Quail Forever is a local Carrollton establishment that aids in conservation and land management around Carroll County and the surrounding area. Quail Forever is a branch from their parent organization Pheasant Forever, the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Both organizations work to conserve the uplands and grasslands, specifically working with private landowners to conserve wildlife in their backyards.
“Quail Forever’s mission is to conserve quail, pheasants and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public access, education and conservation,” says Miranda Gulsby, Quail Forever’s senior farm bill wildlife biologist.
West Georgia resides in the up-land south, including the Appalachian Mountains and Chattahoochee River where a wealth of wildlife flourish. “Up-land” refers to the habitat’s higher elevation where its colder, rockier and faster freshwater waterways; over the decades, Georgia has greatly lost grasslands and open woodland habitats. Quail Forever works with other nonprofits, federal and state partners, stakeholders in local communities and they especially work with private landowners to conserve vital wildlife and work against invasive species.
According to Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources (GADNR), 93% of Georgia’s landscape is privately owned. Under Georgia’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the organization is able to provide funds for private landowners who have wildlife species such as gopher tortoises, hellbenders and bobwhite quail living in their land because these species and many others are endangered or protected. Quail Forever aims to work with landowners for the benefit of both the landowners and conservation.
“Land management is not a one-size-fits-all; it greatly depends on the current status of the habitats on private properties,” says Gulsby. “That is why we build relationships with private landowners and meet them in person on their property to provide wildlife habitat recommendations that are to tailor their property.”
Quail Forever and Pheasant Forever involve biologists across the country and together, they work to improve habitats, ecoregions and land uses.
“One of the biggest limitations for landowners is the knowledge of what programs and recourse are available for their property,” says Gulsby. “Our biologists provide their expertise of programs and wildlife habitat management to landowners and help land managers design and complete quality habitat projects from start to finish.”
In partnership with NRCS, GADNR and Georgia Forestry Commission, Quail Forever is also able to assist landowners navigate habitat management on their property and cost-share programs from federal and state conservation.
“A goal of Quail Forever is educating and engaging our communities through outdoor recreation, habitat conservation and shooting sports and hunting,” says Gulsby.
Education remains a crucial tool in conserving wildlife in West Georgia’s community. Additionally, educating landowners and biology students about organization opportunities offered by Quail Forever and other organizations. While Quail Forever focuses on birds and private land, they still work to connect with the broad wildlife conservation community.
“Our staff in Georgia have wide ranging background and interests in the wildlife field and personally one of my passions is for the conservation of our reptiles and amphibians in Georgia,”
Quail Forever recently partnered with Bear Creek Nature Center for their Reptile Rally event on Nov. 13 along with Georgia Reptile Society, Georgia Herpetologist Association and Rescue, GADNR and Southern Conservation Trust.
One of their future projects involves working with a local Wildlife Management Area to remove invasive plant species including the kudzu and return the habitat to native species.
More information on Quail Forever can be found at their website quailforever.org and their parent website pheasantforever.org. Additionally, more information on Georgia’s Private Land Program (PLP) can be found here: https://georgiawildlife.com/privatelandsprogram.