It started as a dream. Thanks to the vision and determination of many individuals and organizations, Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge now exists in the heart of the Chicago-Milwaukee-Rockford-Madison metro area…and it’s growing.

We’re not through dreaming. Thinking ahead, our refuge will take another big leap forward once the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service decides they’re ready to build us a Visitors Center.  

A future Hackmatack NWR Visitors Center will play a crucial role introducing the refuge to new visitors, interpreting the landscape and its inhabitants for a new generation of nature enthusiasts.

After visiting refuges and their visitor centers throughout the country, longtime McHenry County residents Tom von Geldern and Cindy Skrukrud realized that these facilities can be an amazing educational resource…particularly when the local community is engaged through volunteerism, and through financial support to create high-quality educational displays and programming.

To this end, Cindy and Tom recently created a donor-advised fund, the Hackmatack Visitors Center Educational Fund. The goal of the Fund is to supplement the support that is typically provided by the USFWS for each Visitors Center; to make sure that “our” Visitors Center is the best that it can be.

So yes, we’re fundraising for a facility that doesn’t exist yet!  But this is OK; we’d like the Fund to be as strong as it can be, when the time comes to build a Visitors Center, and decisions about its educational components are made.

The Hackmatack Visitors Center Educational Fund, managed through the Community Foundation For McHenry County, is an open fund…which means that others who share our vision can contribute as well. Learn how you can donate to the fund here.

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