See below).  Let’s get more kids and families connected to the outdoors and our mission messages through the Ringneck magazine.  By putting them in OMR, they are on your chapter’s list for future communications about your chapter events and banquets.  Remember to get e-mail addresses wherever possible.
Legacy Sports Pointer O/U 20 gauge shotgun  
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Charter Renewals  Bill has begun to meet with chapters to renew their partnership vows with the national organization of PF.  If you were at the last state convention, you saw a video that showed the PF National Board Chair and CEO talking about “recommitting to forever”.   Bill and Howard Vincent will sign the agreement for the PF national organization, and the president and treasurer of each chapter will sign the new charter and policies supplement after reviewing and discussing them with Bill.  These meetings give us all a chance to recommit and to understand our partnership that makes PF work with its very unique model of allowing chapters to retain control of all funds raised through banquets, raffles, and other methods.  Be sure to schedule a charter renewal meeting with Bill during the year ahead.
Chapters Needing Help  A few chapters that did not hold banquets this past year who could really use some help include Allegan, Lake Michigan (South Haven/Van Buren County), Northeast (West Branch), and Muskegon.  If you or someone you know could help out in these counties, let Bill know at 616-450-2385 or   Chapters that folded where we are also looking for volunteers to restart the chapters include Ionia and Newaygo.
Congrats to Hillsdale and Cass Chapters  Congratulations to these two chapters for holding successful banquets in September after not being able to hold a banquet last year.  These chapter committees are small, but they really put out.  If you are interested in helping these chapters, please contact Bill.
Oakland Chapter Restart  We are happy to report that the Oakland Chapter restarted officially on September 28.  People volunteered for the full suite of officer positions. We are excited to see this chapter running again and look forward to the good projects and events they will do in and around Oakland County.
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Chapter Stories - Four Stories  Let's hear from chapters: About their stories, about some of their events and who they have partnered with in these events.  They share so you can use some of their ideas or build on an idea.  Way to go Michigan chapters!
ISABELLA COUNTY - Story one of four  The Isabella County Pheasants Forever Chapter #205 had a successful seed day held in the April 2015. They also hosted a Pheasants Forever District meeting in September for the northern counties.
This Chapter also participated in the local “Sportsman’s for Youth Day” in September 2015. This event was partnered with 4-H and numerous other outdoor organizations. (See following photos)
Their 24th annual banquet is scheduled for October 17th.
CLINTON COUNTY - Story two of four  On April 18th, 2015 we held our annual seed day handout at Clinton County Fairgrounds. We have partnered with Clinton Conservation District on the same day for their tree handout. This is one example our chapter looks forward to for a number of years. The partnership we have created with John Switzer and Monique Ferris carry over into our Chuck Gorman Youth Day each August as well. This years event was held at Fowler Conservation Club on August 29th, 2015. Nonetheless, I wanted to share a photo (below) of our committee member Phil Flegel with two kids that attended our seed handout, Oakley and Truman Davis. Phil is an 80 year old member of Clinton County PF that helped with our seed handout but more importantly shared his knowledge and experience with the future of Pheasants Forever. Thanks Phil!
BARRY COUNTY - Story three of four  At Barry County, we have joined with many other Outdoor Organizations to hold a joint Outdoor Recreational Youth Day. This was held on September 12 at Charlton Park. We had just under 500 kids participate. There were booths and hands-on activities for dog handling, trapping, shooting .22s, shotguns and b-b guns, mountain biking, forest animal workshops, forestry, DNR wildlife and fire divisions, fly fishing, archery, hunter safety, scouting, fishing and even a bounce house. Barry County P.F. sponsored the skeet shoot and b-b gun activities there. Photos below.
GENESEE COUNTY - Story four of four  On September 27, 2015, the Genesee County Chapter of Pheasants Forever held it’s 5th annual Youth Sporting Clays Shoot at the Grand Blanc Huntsman’s Club in Grand Blanc Michigan. The13 station sporting clays shoot drew 65 area youth, with 12 girls and 53 boys participating in the event. Young shooters of all skill levels and ages from 7 yrs. to 18 yrs. enjoyed the event. The Genesee County Chapter provided the ammo, targets, lunch, awards, door prizes and a PF Membership to the young shooters. The Grand Blanc Huntsman’s Club provided the use of their facilities and sporting clays course for the event.
If you have a story to share, send the information and photos to Bill Vander Zouwen and we will include in a future newsletter.
Copyright © 2015 Michigan Pheasants Forever, All rights reserved.

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