A primary purpose when establishing a new urban refuge is to foster environmental awareness and outreach programs, and to develop an informed and involved citizenry that will support fish and wildlife conservation. Urban refuges will provide public use benefits associated with fish and wildlife resources that include, but are not limited to, bird watching, fishing, scientific research, environmental education, open space in an urban setting, and protection of cultural resources.
Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge will promote opportunities for volunteers and develop community appreciation and public support for the refuge. For example, as the refuge develops, refuge staff will work with school districts and teachers to develop an environmental education program featuring unique species or communities at the refuge.
Initial staffing needs are to hire an Outdoor Recreation Planner that would be stationed at Lost Valley Visitor Center in the McHenry County Conservation District's Glacial Park. Once in place, the ORP will be a local point of contact for citizens wishing to become involved with the refuge as it develops. In the interim, Hackmatack Refuge is being managed by staff at Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge - Savanna District (815-273-2732).
Hackmatack Refuge has an active "Friends" group that was instrumental in getting the refuge established and continues to work to connect people to our natural resources. Additional information on Friends of Hackmatack can be found by visiting: hackmatacknwr.org
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Blanding's turtle features a domed shell and a yellow throat and chin giving the appearance that it has a permanent smile.