National Wildlife Refuge System

Urban Wildlife Conservation Program

The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program Hub is now available. Visit

"Moving from Initiative to Program"

Build an urban wildlife refuge program in the Refuge System that implements the vision set forth in Conserving the Future. The purpose is to clearly articulate the standards of excellence for our urban refuges’ outreach activities; develop measures and an evaluation processes to evaluate our efforts and measure progress; identify new partnership approaches that can provide a refuge and wildlife conservation presence in urban areas without a refuge land base and, provide the roadmap for success for our wildlife refuges - individually and collectively.


A robust and successful urban wildlife refuge program will not only raise awareness and capacities together to engage an expanding and diverse conservation constituency.


This team addresses Conserving the Future recommendation 13:


Recommendation 13: Create an urban refuge initiative that defines excellence in our existing urban refuges, establishes the framework for creating new urban refuge partnerships and implements a refuge presence in 10 demographically and geographically varied cities across America by 2015.


Urban News

Urban Wildlife Refuge Initiative Fact Sheet


Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships:

With 80% of the U.S. population currently residing in urban communities, the challenge to ensure our natural resources are conserved and valued by the American people has become even more complex.  Demographically, over half of the population will be diverse by 2042. Young adults and children everywhere have different perceptions, values, and relationships with land and wildlife compared to previous generations.  To ensure that we nurture a new conservation constituency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must promote strategies to engage these audiences in meaningful, collaborative ways that build sustainable, broad-based support for the their mission. 

To address this challenge, the Urban Wildlife Refuge Initiative implementation team has developed a framework to engage communities, where awareness of the Service is minimal to lacking, in order to encourage and nurture an appreciation of wildlife conservation to new audiences.  The National Wildlife Refuge System is designating these “Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships” in eight demographically and geographically varied cities in 2013, with additional designations to follow by 2015.  The team formally designated and announced the pilot Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships at the Urban Academy in September 2013, at the National Conservation Training Center. 

Click here for Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership Video




Last updated: April 23, 2015