HOWARD — The Knox County Pheasants Forever Chapter #616 held its annual banquet on Saturday night at the Apple Valley Floral Valley Community Center. The evening kicked off a series of events for the organization that will occur throughout 2019 and it featured auctions, prizes, games, raffles and a dinner.
The goal of the Pheasants Forever organization is to increase wildlife in Knox County by enhancing the habitat and to help teach local youth about the benefits of conservation through various hunting and educational activities. The group does this through cooperative efforts from various county and state agencies as well as the group’s many volunteers, members and committee members.
“In 2008, our office was doing studies where 11 years ago, our youngsters were spending six to six and a half hours a day with an electronic gadget. We’re not saying that’s bad, we know technology is here but it would continue to climb,” said Althea Dye, the chapter’s secretary. “Now, 10-11 years later, those kids are spending 10 1/2 to 11 hours a day with a gadget. But we want kids to remember that there’s a whole world outside. What can we offer you?”
The banquet was the first event for the organization of the calendar year and, like several of the upcoming events, it was open to the public.
“Anyone can come to this.” said Pheasants Forever Chapter #616 President Kyle Buskirk. “The banquet is our annual fundraiser which allows us to all of our activities throughout the year. It’s all about raising money for the kids.”
Pheasants Forever has many activities during the year, and the next event is Youth Day, April 13 at Campbell’s Range in Howard.
“For many years our chapter wanted to do an all-day youth event,” Dye said. “In 2008, our national office rolled out a program called No Child Left Indoors. We jumped on that program, so in April, it’ll be our 11th year to do our No Child Left Indoors project. It is an all-day, outdoor event. It is completely free.”
Future events include Ladies Night in Danville on May 10, activities at the Knox County Fair in July and First Friday, Sept. 6, among other things.
“Yes, we hunt and yes we fish,” Dye said, about what the organization does. “But in those things, we teach safety, we teach education, we teach land preservation. If you’re outdoors, whatever you’re doing, leave no trace. Leave it like you found it.”
For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page at Knox County Pheasants Forever #616.