Ways to Get Involved

Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge was born out of a volunteer movement. Volunteers and Friends members plan events, lead field trips, remove invasive plants and restore habitats. We cannot manage this refuge without you!

As the refuge grows, there will be more opportunities to volunteer. We look forward to working with individual volunteers and groups to accomplish shared goals. Potential volunteer activities may include education, land restoration, invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

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removal and other activities.

The 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. Learn more by visiting the official Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge website


Discover for yourself what tens of thousands of volunteers have learned: Volunteering for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is fun and rewarding in many ways. Learn new skills, meet new friends and enjoy a sense of accomplishment from doing your part to further wildlife conservation for the pleasure of generations to follow. Check out the latest volunteer opportunities onvolunteer.gov or check out the official website for the Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge

Our Partners

Nature does not recognize human-made boundaries. In order to conserve our natural and cultural resources effectively, we must work with others to bridge these boundaries. Partnerships foster creative solutions to challenging situations and often the results are greater than the sum of the parts. Learn more about our local partners.

Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge has evolved through partnerships. It began with local citizens concerned with conserving natural areas in northeastern Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin. Those citizens talked to others and partnerships formed. A group called the Friends of Hackmatack coalesced around the idea of establishing a national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

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to complement existing conservation lands in the area. The number of partners grew to more than 40 organizations sharing this common goal of establishing a refuge. Through the efforts of these partners, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to study the feasibility and benefits of establishing a refuge in the area. After two years of planning and public involvement, the Service concluded that a refuge would contribute to its mission.

Partnerships with landowners, neighbors, conservation organizations and local, county, state and other federal government agencies are a crucial component of a successful Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge. Public and private partnerships will be essential to the success of the future management of the refuge.