Sibley teen appointed to Pheasants Forever national council
SIBLEY, Iowa — Sibley-Ocheyedan High School sophomore Jacob Wietzema is working hard to spread the importance of conservation to his peers and others. Wietzema has been elected to the Pheasants Forever National Youth Leadership Council, which is comprised of youths from around the country to represent their age group and interests in Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever.
“I like that we try to help habitat and the animals that live in the habitat,” Jacob said about why he has participated in the Osceola County Pheasants Forever chapter for the last four or five years. “Not only does it help us, but it helps animals and plants. It’s just really fun to be in, because we do all kinds of fun things that help the habitat and the surrounding wildlife.”
Jacob was nominated to the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) by the Osceola County Pheasants Forever Chapter. He submitted a written application and was selected to move onto the second round of the interview process, which included a phone interview with the Pheasants Forever vice president of Education & Outreach, director of youth programs Russ Wissink and the chairman of the NYLC.
This fall, Osceola County Pheasants Forever will work with area third grade students on a pollinator project — planting flowers for cleaner air and to help the pheasant population in the county.
“We plant flowers for bees and flowers so they will come back,” Jacob explained. “Mainly, the diet of a baby pheasant is bugs.”
He hopes the project will expand into counties around Osceola.
In addition to the group’s project, as a NYLC member, Jacob must come up with his own project to tackle. For his part, Jacob intends to speak with officials at Sibley-Ocheyedan about starting a shooting team.
“Typically today we don’t see kids doing those type of things. And what happens if they don’t? ... We have to have the next generation being in a leadership role, or we lose those types of things,” said Tom Wietzema, Jacob’s father and a Pheasants Forever member.
“Jacob’s work with the Osceola Chapter and performance in the interview led to his selection to the NYLC team earlier this spring. He has since attended the NYLC summer leadership meeting in Fort Ransom, N.D., and became an instant fit into the NYLC. Jacob is exactly the type of young conservation leader we are looking for to represent our organization and his age group,” said Wissink.
Jacob will meet with fellow NYLC members again in February 2015 at Pheasant Fest, which will be in Des Moines, Iowa.