The Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge are pleased to report on the use of funds ($843) received from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Retirees Association to engage local youth with conservation, Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge and the Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge (FOHNWR). The funds were used for two of our events.

Monarch Family Fun Fair: This event, initiated by FOHNWR and now partnering with 13 organizations, celebrated its 8th Year in 2023. Over 600 people participated in the event and learned more about the U.S. FWS Monarch Initiative, Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the importance of monarchs and pollinators in our landscape. The event is held at Main Beach owned by the Crystal Lake Park District where many multigenerational Hispanic families gather. Young, Hispanic “Ambassadors” play a key role inencouraging Hispanic families picnicking at the beach to participate in the Monarch Family Fun Fair.

planting a pollinator garden at Petersen Park in McHenry, IL

Pollinator Garden Stewardship with Students: FOHNWR coordinated with Youth and Family Center of McHenry County, McHenry County Conservation District, The Land Conservancy of McHenry County, the City of McHenry (which owns Peterson Park) and Small Waters Education to plant and ultimately install a pollinator garden at Peterson Park owned by the City of McHenry, Illinois. During the day of the installation (June 2024), 36 youth (28 grade school and 8 middle school students), 8 interns and additional staff with the aforementioned organizations planted just over 300 prairie plants and shrubs (308 to be exact) at Peterson Park.

The Friends of Hackmatack NWR would like to thank the USFWS Retirees Association for their support of this mini-grant that enabled our organization to provide youth career educations and outdoor opportunities. We were able to engage local youth and help them to learn more about our natural resources, hopefully providing inspiration to pursue a career in this field.


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