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MICHIGAN PHEASANTS FOREVER
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Greetings Chapter Leaders!
Dear Chapters – What a great convention!  Those who attended were entertained, educated and had a great time.  Special thanks to all the chapters who sent representatives to the State Convention, as well as thanks to the State Council team and to Bill Vander Zouwen for planning and implementing the vision.  We had a diversified group of speakers from partnering agencies who gave freely of their time. 

With the support of PF National, we were able to educate attendees to the Vision of the Future by CEO Howard Vincent and introduce R3 (Recruiting, Retaining & Reactivating) via VP of Education and Outreach, Cheryl Riley.  Tim Caughran, East Region PF Manager and Brian Essling, PF Marketing Specialist also brought their expertise.  The attendees were also introduced to the new Michigan Outreach Coordinator, Bill Fischer.

A special thanks to Steve Smith, editor of the Village Press (which publishes the The Pointing Dog and The Retriever Dog Journals) for his informative and light-hearted, whimsical words of wisdom of his adventures in our outdoor world. 

Elections were held and we are honored to have two new members join our Board:  Martin Perez as Vice Chair and Jane Sprague as Secretary.  We look forward to working with you in continuing our mission for habitat. Recognition also goes to Brad Brunken for stepping up and taking on Treasurer position for the remainder of the term. 

And a special thanks to Julie Griswold for your continued service on State Council and as the retiring State Council Secretary.  Your time as Secretary has been much appreciated.

Steve Schneider - State Council President
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NEWS FROM STATE COUNCIL:
Successful State Convention  By all measures, we had a successful Michigan Pheasants Forever State Convention on January 16.  We had fun, great speakers, good food, useful workshops, enjoyable visits with friends, nice prizes and auction items, and a celebration of the many outstanding accomplishments of chapters and volunteers.  We had around 140 people attend including volunteers, PF staff, and partners.  We had representation from 27 chapters.  I want to thank all of you who came and made this a great event…sort of a Pheasants Forever opening day for the 2016 season.  I also want to thank chapters who used their funds to cover registration costs for their representatives and who donated auction items.  I especially want to thank State Council members who contributed a great deal to make the event run smoothly including Bradley Brunken, Steve Schneider, Gretchen Schneider, Bill Fischer, Dan Potter, Julie Griswold, and Bill Brake.  We also appreciate PF leaders Howard Vincent, Cheryl Riley, Brian Essling, and Tim Caughran joining us and giving us valuable information.
State Convention Awards  The list of those who won, or more appropriately “earned” awards at the 2016 Michigan Pheasants Forever State Convention.

National Leadership Award from Howard Vincent:  Ingham County

Long Spur Society:  Bud Schultz-Clinton; Bill Furtaw-St.Clair; Jeff Davis-Ingham; Tom Horney-Monroe; Bill Bradford-Eaton; Jeff Bastin-St.Joseph; Ken Hubbell-Isabella; Dan Kaser-Jackson; Corey Barz-Gladwin; Gene Younglove-Lapeer;  Bill McCormick-Genesee; Mark Griffith-Washtenaw; Bryan Gross-Shiawassee; Tim Hauxwell-Calhoun; John Long-Barry; Eric Hillborg-Branch, Randy Lemke-Hillsdale
 
Framed Achievement Certificates:  
  • Nest Cover Achievement Award (250+ acres): Calhoun, Lenawee, Monroe, Shiawassee, St. Clair
  • Pollinator Habitat Award (20 + acres): Barry, Genesee, Monroe, Thumb; Food Plot Achievement Award: (750+ acres): Bay/Midland, Grand Valley, Lenawee, Mecosta, Thumb
  • Shrubs and Trees Achievement Award (2000+): Bay/Midland, Eaton, Gladwin, Hillsdale, Isabella, Monroe, Shiawassee
  • Total Membership Achievement Award (200+ on OMR): Ingham, St. Clair, Bay/Midland
  • Membership Increase Award (20%+/36-37 highest): Branch, Shiawassee, Washtenaw, St. Clair
  • LAF Support ($5000+): Ingham, Macomb
  • Youth Membership Achievement Award (30+ through OMR): Grand Valley, Gratiot, Lenawee, St. Joseph, Eaton, Genesee, Shiawassee, Gladwin, Branch, Bay/Midland, South Central
  • Conservationists Without Borders Award (contributions in at least 5 categories) – Barry, Clinton, Eaton, Grand Valley, Ingham, Jackson, Macomb, Shiawassee, St. Clair, Thumb, Washtenaw
 
Engraved Wood Plaques: 
  • PF Volunteer of the Year: Gretchen Schneider
  • Habitat Outstanding Achievement Award: Monroe Chapter
  • Education and Outreach Outstanding Achievement Award: Muskegon Chapter
  • Youth Membership Award: Genesee (85)
  • Conservationists Without Borders (6-7 categories of contribution) – Ingham, Macomb, Clinton
  • PF Partner of the Year: Dennis Fox, MDNR Recruitment and Retention Section Chief
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State Convention Drawing Winners  We’re all winners for what was contributed to these statewide and national programs and initiatives, but here’s a list of the lucky chapters that were drawn at the state convention.  
 
Shooting Sports Endowment Fund Contributions for FY16 (18 chapters contributed or pledged to do so):  Legacy Sports Pointer 20 gauge O/U – Clinton Chapter; Henry Golden Boy .22 rifle – Gladwin Chapter; Henry Golden Boy .22 rifle – South Central Chapter
 
Legislative Action Fund Contributions for FY16 (18 chapters contributed or pledged to do so):  Traditions Vortek .50 caliber muzzleloader and scope – Mecosta Chapter
 
Youth Position contributions in May-June 2015 Campaign (16 chapters contributed):  Legacy Sports Pointer 12 ga. O/U – Macomb Chapter
 
District meeting attendance in August 2015 (29 chapters had 90 attend):  VIP $400 merchandise package and table up front with 8 hats and 8 knives – Lapeer Chapter
 
Chapter Challenge Checklists for FY15 (22 chapters turned one in):  Beretta A400 XPlor shotgun – Macomb Chapter
 
Thanks to all of you who contributed! 
Trail Blazer Award for State Rep  I was very surprised when Howard Vincent reached under the stage and pulled out an award plaque at the state convention.   I was even more surprised when it was given to me, especially as I’ve been with PF less than 2 years.   According to the wording on the plaque, the award was given to me because I am one of the leading region reps in the country.   It took me less than 1 minute to realize this award was really about what all our chapter volunteers and partners have done in Michigan.  Chapter habitat work.  Chapter match for many habitat grants.  Chapter youth events and sponsorships.  Chapter ladies events.  Chapter support of the Outreach Coordinator and Landowner Cooperative position.  Chapter contributions to national initiatives such as the Legislative Action Fund and Shooting Sports Endowment Fund.  State Council support of statewide initiatives and development of a strategic plan.  Support of the Lake Hudson Outdoor Youth Jamboree.   Support of Pheasant Fest fund-raising efforts.  Incredible progress in the first 5 years of the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative.   So, really, congratulations goes to all of you.  Well done!  I look forward to what we can accomplish together in the years ahead.  ~Bill Vander Zouwen
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Legislative Action Fund Contributions  One of the best things about Pheasants Forever is that we are not just a group of independent clubs or chapters.  We work together to make more happen than we could alone.  One of the best examples is the Legislative Action Fund that many chapters across the country contribute to.  Our memberships and merchandise purchases do not provide enough funds for our advocacy for laws, appropriations and policies at the national level.  The LAF has allowed PF to make a big difference in Washington, D.C.  The Farm Bill would not be producing so many pheasants without this effort.  Looking at our MPRI Midpoint Accomplishment Report, you can see that 3 of every 4 acres of restored or enhanced in Michigan is a result of these farm bill programs.  If you took out food plots, the proportion would be even higher.  It’s not too late for chapters to contribute.  I want to thank the following 18 chapters for contributing this fiscal year (July to present) or pledging to do so: Allegan, Barry, Bay/Midland, Branch, Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Gladwin, Grand Valley, Ingham, Macomb, Mecosta, Saginaw, South Central, St. Clair, St. Joseph, Thumb, and Washtenaw.
Shooting Sports Endowment Fund Contributions  Pheasants Forever has made youth and novice hunters a priority.  These people will be our future conservationists and advocates and possibly chapter leaders.  Down the road, they will protect what we have worked so hard to conserve and restore.  PF and Midway USA teamed up to establish a Shooting Sports Endowment Fund that will be managed by PF.  This $1.5 million fund will produce interest that will be used for PF shooting sports programs and chapter ammo grants forever.  I want to thank the 18 chapters that had the vision and generosity to share or pledge to share $500 each for building this fund this year.  They are: Eaton, Ingham, Bay/Midland, Washtenaw, Monroe, Thumb, Shiawassee, St. Clair, Branch, Grand Valley, Jackson, Macomb, Saginaw, Clinton, Genesee, Gladwin, Barry, and South Central.  If you would like to contribute, just send a check made out to Pheasants Forever to Bill Vander Zouwen. 
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Sponsoring Pheasant Fest Youth Memberships  The National Office of Pheasants Forever asked chapters to consider supporting youth memberships for Pheasant Fest.  The goal is to have every young person who attends Pheasant Fest to go home with a Ringneck Membership.  Michigan Chapters responded in a big way.  So far, we are sponsoring 161 memberships, with contributions from Macomb, Ingham, State Council, Grand Valley, Shiawassee, Washtenaw and Saginaw.  These chapters supported 10-74 membership each at $10 apiece.  If you too would like to support these youth, let Bill Vander Zouwen know.  These memberships count toward the 50 that  I am hoping each chapter does this year.  All chapters with 50 or more youth memberships from July 2015 to June 2016 will be entered into a drawing for a Legacy Sports Pointer O/U 20 gauge shotgun.

We now have an impressive MPRI Coalition Midpoint Accomplishment Report that details achievements of the first 5 years of the initiative.  Those who attended the State Convention received a copy and heard Upland Game Specialist Al Stewart present an MPRI video and review the accomplishments.  The total acres of habitat restored or enhanced totaled 384,000 acres.  I was very proud to provide the Pheasants Forever achievements for this 5-year period: 75,161 acres including 59,247 acres food plots, 8,553 acres grassland planted, 6,709 acres grassland enhance, 482 acres wetland restored, and 170 acres woody cover planted.  If you would like a copy of this report, let Bill Vander Zouwen know.  You can also see it at www.michiganpheasantsforever.org.
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New PF Outreach Coordinator   
Bill Fischer is your new Michigan Outreach Coordinator. He lives in Frankenmuth with his wife Wendy, daughter Erin, and their chocolate lab Molly.  He enjoys deer hunting in the UP, pheasant, duck and goose hunting on local land in Saginaw county, Walleye fishing on the Saginaw Bay, and snowmobiling on the trails of Wexford county.

Bill states:  "I am here to help the chapters with the planning and reporting of their youth events, mentored hunts, pollinator projects, and scheduling the outreach and shooting trailers.  Some of my other duties will include working with the DNR to organize hunts and pollinator projects on the state game areas that are part of the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative and organize the Great Outdoor Youth Jamboree at Lake Hudson in September."

Bill is excited to be working with all of the chapter volunteers who are committed to making Pheasants Forever the #1 habitat organization in Michigan.  Bill will be calling on chapter volunteers to bring their expertise and resources to make all of our events a success.
New R3 Coordinator  Pheasants Forever has partnered with the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the Glassen Foundation to provide funding and guidance for a shared R3 Coordinator.  R3 stands for Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation of hunters.  Steve Sharp has been hired as a staff person of the NWTF as the R3 Coordinator for the state.  This shared position will develop a strategic plan that identifies current statewide R3 programs, assesses their effectiveness, and works with stakeholders to improve and expand them.  A large majority of these programs have traditionally focused on introductory trial opportunities for young people.  The youth introductions are an important recruitment step, but their ability to retain hunters is limited.  Steve will be working with stakeholders to increase coordinated mentored hunting programs that will provide multiple contact opportunities for people of all ages, genders, and abilities.  Steve will work closely with Michigan PF’s Outreach Coordinator Bill Fischer. 
 
Steve has served as a NWTF Regional Director for 21 years, conducting over 600 fund raising banquets in support of the NWTF Mission and brings more than 40 years of experience in the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor trade industry.  He has also hunted wild turkeys in a total of 21 states and Mexico, achieving a Royal Slam along the way.  Steve loves hunting, fishing, outdoor photography, clay target shooting and camping, but his true passion is passing the hunting tradition on to others in order to Save the Hunt.
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Grass, Wildflower and Food Plot Seed Ordering   The new Michigan PF seed flier is out.  State Convention participants got a copy.  An electronic copy was sent by email to chapter volunteers on Bill Vander Zouwen’s e-mail distribution list.  You can find the flier at www.michiganpheasantsforever.org.  Please get the word out about our quality, economical seed.  Our mixes were approved by the USDA for their farm bill programs.   You can order online at www.pfhabitatstore.com or you can call or email your order.  If you go to this website, click on Michigan to see mixes made for us.  You may also order custom mixes by calling the number provided on the flier.  You can order a nurse crop of rye or oats to come mixed with your seed.  Seed is delivered straight to you or the landowner.  Revenue beyond costs goes first to Michigan PF State Council in the amount of $10,000 and then to other PF projects and programs.
Pheasant Pollinator Projects  Our chapters are always looking for ways to get young people and families to enjoy the outdoors.  Many of us utilize the youth hunt or shooting sports to bring people out.  However, there is another exciting option to consider, the Pollinator Program.

The Pollinator Program’s objectives are to increase awareness about decreasing pollinator populations, educate the general public of the importance of habitat for pollinators and to establish quality pollinator habitat across the country.  

The program will provide tools for chapters to work with local community partners to create habitat projects that involve  youth groups, schools and community groups.  Program support includes training on how to plan and conduct a pollinator project from start to finish.

To learn how to run a project and apply for a grant for up to $1000.00 per project , go to
pfqfhabitated.blogspot.com.   If you  are interested in a project or have questions please call or email Bill Fischer at 989-395-5945 or bfischer @pheasantsforever.org.
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Pheasant Rendezvous  Our Landowner Cooperative Coordinator, Anna Mitterling, is putting on a Pheasant Rendezvous in Lansing on February 6.  This event is modeled after a successful deer rendezvous held last year.  The purpose is to gather Cooperative members for a fun and informative day to help them be successful.  It’s also intended to help anyone who wants to start a cooperative to get one going.  Wildlife Cooperatives are groups of landowners from an area working together to produce a landscape that is suitable for pheasants (and deer) while taking advantage of the full array of financial incentives available from agencies and organizations.  Wouldn’t it be great to have at least one cooperative in each of the counties with Pheasants Forever chapters.  Pheasants Forever volunteers are welcome to attend this meeting.  If you’d like to attend, please contact Anna at amitterling@mucc.org.   Michigan Pheasants Forever, QDMA, MUCC and MDNR provide the funding to make Anna’s position possible as a catalyst for pheasant restoration in Michigan. 
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Habitat Produces Pheasants State Council President Steve Schneider and State Rep Bill Vander Zouwen prove that establishing quality habitat in an open landscape with even a small remnant pheasant population produces results in Michigan.  We look forward to more of these photos from our volunteers and members in the year ahead.  El Nino caused a mild winter and hopefully less rain during the next brood-rearing season should produce a boost in the pheasant population.
Grassland Grant Matched by Michigan PF  At the State Convention, we were able to give our final $5000 check to Russ Mason, DNR Wildlife Division Chief, to complete our $30,000 matching funds commitment for a major grassland restoration grant.  This $865,000 grant came from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the DNR to restore many substantial grasslands for the benefit of the wide variety of wildlife that uses them. Our partnership and matching funds increased the probability that DNR would get the grant.  Our funds were multiplied nearly 30-fold.  Although there is still some money to be used from the grant this coming year, DNR has already worked with partners and landowners to restore or enhance 1,093 acres (12 projects) on public land and 1,773 acres (37 projects) on private land.
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CRP Meetings Held Around State   Our landowner cooperative coordinator Anna Mitterling is working with farm bill biologists and the MPRI coalition to hold CRP meetings around southern Michigan to inform landowners of opportunities to do conservation on their land with substantial financial incentives including substantially higher land rental rates.  The general CRP sign up ends February 26.  Remaining CRP meetings, which start at 6:30 p.m., are: 
 
February 2: Gratiot-Isabella RESD Building, 1131 E Center St, Ithaca
February 4: Alaiedon Township Hall, 2021 Holt Rd, Mason
February 8: Rooster Ranch, 7480 Germania Rd., Ubly
February 5: Cabela’s, 110 Cabela Blvd East, Dundee
February 18: Baltimore Township Hall, 3100 E Dowling Rd, Hastings

For more information, contact Anna Mitterling at amitterling@mucc.org.
More "Press" for Michigan PF   The National Office is interested in giving Michigan Pheasants Forever more coverage in their news releases and magazine.  You may have noticed the season forecast this past year and the news releases on our Wildlife Habitat Grants and our Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative contributions.  Watch for some highlights in the February mailing of the next PF magazine, where there will be coverage and photos about both the Lake Hudson Outdoor Youth Jamboree and the MPRI.  If you signed up for MDNR news releases, you also saw the very nice article by Bob Gwizdz about the MPRI, the Coalition, and Pheasants Forever.  Please work with your local media to build awareness of Pheasants Forever and your chapter.  We saw a great example recently in a local paper article about the Lapeer Chapter that even yielded a number of new volunteers coming to their next chapter meeting.
Pheasant Fest Support   We would like to express our appreciation for Michigan’s support of the fund-raising efforts at Pheasant Fest this year.  This event creates great awareness of PF, is a great deal of fun, and has become important to the Pheasants Forever budget.   The following Chapters:  Ingham, Barry, and Washtenaw, as well as the State Council, pooled resources to purchase a Benelli Super Black Eagle II at a great discount from Gander Mountain.  Rob Sieb of the Monroe Chapter donated a framed turkey hunting print.  Natalia Obreiter of the St. Joseph Chapter donated a beautiful hand-made Amish quilt.  And, the Thumb Chapter donated $100 for purchase of merchandise.  All of these will be used at the Pheasant Fest banquets in Kansas City, Missouri this year.  Check out the Pheasants Forever website to find out more about Pheasant Fest, which is held Feb. 19-21.  There will be many vendors, many breeds of dogs, banquets, and a tribute to Johnny Cash.  I will be there.  Will you?
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Like us on Facebook  Check us out on Facebook at Michigan Pheasants Forever.  Like us so that you can receive the chapter, state and national information that we provide on a regular basis.
Get Your Event Information to Gretchen Schneider and to Pheasants Forever  
Gretchen maintains our Michigan Pheasants Forever webpage at www.michiganpheasantsforever.org.  It has a great deal of useful information.  It also has a listing of Michigan PF chapter events including banquets.  Please help her get the word out about your event by providing your event date, location, start time, contact person name and phone number, website information if you have one.  Send it to keeping.informed.pf@gmail.com.
 
You can also have your event information posted on the Pheasants Forever website.  It’s easy.  Go tohttps://pheasantsforeverevents.org to enter your information or go there through the chapter resource portal.  Your ID is CHXXXX (fill in your chapter number) and your password is the same as for the chapter resource portal.  If you don’t know it or can’t find it, Bill Vander Zouwen can provide it for you.   PF staff will send out email notices about your event to all your members that we have email addresses for.  You can also choose to sell event tickets on the PF events site with notices going to you every time someone buys them and ticket fees going to your CMS account.
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Chapter Stories   Our early April newsletter will once again feature chapter stories and photos.  Please send photos of your events and habitat along with a paragraph that describes them to Bill Vander Zouwen no later than March 20.
If you have a story to share, send the information and photos to Bill Vander Zouwen and we will include in a future newsletter.
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