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‘What in the Heck are you doing?’

By John J. Morgan

shrugging-manThe title of this blog has multiple interpretations; either of them could be considered quite accurate!  A couple weeks back, we had one of our Bobwhite Battalion members (our Facebook community) ask us what Kentucky was doing for bobwhite.

At first, I was a little discouraged to be quite honest.  We’ve been bustin’ our tails for the last 3-4 years developing and implementing our restoration plan.  We’ve had a big success story in Shaker Village, initiated a huge research project on Peabody WMA, made an unprecedented impact in our CREP Farm Bill focus area, and have several other big projects underway.  So, my first impression was “no one is paying any attention to what we’re doing!”

It didn’t take long for me to come to my senses.  Fish and wildlife agencies are notorious for not telling their story or celebrating their successes.  So, we started to think how was this fella supposed to KNOW what we’re doing.  And believe it or not, it’s just not that easy to find!  We are often so busy implementing new projects and checking back on old projects that we don’t have time to report or tell our story.

The other side of “what in the heck are you doing?” is what we have been trying to do to rectify this problem.  Many of our peers are probably thinking that we have fallen off our rockers!  We are wildlife biologists spending too much time Facebooking and blogging……maybe they’re right?  But, one thing is for certain, the things we’ve tried for the last 50 years to restore bobwhite sure haven’t worked!  We’re going to chart a different course and see what happens.  We are going to try to tell the story and get people involved.

One of our primary slogans is “bobwhite restoration is about habitat maintained by people.”  People will be one, if not the primary, key to success.  We plan to engage and invite people to get involved.  We are going to challenge ourselves to be inclusive and not exclusive.  We are going to do everything possible to keep our progress, failures, and most importantly, our STORY front and center.

If you were leading a state-wide bobwhite restoration project, then how would you tell the story??  It’s obvious that we still aren’t getting the job done, but we aren’t afraid to chart a new course!