A New Era for Quail Conservation

By May 11, 2021 Articles, Media

The Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation (RPQRF) is pleased to make two special announcements that will ensure the our quail conservation efforts will continue into the future.

First, RPQRF broke ground on a new headquarters facility at our research ranch near Roby, Texas on May 7. The $2.4 million facility was funded with generous gifts from Park Cities Quail Coalition and private individuals and is expected to be completed in early 2022.

Photo credit: David Sams
RPQRF President Joe Crafton, RPQRF’s incoming Executive Director Brad Kubecka, RPQRF Director Stephen Howard, Park Cities Quail Coalition Executive Director Jay Stine, RPQRF Executive Director Dale Rollins and RPQRF Director Gary Cooney at the groundbreaking ceremony for RPQRF’s new headquarters near Roby, Texas.

In addition to our new headquarters, Brad Kubecka will succeed Dr. Dale Rollins as RPQRF’s Executive Director effective June 1, 2021. Dr. Rollins, who has served as our Executive Director since founding RPQRF and our research ranch in 2006, will remain with RPQRF under a new title of Outreach Director.

“It is an epic day in the 15-year history of RPQRF and we are very grateful to our donors and partners who have helped get us to this day,” said Joe Crafton, President of the RPQRF Board of Directors. “Dr. Rollins is a living legend in the world of quail conservation. He established the organization and his contributions to our body of knowledge are immeasurable. We are thrilled he will remain with us as an ambassador and educator. Through his leadership, we are positioned to start a new chapter with a talented new Executive Director and a much-needed state-of-the-art facility.”

Artist rendering of the new RPQRF headquarters on its research ranch near Roby, Texas.

The new 6,400 sq. ft. Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation headquarters is comprised of three buildings:

The James R. Currie Research Lab will include offices, conference space and a research laboratory, which will allow RPQRF to increase its technical research capacity, analyze tissue samples, perform necropsies and accommodate the various needs of RPQRF’s graduate students and technicians.

The Park Cities Quail Coalition Education Center will provide ample space to host
presentations and seminars for biologists, students, landowners, ranch managers and field day attendees. It will also serve as a classroom for RPQRF’s Veterans Sporting Ranch Training Program, a new four-month series of courses to equip military veterans with the knowledge and skills necessary to earn a living as wildlife habitat and ranch managers (more info coming soon).

The Gordy Family Guest Lodge will contain six bedrooms, three bathrooms, a living area and kitchen to host overnight visitors at the research ranch. Expected guests include biologists from government agencies, ranch managers seeking guidance on habitat management, researchers from other conservation organizations and visitors participating in multi-day events. The lodge will also house military veterans enrolled in the RPQRF’s new Veterans Sporting Ranch Training Program.

“These new facilities will make us more effective in meeting our mission of preserving Texas’ heritage of wild quail hunting for this and future generations,” said Rollins. “We’re thrilled to recruit Brad Kubecka as our new executive director–he’s definitely one of the ‘young guns’ in the quail research community. I’ve known Brad since 2013 when I recruited him as an intern from Tarleton State University, and he’s one of the best graduate students I’ve ever worked with. His command of the scientific literature across a broad array of topics is impressive and he is well-prepared to lead the Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation’s continuing efforts to save wild quail.”

Pictured right are incoming Executive Director Brad Kubecka and Dr. Dale Rollins.  After earning his Bachelor’s in Wildlife Management at Tarleton State University, Kubecka completed his Master of Science in Range and Wildlife Management at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, researching various methods for surveying quail in the Rolling Plains. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Georgia, studying bobwhite brood ecology with Tall Timbers Research Station. Over the past few years, Kubecka has served on the graduate committee for RPQRF’s Erath County bobwhite translocation project and helped establish the Western Pineywoods Quail Program—a new Tall Timbers regional quail program based in east Texas.

“The Director’s role, combined with RPQRF’s state-of-the-art new facilities, offers an exciting opportunity to expand our breadth of research,” said Kubecka. “I’m humbled to follow in Dr. Rollins’ footsteps, yet eager to bring a fresh approach as RPQRF begins a new era of work to help wild quail.”

If you would like to reach out directly to Dr. Rollins or Brad Kubecka, their respective emails are drollins@quailresearch.org and bkubecka@quailresearch.org.

Stay tuned for updates on the construction of RPQRF’s new headquarters in future newsletters.