A bobwhite enthusiast in Texas kicked off fundraising for the new Bobwhite Foundation with a $100,000 endowment — and a promise to match as much as $1 million in donations from other sources during the next two years.
Joe Crafton, founder and chair of Park Cities Quail in Dallas, made the announcement via video to a meeting of the Management Board of the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative at the North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference on Tuesday in Arlington, Va. A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Crafton is CEO and president of CROSSMARK, a leading sales and marketing services company in the consumer goods industry headquartered in Dallas.
Crafton said he had grown up in western Tennessee hunting bobwhite quail on the ancestral farm with his father, who had grown up quail hunting there with his father. His father was devastated at the quail decline, but Crafton said he personally was “thrilled” to see populations of bobwhites when he moved to the Lone Star State, where he proceeded to establish the Park Cities Quail organization. The organization has raised more than $3 million for quail research. Crafton also was instrumental in the founding of the Quail Coalition, linking 12 independent, private quail groups around the state.
Crafton said there are many good things going on for quail in various states, including Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and Kentucky, and he wants to ensure those things are communicated and coordinated as best practices across the range and to the public. Repeating outdoor columnist Tom Davis’ description of the bobwhite situation as “our greatest wildlife tragedy,” Crafton said “there are a lot of people who would like to contribute and don’t know how … my father would have contributed to the Bobwhite Foundation if it had existed … I’m confident throughout the South and Midwest we have lots of passionate quail hunters who are doing their estate planning and can contribute to this cause.”
The Bobwhite Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit established to support the goals and objectives of NBCI, primarily by recreating habitat by “reconnecting” forest management with quail, cattle production with quail, pursing quail habitat possibilities on reclaimed mine lands and communicating to the public the urgent nature of the decline of habitat for quail and other wildlife species around the nation.
Headquartered at the University of Tennessee, NBCI is a project of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee to elevate bobwhite quail recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a range-wide, policy-level leadership endeavor. The committee is composed of representatives of state fish and wildlife agencies, academic research institutions and non-governmental conservation organizations. NBCI is funded by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, 25 state wildlife management agencies, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Southern Company.