Hands on the Land Partnership

With funding from U.S. EPA’s Office of Environmental Education, the Division of Education and Outreach (DEO) augmented our cooperative agreement with the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) allowing the Partners in Resource Education to provide training, technical assistance, and funding support to the Hands on the Land (HOL) network of nearly 200 partnerships between local schools and federal land management agencies. These partnerships establish field classrooms that connect students, teachers, families, and volunteers to public lands and waterways all across America, essentially making it “America’s Largest Classroom.” The anticipated outcomes for mini-grants are improved conservation results on federal lands, higher student environmental literacy rates, and improved academic achievement in local schools. Improving the capacity of federal environmental and land management agency field sites to work with local schools is one of the most effective ways to improving community involvement in conservation work on public lands. FWS currently has 20 HOL sites among our refuges and hatcheries. FWS field site interest in the program is increasing rapidly, with our participation more than tripling during 2015.

For more information on the HOL Partnership please contact Maria Parisi at

Sense of Wonder Recognition Program

The Sense of Wonder Recognition Program acknowledges Service employees, nominated by coworkers, who have designed and implemented visionary programs that foster a sense of wonder and public stewardship of our wildlife heritage. The eight regional recipients are recognized at the annual National Association of Interpretation (NAI) National Conference, along with their colleagues from the National Park Service, U. S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. NCTC and Refuges oversee the application and selection process and represent the Service on the Federal Interagency Council for Interpretation (FICI), the group that coordinates the annual awards ceremony.

To learn more contact Blaine Eckberg at