In an effort to remember the legacy of wildlife artist James Meger, the Lyon County Pheasants Forever, East Medicine Pheasants Forever and Yellow Medicine Pheasants Forever chapters are undertaking a substantial fundraising effort to create a WMA in his memory. As you may be aware, James passed away in 2011 after a battle with cancer. As a native of Lyon County, James’ death impacted many people not only within our chapters of Pheasants Forever and our local communities, but also across the country. This loss was felt by the national conservation community due to the fact that James managed to improve habitat across our region – and the entire country – with a simple brushstroke.
James spent most of his life capturing the beauty of nature through hundreds of wildlife paintings. He is one of only a handful of artists to be awarded the Minnesota DNR Waterfowl Stamp and Pheasant Habitat Stamp in his career. To his credit, James’ works have served as the Pheasants Forever Print of the Year an unprecedented six times. It is likely that conservation or sportsmen’s groups in your area have benefitted from James’ works by auctioning or raffling his many impressive prints. Our chapters haveprominently awarded his artwork at our annual banquets. Through his paintings, James has helped raise millions of dollars for habitat projects, even after his death.
Please help us honor James’ life and all he did for conservation by contributing to the James Meger Memorial WMA Fund, which will establish a WMA in his memory. You can support our project by completing this donation form and returning it via mail with your payment.
About James Meger
James was a graduate of St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., earning a bachelor of fine arts degree and the University of Minnesota where he earned a master’s in art education. For nine years, he taught art before quitting to paint full time.
“I told him, ‘We don’t have any kids yet, so if you want to quit teaching, go ahead,'” his wife, Laurene, said, “just a few months later, in 1980, he won the Minnesota state duck stamp contest.”
Born in Lyon County, Minn., James relayed through many of his paintings a love of, and fascination with, rural Americana, especially the farmsteads and wildlife — pheasants in particular — that dotted the landscape. An excellent wingshot, James was an avid hunter whose time afield inspired his art. When he won the state duck stamp, wildlife art was big business, with established and even new painters often selling hundreds of limited-edition prints. James was prolific in his artwork, and dozens of his prints are available to the public, capturing moments afield and preserving the memories of the area where he grew up.
“He painted six of our ‘Prints of the Year,’ more than any other artist,” said Bob St. Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s marketing vice president, “and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for habitat.”
James taught art from 1973-1979. During this time he consulted with his mentor, artist Les Kouba. From the time of this tutelage under Kouba, James has been known as the artist who paints “More than Meets the Eye” by hiding a number of other species in his artwork.
About the Meger Memorial WMA
Through Minnesota’s Legacy Amendment, which provides funding for projects fostering clean water, lands and air, Lyon County Pheasants Forever and Minnesota Pheasants Forever have closed on two tracts of land approximately 10 miles from Minneota, Minn., James Meger’s hometown.
Your contribution will go toward restoring and enhancing the WMA which will benefit upland game, waterfowl, deer, small game and watchable wildlife and will protect a natural creek from runoff and siltation through the establishment of grasslands which will buffer the flow from sedimentation and improve water quality downstream.
Throughout 2016, a number of projects on the WMA will be carried out to benefit local wildlife. Conversion of marginal acres on the property to grasslands will provide not only nesting cover for upland game, but also a wide variety of native flower species to sustain local populations of pollinators such as honeybees and monarch butterflies. The existing tree cover will be improved to benefit local deer and turkey populations and to provide winter cover for a variety of songbirds and other wildlife species.
It is anticipated that the parcel will be open to public hunting and dedicated to James’ memory in the fall of 2017, when the habitat work has been completed and the expansive restored and improved areas on the WMA have become established.
Your donation will help make the James Meger Memorial WMA a place which will honor his legacy, be a home to the wildlife he celebrated, and create a public hunting area which will inspire generations to come with the same sights and experiences that fueled James’ passion for the outdoors and his artistic accomplishments.
Please contact us with questions or for more information on this great effort to remember James Meger and all he did for conservation.