This episode, Erick and the Uncharted Crew learn about saving and sustaining native wildlife and how different groups of volunteers are working to revitalize Tennessee's quail population.
On a trip to Kyker Bottoms Wildlife Refuge outside Maryville, members of the Smoky Mountain Chapter of Quail Forever teach Erick how the Chapter works closely with Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) to create and sustain appropriate habitat for quail. Quail Forever provides equipment, manpower and resources to assist TWRA in re-establishing native habitats and maintaining them going forward.
Erick visits another TWRA partnership, the Knox County CAC AmeriCorps Conservation Corps, who use volunteer labor to manage and maintain habitat at the refuge on a daily basis. Not only did assisting the AmeriCorps members provide a look at what work is necessary to maintain pristine parks and wildlife populations, but it provided insight into what motivates these inspiring youth to give back.
Erick wraps up the episode by meeting up with master bird-dog trainer Ed Ford at Thunder King Kennels. Ed specializes in training bird dogs and competes nationwide in field trials. In his conversation with Ed, Erick gets a closer look at the finer points of hunting, namely the opportunity it provides to connect with nature, your fellow man, and the hunting dogs involved in the task. There is a beautiful camaraderie between hunter and dog and a relationship Erick got to appreciate firsthand.
Overall, this episode brings attention to the incredible plight facing the Bobwhite Quail, as well as the important history of the sport of quail hunting in the area. Erick learns firsthand that conservation is a job that will never be complete and often involves difficult, but rewarding work.