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Area chapters rake in awards, recognition at annual Pheasants Forever convention

MANKATO -- Pheasants Forever had much to celebrate when it held its Minnesota convention last weekend in Mankato, and that's especially true for some of the area's local chapters and members.

This year's convention featured the presentation of a variety of awards to local chapters and members for accomplishments during the past year.

They include:

n The awarding of the $750,000 Conservation Excellence Awards for dollars spent for habitat to the Kandiyohi County and Swift County chapters of Pheasants Forever.

n The recognition of the Chippewa Count Pheasants Forever chapter as the Minnesota Chapter of the Year. Pheasants Forever wildlife biologist Aaron Kuehl presented the honor to Chippewa County chapter members Tom Brusven, Randy Buseman, and Rick Schwachtgen.

n The presentation of this year's Brood Rooster award to the Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District. The award awards the SWCD for "exceptional accomplishments in enrolling private land into conservation programs that boost pheasant and wildlife populations.''

SWCD staff in Renville County enrolled over 1,072 acres in the conservation reserve program. "There are some real innovators there,'' said Kuehl in a news release. "Couple that with county landowners who recognize that conservation can be the best option, and you have significant benefits to soil, water, wildlife, the economy and quality of life.''

n Long Spur awards to individuals for work on behalf of Pheasants Forever were presented to Todd Iverson, of the Kandiyohi County chapter, and Dan Veto, of the Meeker County chapter.

n The Dedication award for effort on behalf of pheasant habitat was presented to Jeff Miller of the Meeker County chapter and Tom Anderson of the Swift County chapter.

n The organization's Professional of the Year award was presented to Fred Bengtson, wildlife manager of the Department of Natural Resources in Sauk Rapids. Bengtson serves the area including Stearns, Sherburne and Wright counties.

Along with the awards to honor chapters and individuals, the state organization made note of its overall accomplishments for the year.

Minnesota's Pheasant Forever chapters completed 937 habitat projects benefiting 10,178 acres for wildlife.