AUBURN, Ala. – Alabama 4-H members from Elmore County partnered with the Alabama Covey Rise Chapter of Quail Forever recently to release more than 375 young bobwhite quail. Laurie Weldon, an Alabama Extension regional 4-H agent in Elmore and Autauga counties, said that a call of a quail started her involvement in this project.
“It was just a normal day walking around the property of Elmore County Extension with some 4-H students. We heard the calls of a few of the bobwhites in the area and I began to call back,” said Weldon. “Some of the students asked me what I was doing. I replied that I was just talking to the bobwhite quail. When none of my students knew what a bobwhite quail was an idea began to form.”
From there Weldon put the wheels in motion by obtaining a grant from Midsouth RC&D. She then sought more funding opportunities. This would allow her 4-H group to purchase eggs and supplies to hatch, incubate, brood and raise the quail to adulthood for release. Weldon reached out to the Alabama Covey Rise Chapter of Quail Forever to share what the project was doing. She also wanted to see if they had a suitable place to release some of these birds. The chapter decided to make a financial contribution to the project to allow them to purchase eggs and supplies. Weldon said that she hopes great things will come from this project.
“My hope is that 4-H members become future conservationists for the bobwhite quail population. I hope they learn and teach others how to maintain property that attracts quail by managing the habitats with native grasses that support quail,” said Weldon. “4-H members are part of the bigger picture for our future and for the future of wildlife management.”
Weldon went on to say that they are already in the middle of the project again this year. They have secured funding from Quail Forever Covey Rise Chapter for the project next year.
Dr. Molly Gregg, assistant director of Alabama 4-H, said that programs such as the quail release, can teach students to grow into adults that respect nature and the environment.
“4-H programs engaging youth in the beauty and wonders of the natural world build good adult stewards of our environment.
For more information on the quail release program visit Alabama 4-H online or contact your county Extension offi