Outreach & Communication Coordinator
1316 W 20th Street
Kearney, NE 68845
For Immediate Release
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Announce Nebraska Team Promotions
Kearney, NE – June 11, 2020 – Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever announce the promotion of five Farm Bill Wildlife Biologists across the state. Heather Francis, Mike Winkler, Rob Gray, Jake Koenig and Mike Klosterman have been promoted for their leadership, hard work and dedication to conservation.
Heather Francis started with the organization in January 2013. Based out of Imperial, Francis has a passion for working with private landowners, conducting outreach events to spread the message of habitat and pollinators, and working with area youth programs. Francis will be hosting a Habitat Tour on Wildflowers, Wine & Whiskey, June 24th from 5:00pm to 6:30pm. Register online for her virtual event and experience her knowledge and creativity first-hand.
Rob Gray started his career with the organization in August 2015. Previously located in Wahoo, Gray is now located in Dakota City, Nebraska. He works hard to increase quality habitat in the eastern part of the state to boost pheasant and quail populations. He is also very active in seeking out benefits to pollinators and has a passion for environmental conservation. Rob has impacted 46,811 acres and worked with 1,298 landowners since joining the habitat organization.
Jake Koenig joined the organization in May 2016. Originally located in North Platte, Koenig transitioned to Wahoo in 2018. Koenig has diversified his experience to provide opportunities for pheasant and quail within wetland habitat along with traditional CRP fields. He is an avid hunter mentor utilizing Open Fields and Waters public access sites all over the state. Jake has impacted 22,623 acres and worked with 3,273 landowners in the last 4 years.
Mike Winkler started in August 2016 and is based out of McCook. Winkler hit the ground running and has made a significant impact for pheasants in the Focus on Pheasant area in southwest Nebraska. He continues to set the bar for high quality land enrollment resulting in public hunting access. Recently he was featured for his Pollinator Habitat Development project with Trenton Agri-Products. This ag company will be establishing a 5-acre pollinator plot at the entrance to their facility to increase awareness and encourage local farmers to expand pollinator habitat on private lands. Mike has impacted 19,513 acres and worked with 1,344 landowners since moving from Omaha to McCook.
Francis, Gray, Koenig, and Winkler received promotions from Farm Bill Wildlife Biologists II to III.
Mike Klosterman was promoted to Senior Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist. He began his career with the organization in June 2015 located in Scottsbluff. Klosterman covers the Nebraska panhandle working closely to spread the word of monarchs, especially within classroom settings. Klosterman has been instrumental in working with farmers to convert cropland to high quality habitat mixtures to benefit pheasants, quail and other wildlife. Since 2015, Mike has worked with 1,645 landowners impacting 42,016 acres. Mike will join a team of Senior field biologists to help mentor and lead within their region of the state. Mike will lead the west region.
Congratulations to these outstanding team members.
“As we continue to expand our partnerships and grow our organization, we couldn’t be more happy to have these individuals help lead the charge,” says Kelsi Wehrman, Pheasants Forever State Coordinator. “The addition of a fourth Senior field biologist and the new Farm Bill Biologist III level elevates the productivity of the team as they share their passion and experience with others.”
Farm Bill Wildlife Biologists work in joint capacity with partners to work one-on-one with landowners in Nebraska to help them enroll in conservation programs through federal, state, and local programs. These positions are part of a successful partnership with Pheasants Forever Inc., the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the Natural Resources Conservation Service helping the team impact over 6 million acres since inception.
Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 140,000 members and 760 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent $900 million on 550,000 habitat projects benefiting 19 million acres nationwide.
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs.