SCOTT RALL COLUMN: Thirty in thirty is a fabulous score
WORTHINGTON -- There are some folks who can remember a weather event from 30 years ago, or if it snowed last Halloween. I, for one, cannot. If there is not a record kept, I don't do well in total recall of those types of events.
Other things do seem to stay in my memory bank for a long time. I wrote a story a few years back about the Southwest Bow Benders Archery Club. They are one of the largest, most active clubs, not only in Minnesota, but in the Upper Midwest.
How many of you knew Worthington supports this great organization? They operate under the radar, but do all kinds of great work.
There is another organization that operates out of Nobles County that also has a giant footprint most residents never see. That other sleeper organization is Nobles County Pheasants Forever. They have been acquiring and restoring habitat in Nobles County for 30 years. They are celebrating their 30th anniversary tonight at the Long Branch Saloon in Worthington.
So what makes them so special?
The list is a long one and I will cover the top tier of their accomplishments. Thirty in thirty is the greatest effort of the local chapter.
What does thirty in thirty mean? The organization has purchased, restored and enhanced 30 individual land parcels over their 30-year existence. No other chapter in the nation can say that.
There are more than 730 chapters nationwide and Nobles County PF is in the top 1 percent for habitat acres acquired and improved.
After 30 years, this effort has resulted in more than 2,100 acres of habitat acquired, improved and opened to all compatible uses. This includes hunting, but also bird watching, hiking, picnics and other non-motorized uses. There are more wildflowers on these lands than on any other place in the county.
The local chapter is also ranked 20th in the nation for memberships. These membership dollars are used by the parent organization to benefit habitat on a national scale. Encouraging conservation programs in the Federal Farm Bill, youth outreach to connect kids to nature and a whole list of other national programs benefit from Nobles County's membership efforts.
The local chapter ranks 15th in total dollars spent on kids and youth education outreach efforts. It is more important than ever to instill the mindset of conservation in the next generation so there is someone committed to carrying the conservation torch in the decades to come.
This chapter also supports the Prairie Ecology Bus Center, located in Lakefield, which takes thousands of kids into nature every year. Pheasants Forever was also instrumental in getting the funding for the Worthington High School Trap team underway and self-supportive. Add on their decades-long support of the local firearms safety program, and their impact is easier to see and feel.
When you add up these efforts and the many others not listed and then look at the totals, Nobles County Pheasants Forever ranked fifth in the nation in 2012 for total dollars raised and spent on the habitat mission.
The interesting fact missed by all but the most informed reader is that the four chapters ranked higher all received some form of state or federal grant that was used in their county for which they took credit.
Nobles County PF did not receive any of these monies, and if chapters were ranked only by their own efforts, this local chapter would have been ranked No. 1 in the nation for 2012.
Consider this: Nobles County Pheasants Forever was No. 1 in the nation for 2010 and No. 1 in Minnesota in 2011 -- all without the help of outside funds.
This really is a dominant chapter when compared to the other 730 chapters, but most folks never really know just how fortunate they are to have this chapter in their county and the difference it is making.
The banquet is tonight at the Long Branch Saloon and tickets are available at the door. Tickets are $50 for a single and $65 for a couple -- high school seniors and younger are only $15.
There will be many of your friends and neighbors there helping support the important work of Nobles County Pheasants Forever. Come and join them. There is a special prize for the first 400 people through the door. The meal is a half rack of ribs prepared by a state PF sponsor, American Creek Ribs.
The prizes for the night are not just for hunters and there is certainly something for everyone. Bring the kids and join the fun for this special 30th anniversary event. If you need more information call me at 360-6027. I would love to answer any questions you have.
See you tonight -- it will be a night to remember.
Scott Rall is The Daily Globe's outdoor columnist. His column can also be read weekly at www.dglobe.com.