Laura McIver learned to love the outdoors at an early age.
Her father worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the job often required the family to relocate across the country. Growing up, McIver lived in 10 different states and saw a lot of the outdoors.
“We camped all over the United States,” said McIver, 54, who joked that her mother made sure the family visited every historical marker within 100 miles. “All the places that we went, I developed a love of the outdoors. Not just hunting, but fishing, hiking, camping.”
She took the hunter safety course at age 12 and still has the patch she earned from it. She received a 30-30 lever-action rifle for her birthday that year and shot her first deer with it the same year in Montana.
At an early age, she also learned the importance of helping others. Her father was a member of the Masons and active in community service and charities.
It is no surprise then that the Oklahoma City resident has combined the two things that were impressed upon her the most as a child into her current role.
As president of the Central Oklahoma 89ers Chapter of Quail Forever, McIver has worked hard to try and restore the bobwhite quail population in the state, which is at a historic low.
For her service, McIver has been named one of six national finalists for Field & Stream magazine's 2013 “Hero of Conservation” award. She is the first Oklahoman and only the second woman to be named a finalist in the eight years the awards have existed.
“I was flabbergasted,” McIver said of the nomination. “I was absolutely stunned.”
McIver helped form the Central Oklahoma 89ers Chapter in 2005 and has been president since 2009. She was nominated for the Hero of Conservation award by Pheasants Forever president and chief executive officer Howard Vincent.
“We formed Quail Forever in 2005 because we knew there were passionate folks like Laura McIver all across the quail range eager to put their hearts into recovering America's quail population,” Vincent said. “Putting (her) heart behind quail is exactly what Laura McIver has done.”
McIver and the 89ers chapter — which has grown from just a handful of members in 2005 to now about 400 — are involved in a wide array of quail habitat projects across the state.