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Our Common Ground

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National Wildlife Refuges have been one of the main places of public contact for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, sort of our "front porch," but these have typically been in more rural settings. With the vast majority of Americans now living in large cities, we are refocusing our outreach to go where the people are. The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program ensures that we will have the capacity and the focus to work closely with the Portland-Vancouver community to tackle the conservation challenges of the 21st Century.

  • Program Details

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    More than 80 percent of Americans now live in urban environments – a shift that has profound implications for the health and well-being of millions of people, especially our nation’s youth. The children of today will soon be our nation’s elected officials, business leaders, parents, and public servants. What happens when a generation that has little connection to the outdoors is suddenly in charge of taking care of nature? We hope to never have to find out.

    The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program will shine a spotlight on the relevancy of conservation to the daily lives of the community through direct participation, whether it be by recreating and learning in our natural spaces or by adopting new conservation actions, big and small, right at home. Wherever people are ready to make their connection to nature and conservation, we and our partners will be there to meet them.

    Learn more about this exciting new program

  • Collective Impact

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    At the heart of the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program is the understanding that we can accomplish more when we work together with partners from all sectors of the community on shared goals and outcomes; what is known as Collective Impact.

    We don't pretend that the resources that we will invest in the Portland-Vancouver community are the answer to all conservation challenges, rather it is a statement that we are ready to be a strong partner, leading when needed, to move the needle on positive changes in the community. We also believe strongly that this community is poised to be a model for other cities across the country.

    Learn more about Collective Impact from these resources:

    Stanford Social Innovation Review

    27 Indicators of Effectiveness

    FSG Collective Impact Approach

  • Getting Started

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    The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program is not a new grant fund, it is a long-term effort emanating from the four National Wildlife Refuges of the Portland-Vancouver Metropolitan Area and an investment in the great work of this community to engage people with nature. 

    The program was born out of a challenge issued to the 100+ urban wildlife refuges across America to propose innovative solutions to ensuring the relevancy of both the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, as well as fish and wildlife, for generations to come. The proposal submitted by the four National Wildlife Refuges of the Portland-Vancouver area was selected as only the second city to launch such a program. This selection pays tribute to the community's history, passion, and innovation in delivering social solutions to complex conservation issues. The investment is a direct reflection of our belief that this community can be a model for other cities.

    To get the ball rolling, we selected some key partnerships and projects that reflect the core values of the program. This is by no means the end of the story, rather the beginning.

    Learn about the program's initial initial projects and partnerships

  • Engage With Us

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    We have accepted the challenge of ensuring a future for wildlife, natural places, and human connection to nature. We invite you to join us in taking on this challenge. To engage with us and follow our progress, please contact us through any of these means:

    Urban Program Coordinator

    Kim Strassburg
    kim_strassburg@fws.gov
    (503) 625-5944

    Urban Program Communications Specialist

    Patrick Stark
    patrick_stark@fws.gov
    (503) 625-5944

    On Facebook

    Portland-Vancouver National Wildlife Refuges

Last Updated: Apr 20, 2015
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