Friends of Hackmatack

birdSpring 2014 Update  
A lot has happened since Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge was established in November 2012.  Here is some information on how our new national wildlife refuge is growing in outreach to its neighbors this Spring!

For the land This summer, a Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) crew will be conducting land restoration activities on refuge and other conservation lands. Local teens will be selected by a lottery to fill the four slots on the crew. Teens must be 15-18 years old and live in McHenry County, Illinois or Walworth County, Wisconsin.

For more information, see the YCC Member job description about this full-time work from June 9 to August 8. You must apply by May 2.

For the people The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will host its first Hackmatack NWR event by celebrating International Migratory Bird Day. Rangers will be banding birds at Lost Valley Visitor Center from 8 – 9:30 am on both Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27. Drop by any time either morning to see what birds they find!

Friends Gatherings Quarterly Friends Gatherings began with forty-five eager volunteers attended the first gathering on March 11, 2014.  We celebrated the 111th birthday of the national wildlife refuge system, updated attendees on refuge lands in Illinois and Wisconsin, and explored the ways people can be involved in refuge activities.

Future gatherings will be held at 6 pm on June 10, September 9 and December 9 at Lost Valley Visitor Center at Glacial Park, on Rt. 31 just south of Richmond, Illinois.

The June 10, 2014 Friends Gathering will focus on land restoration, and a restoration workday will be scheduled as a follow-up, hands-on event. RSVP by email to or on our Facebook page.

These are exciting times as we explore the opportunities before us as we work with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on our refuge!

Tips on How to Visit the Hackmatack Area:  CLICK HERE
Read the Timeline for the creation & ongoing development of the
Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge:
Sedge Meadow
Contained within the 12-acre easement that is the first piece of land protected as Hackmatack NWR is an unplowed sedge meadow, a unique wetland community occupying the broad floodplain of Slough Creek. Dominated by tussock forming plants called sedges and supporting colorful wildflowers such as Spotted Joe Pyeweed and Boneset, this parcel is a living history book, illustrating what the new Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge may have looked like on the eve of settlement 180 years ago. It is home to rare plants, butterflies and wetland songbirds.
Read the January 11, 2013 USFWS press release on the establishment of the refuge HERE.
For a map showing the location of this first easement, click HERE