By Anna Smith
It’s been a busy year for the Chinook Chapter of Pheasants Forever, and in preparation for further work to protect local habitat, they’re first heading into the local Cypress Centre in Medicine Hat for their fundraiser banquet.
Over the past year, they’ve been doing their best to continue to enhance habitat, said Chapter president Curtis Ensminger, working to reestablish native grasses and plants in various locations throughout the area.
“We’ve replanted a bunch of grass and that type of thing along the shores of the St. Mary Reservoir, for example, and improved things to try to improve water quality and habitat and the like,” said Ensminger, highlighting another project in the Manyberries area as well as an example of where the money from the yearly fundraiser banquet goes.
“So the banquet is a fundraising event where hopefully around 300 people or so gather, for a really nice dinner that’s put on by Shooting Star Events at the stampede grounds,” said Ensminger. “We have some entertainment, and then the live auction and silent auctions and raffles. The purpose of the event is to raise money for the habitat enhancement that we talked about, as well as education and public awareness campaigns.”
One of their biggest expenses is acquiring land to enhance, which can be a costly endeavour, but the results benefit not just their mascot animal in the pheasant population, but all local wildlife, from insects and pollinators to larger mammals such as deer.
“Organization is nicely underway, and has a little bit of a transition of people that are involved. And we’ve attracted some new people to help us out, which is a really good thing,” said Ensminger.
They are always looking for new people to get involved, of course, and especially are hoping for some members of younger generations to step up, to bring in fresh ideas and perspectives.
“Every new person we attract to organize and be involved with the organization attracts their friends and people that it may interest,” said Ensminger. “It’s surprising that all the people that you’re affiliated with, that are interested in this type of an organization, you wouldn’t necessarily expect.”
The organization obviously attracts hunters, due to their goal of preserving game bird habitat, said Ensminger, but also attracts environmentalist and agricultural workers, who also benefit from the improvement of natural areas.
Individuals interested in purchasing a seat for the March 8 banquet are encouraged to purchase them at the chapter website, at pheasantsforeverchinook.ca.