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About America's First Urban Refuge

Deer and egrets on the refuge - Ron Holmes/USFWS.

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum is America's First Urban Refuge and was established in 1972 for the purpose of preserving, restoring, and developing the natural area known as Tinicum Marsh, to promote environmental education, and to afford visitors an opportunity to study wildlife in its natural habitat.

The refuge is a green respite nestled within the urban setting of the city of Philadelphia. Refuge lands are a thriving sanctuary teeming with a rich diversity of fish, wildlife, and plants native to the Delaware Estuary. Healthy and productive expanses of freshwater tidal marsh, open waters, mudflats, and woodlands support the hundreds of species that breed, rear their young, rest during migration, or call the refuge home year-round.

With support from our partners, the refuge leads by example in the conservation of freshwater tidal marsh within the Delaware Estuary but more importantly, in providing environmental education in Philadelphia and Delaware Counties.  Also, given its accessibility and visibility to over 1,700,00 million people living within 10 miles of the refuge and more than 35 million Americans living within a 2-hours drive, the refuge serves as a prominent ambassador of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Its high-quality programs promote natural and cultural resource stewardship, demonstrate wildlife habitat management, encourage compatible outdoor public use, and provide a living classroom to connect both schools and communities with nature and local history. WE STRIVE TO INSPIRE those who visit John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum to take action to improve the quality of life for themselves and those around them.

Download the refuge brochure (pdf)

Page Photo Credits — Deer and egrets on the refuge - Ron Holmes/USFWS.
Last Updated: Jan 21, 2015
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