Imagine if you were trying to keep your family safe and warm, but there were no houses, no apartments and no condos available. Without a place to go for rest and protection, survival would be very difficult.
That is essentially the quandary a lot of our wildlife face. They have the instincts and the drive to continue their existence, but they don't always have the habitat they need to persevere.
Wildlife are threatened by a wide range of forces - poaching, disease, predators, prolonged cold spells, ice storms - but loss of habitat is the No. 1 peril out there. Our wildlife are resilient and incredibly resourceful, but with no home, they have no chance.
This is the point where human intervention can be a good thing. It can preserve and protect a species, or help another one get re-established in its original domain. If we are going to live here in close proximity to each other, it only makes sense that we help out our wildlife when it is appropriate.
For two decades, Pheasants Forever has set the standard locally when it comes to establishing, enhancing and improving habitat for wildlife. Maybe its members didn't invent the movement, but they certainly could produce a pretty good handbook of guidelines.
This is not a hunting club or organization, it never has been and it never will be. You've heard of Habitat for Humanity; well, this group is about habitat for everything else.
Pheasants make up part of the name, but when these dedicated folks save fence rows, build windbreaks, construct brush piles, and help landowners use pastures and fields to create great cover, they are helping all wildlife across the board.
Those areas of ideal habitat can potentially hold pheasant populations, but in the meantime they offer comfy housing to countless songbirds, small mammals and an assortment of other critters. Everything living in the area benefits.
That has made the work done locally by the Seneca County Chapter of Pheasants Forever so important. The days where we could sit back and wait for the federal government to handle projects like these are long gone.
It has been noted before that the Seneca County Pheasants Forever group is one of the strongest grass-roots outfits in the country. The members take one day off per year, hang up the overalls and slip off the boots, and stage a banquet to celebrate their accomplishments and recharge for the ambitious projects that lie ahead.
That event is the best time of the year to find out what this group and its relentless commitment to habitat work is all about. Their labors in matters of conservation, education, land management and habitat creation and protection are showcased for all to see.
If it is time for you to take an active role in protecting the planet, the place to start is here in our backyard and the moment to start is now. Seneca County Pheasants Forever will get together March 26 at the Meadowbrook Park ballroom in Bascom. The doors are to open at 5 p.m., with grace to be offered at 5:30 and dinner served until 7 p.m. Ticket information is available by calling (419) 937-0722 or (419) 937-2264.
There are door prizes, auctions and raffles, but the real attraction has to be the people. The core group of Pheasants Forever is one of the most dedicated you will find. Its actions always have screamed much louder than its words, and it carries a contagious enthusiasm for doing the right thing in the outdoors.
There are Pheasants Forever chapters in Hancock County and Wood County, which is a joint venture with Lucas County. The people behind those groups have the same commitment to their work.
Besides their great efforts in establishing and protecting habitat, the people in these local groups go to bed each night knowing they have had an impact. When they walk along a wind break or a brush pile and see the wildlife tracks in the snow, that's all the thanks they need.
Matt Markey is the A-T outdoors columnist.
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