This is my article that I did in The Abilene Reporter News.
Sunday, July 4, 1999
Bobwhite Brigade program a good educational tool
By Jerry O'Bryant
While the west Texas quail population is busy hatching off this seasons crop of young birds, the Bobwhite Brigade did basically the same thing in late June at the Krooked River Ranch northeast of Lueders.The Brigades hatch wasnt quail chicks, but was made up of several coveys of teenaged cadets who were interested in learning more about bobwhite quail, conservation, wildlife management and what goes along the Clear Fork of the Brazos River where it courses through some of the outback portions of Shackelford and Throckmorton counties. The June 20-24 Bobwhite Brigade at Krooked River was the seventh such outing the 1999 Krooked River cadets call themselves the 7th Battalion but the highly successful Bobwhite Brigade program has spread to other sections of Texas. On July 18-22 a south Texas Brigade camp will be held near Campbellton, and during July 25-29 a Brigade camp will be held near Lufkin.Bobwhite Brigade founder, Dr. Dale Rollins with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service (TAEX) in San Angelo, said recently that the Brigade concept has spread to several other states, and that he expects the Brigade concept to enjoy a rapid growth through the next several years.And why not? We mentioned above that Brigade cadets are treated to seminars on bobwhite quail and conservation, but in truth the scope of their classes - both in classroom work and on field trips - ranges from teamwork, television interviews, media skills, journalism and photography to taxidermy, sporting clays shooting, plant recognition and collection, and the dynamics of wild quail production and management.Bobwhite Brigade cadets, during these 5-day camps, are subjected to a trove of information on the outdoors, and how it interacts and impacts everyday life and recreation.The instructors at Bobwhite Brigade camps are many and range from TAEX biologists, professional writers and photojournalists, professional taxidermists, Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists, successful businesspersons and media representatives.How are the cadets introduced to such a wide range of subjects in just five days?We stayed pretty busy, said 17-year-old Lee Wilson this past week at the Krooked River Ranch. Lee, who completed the June Bobwhite Brigade curriculum along with 34 male and female cadets, will be a junior at Paint Creek School this fall and he is already looking forward to winning his way into the 2000 Bobwhite Brigade as an assistant instructor.Lee was sponsored at the Brigade by the Rule Lions Club and he intends to earn points in the assistant-instructor program by conducting seminars and educational programs at Lions Clubs meetings and other such organizations across the region during the coming months.The six highest scoring cadets in the assistant-instructor program, from the 1999 camp, will be invited back to next years Brigade Wildlife Camp outing.Program chairpersons from service organizations in the Big Country area need to keep Lee Wilson in mind as an interesting speaker for upcoming meetings.Lee knows more about wild quail than most people - and he’ll be glad to share that information with you and your club members. Contact Lee at 915-773-2457. For more information on the Bobwhite Brigade in Texas — a program that involves youngsters 15 to 17 years — check out the Brigade webpage at www.texasbrigades.org or telephone Dr. Dale Rollins at 915-653-4576.