The Last 50 Years and Counting
The Muffled Beat Becomes a Full Force Drumming...
The Ruffed Grouse Society’s roots are in the mountains. The organization, founded in the small Virginia town of Monterey, in the mountainous country near the West Virginia border, was granted a Virginia charter dated October 24, 1961 as The Ruffed Grouse Society of America.
And so the Society’s evolution began, an evolution that continues today as the Society adapts to meet its various challenges. New leadership is taking the Society ahead with new plans, new initiatives.
What the Society might accomplish in the future, however, will owe much to past investments and achievements, especially those of the last 30 years, a quarter of a century plus of building on the principles of sound science and commonsense forest management.
The Society has experienced two truly seminal years, the first 1961, the year of its inception, and the second 1977. In that first year, Bruce R. Richardson, Jr.; Seybert Beverage, an attorney; and Dixie L. Shumate set out to create an organization to help find out what was ailing ruffed grouse populations, which they saw in general decline. Richardson was the first president and last of the trio to die, passing away in April of 1994. “Judge “ Beverage, who was confined to a wheelchair, was secretary and editor of the Society’s small newsletter. Shumate was treasurer.
Ed Yates, left, banquet chairman of the Middle Tennessee RGS Chapter,
presents a photo of the house that held the first office of the Ruffed Grouse Society
to Dave Sandstrom, treasurer of the RGS National Board of Directors.
Dr. John Beverage of Nashville, Tennessee gave the photo to Yates.
Dr. Beverage is the brother of the late Seybert Beverage, one of the founders of the Ruffed Grouse Society.
The Beverage home, on Spruce Street in Monterey, Virginia, was where
wheelchair-bound Seybert Beverage conducted his law practice.
As an attorney, he played a key role in the inception of the organization
and later was editor of the Society’s first newsletter, which he put together in his home office.
Sixteen years later, in 1977, the organization found itself at a crossroads. The Society’s leaders, dissatisfied with the pace of progress up until then decided to dramatically revamp the organization. What followed was a revitalization, and over the next 30 plus years RGS laid out a comprehensive campaign to bring the cause of forest wildlife to the forefront of the conservation movement.
It was in 1977 when The Ruffed Grouse Society of North America, as it was called since mid-1971, shortened its name to The Ruffed Grouse Society and got its second wind. Following the reorganization, from 1978 through 1981 the annual growth rate of the Society approached 64 percent. Within that time period, income totaled approximately $720,000, nearly twice the income raised in RGS’ first 17 years.
Use the following links to read about the history of RGS through the decades.
More than 30 years after the 1977 restructuring that ushered in a new era, RGS fills a unique niche in the conservation world. No other organization dedicates itself to the improvement of forest wildlife habitat, and does so by actively seeking partnerships with those who have primary responsibility for the forests. At the core of the Society’s philosophy is that forests can be managed by science-based methods that benefit both the forests and the wildlife species that live within them.
Passing the half-century mark in 2011, and with the last 30 plus years a time of the Ruffed Grouse Society’s growing in complexity to meet the mounting challenges of forest wildlife habitat conservation, there have been remarkable changes. But what hasn’t changed is the attitude that started the whole thing.
“For all of us, it was a labor of love,” said Bruce Richardson, RGS’ first president, many years ago.
It remains so today.
Rev. February 20, 2012