Ways to Get Involved

Whether you are looking to volunteer, join a Friends Group, or learn about internship programs, Conte Refuge offers a number of ways to contribute to our conservation mission. 

Our Partners

Friends Groups

Friends of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge 

In 2005, a small group of committed partners formed the Friends of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge (FOC). Since then, the group has become a thriving network of more than 70 public and private organizations and individuals whose collective efforts forge mutually beneficial partnerships and strengthen the health of the Connecticut River watershed and the communities that live in and are served by it. The Friends of Conte hosts quarterly meetings in various locations throughout the watershed. To get involved contact Markelle Smith: Friendsofconte@gmail.com

Friends of Pondicherry

The Pondicherry Division is fortunate to have the support of a strong and dedicated friends group. Members visit the Refuge nearly every day of the year interacting with visitors, identifying maintenance needs, monitoring wildlife, conducting educational workshops, etc. If you are interested in participating or would like more information please contact the Refuge Manager at 413.548.8002 x113, or David Govatski: david.govatski@gmail.com.

Friends of the Nulhegan

The Friends of the Nulhegan serves as an advocate and supporter of the Nulhegan Basin Division of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. Visit their website to learn more: www.friendsofthenulhegan.com.

Friends of Fannie Stebbins Refuge

The Fannie Stebbins Wildlife Refuge includes the largest unfragmented area of natural floodplain vegetation in the Connecticut River Watershed. It is a 370 acre unit of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge located in the meadows are of more than 1,000 areas of forest, meadow, ponds and marshes in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. The Friends of Stebbins supports preservation of the natural plants and wildlife of the refuge and offers opportunities for people to enjoy the birds, trails and natural environment. For more information about the Friends of Stebbins, program and volunteering contact: friendsofstebbins@gmail.com

Friends of the Fort River

The Friends of the Fort River Refuge is a newly formed Friends group that serves as an advocate and supporter of the Fort River Division and partner with the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. The Friends assist with the maintenance of a 1.1 mile universally accessible birding and nature trail on the property, help with 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.

Learn more about invasive species
control, monitor and enhance barn swallow nesting on the property, host special activities, and help with a variety of other shared priority activities. If you would like more information about this friends group, please email:  friendsoffortriver@gmail.com.

Friends of Salmon River

The Friends of Salmon River is comprised of a group of people with strong ties to the division and Haddam Neck. Members have actively worked with Refuge staff on public road maintenance, invasive plant control, and interacting with visitors and neighbors.  If you would like more information about this friends group, please contact the Refuge Manager at 413.548.8002 x113 or Dean_Rhine@fws.gov


Outreach, environmental education and interpretation are a large part of the Conte's Visitor Service Program. In addition to our established programs and partnerships, we offer individual programs to meet a range of outdoor education needs. To learn more about visitor service programs contact the refuge at: Jennifer_Lapis@fws.gov or 413-548-8002, ext. 8114

Learn more about Conte's Urban Wildlife Conservation Program

Learn more about our Cops & Bobbers, Hooks & Ladders Youth Fishing Programs

Education Programs

Youth Conservation Corps Crew Members

Learn more about opportunities for youth internships on National Wildlife Refuges:

Student Conservation Association

American Conservation Experience

Hispanic Access Foundation

Northwoods Stewardship Center

Students from the ecology class at Greenfield Community College learn about pond ecology at the Fort River Division

Silvio O. Conte offers a variety of environmental education programs for schools, youth groups, families and other organized groups. To learn more contact Jennifer Lapis at Jennifer_Lapis@fws.gov or 413-835-5541.