Friends of Necedah National Wildlife Refuge

The friends of Necedah National Wildlife Refuge is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing time and funds to support the many activities of the refuge.  As volunteers, we give over 10,000 hours each year to refuge activities and projects and every dollar we earn is returned to fund those projects.

Frances and Frederick Hamerstrom

Frances and Frederick Hamerstrom were a couple of influential wildlife biologists who made significant contributions to the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge and the conservation of prairie chickens and raptors. The Hamerstroms worked at the refuge from 1949 to 1972 as research biologists for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. They conducted pioneering studies on the ecology and behavior of the greater prairie chicken, a species that was declining due to habitat loss and overhunting. They also helped establish a captive breeding program and a translocation project to restore prairie chicken populations in Wisconsin and other states. The Hamerstroms also studied various raptors, such as hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls, and advocated for their protection from persecution and pesticide poisoning. They trained many students and volunteers in raptor banding and rehabilitation and established a raptor research center at their home near the refuge. The Hamerstroms were recognized for their scientific achievements and conservation efforts by numerous awards and honors, such as the Aldo Leopold Medal, the John Muir Award, and the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame. They also wrote several books and articles based on their research and personal experiences with wildlife. The Hamerstroms left a legacy of knowledge, passion, and inspiration for wildlife conservation at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge and beyond.

Some of their books are:

  • An Eagle to the Sky: This book tells the story of how the Hamerstroms raised and released a golden eagle named Goldie, and how they learned about the behavior and ecology of this majestic bird.
  • Birds of Prey in Wisconsin: This booklet provides information on the identification, distribution, status, and management of the raptors that occur in Wisconsin, such as hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls.
  • Is She Coming Too: Memoirs of a Lady Hunter: This book is a collection of Frances Hamerstrom’s memoirs of her hunting adventures around the world, from Africa to Alaska, and her reflections on hunting ethics and wildlife conservation.
  • Strictly for the Chickens: This book is a humorous account of the Hamerstroms’ work with the greater prairie chicken, a species that was endangered in Wisconsin due to habitat loss and overhunting. The book describes the challenges and rewards of studying and managing this charismatic bird.
  • Walk When the Moon is Full: This book is a series of stories that Frances Hamerstrom wrote for her children, based on their nocturnal walks in the woods. The book introduces the reader to the fascinating creatures and phenomena that can be observed at night, such as fireflies, owls, bats, and moonbows.


Frances and Frederick Hamerstrom - Wildlife biologists at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge Necedah, Wisconsin