A couple of HCCS members were lucky to spend Friday the 13th learning from and networking with the executive team of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service at their regional office in western Massachusetts. USFWS is the main agency within the US government tasked with conservation efforts. They help preserve ecosystems and species through both maintaining numerous wildlife refuges throughout the country, and working with landowners to manage invasive species and protect endangered ones. After learning about what each department of FWS does - from acquiring land to expand refuges, to managing media presence, to ensuring protected flyways for migratory birds - we had the chance to chat with several members of the executive team and several graduate students from UMass-Amherst over lunch. We then toured Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge, on the Fort River Trail, the first trail at a wildlife refuge that is completely handicap-accessible. We learned about the design and construction of the trail and how FWS ensures that people of all abilities can engage with nature. To wrap up the day, we visited the Richard Cronin Aquatic Resource Center, where FWS's research team is working to establish captive breeding programs for threatened and endangered freshwater mussels and tiger beetles. A big thank you to Northeast Regional Director Wendi Weber and all of her team for making this amazing event possible!