National Wildlife Refuge System

Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships


Designated Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships

Masonville Cove Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership (Baltimore, MD)

A cooperative between the Chesapeake Bay Ecological Services office, and Patuxent Research Refuge at the Masonville Cove Nature Area opened in 2012 on a restored Maryland Port Authority site on the Patapsco River. The surrounding community has a high poverty and crime rate, with low graduation. Living Classroom Foundation will continue to lead curriculum development; BayBrook will help with internships and mentors developed from Maryland Community Naturalist Network and students are reached through the National Aquarium.

Masonville Cove Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership Fact Sheet


New Haven Harbor Watershed Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership (New Haven, CT)

Based on community-based wildlife conservation, this project will create a network of wildlife-friendly habitat oases and habitat improvements in municipal parks, schoolyards, vacant lots, front yards, and units of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. Partners in this highly diverse neighborhood include Yale Urban Resources Initiative, National Audubon Society, EPA Long Island Sound Study, City of New Haven Parks and Recreation, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. New Haven Public Schools , and Common Ground: High School Urban Farm and Environmental Education Center.

New Haven Harbor Watershed Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership Fact Sheet

New Haven Partnership Postcard

Schoolyard Habitat Program


Providence Parks Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership (Providence, RI)

Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex and the Southern New England/New York Bight Coastal Program of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will work with the City of Providence Park System, the Partnership for Providence Parks, the Roger Williams Park Zoo, The Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island, Urban Pond Procession, Audubon Society of Rhode Island, and other conservation organizations to develop and implement an inclusive and cohesive environmental awareness and education program by bringing messages to where they live and work in over 100 parks, schools, and zoo.

Providence Parks Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership Fact Sheet


Lake Sammamish Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership (Seattle, WA)

A Kokanee Salmon Partnership targeted to increase awareness, understanding, and support of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Refuge System, and conservation of aquatic ecosystems and native species at Lake Sammamish State Park and the Issaquah State Hatchery, as well as city parks and trails crossing Kokanee spawning streams. Phase I focuses on development of an interpretive plan and design; Phase 2 includes design and development of interpretive media options to be placed at over 600 acres of public lands and spaces, and Phase 3 focuses on staffing.

Lake Sammamish Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership Fact Sheet


Forest Preserves of Cook County Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership (Chicago, IL)

This project focuses on creating a ladder of nature learning and engagement opportunities that starts in urban neighborhoods and expands to the forest preserves, and ultimately, Refuges.  They will connect to target audiences, in nature-based (birds and habitat restoration) presentations, guided bird and nature walks, field trips, outdoor activities and restoration workdays, with the help of hiring youth from target communities to conduct outreach activities and work in restoration projects. Our partners include Forest Preserves of Cook County, Audubon Chicago Region, and Eden Place Nature Center.

Forest Preserves of Cook County Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership Fact Sheet


L.A. River Rover Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership (Los Angeles, CA)

Bringing People to the River and the River to the People: This project involves building a River Rover that will house interactive exhibits including an interactive model of the LA River watershed. This is an outside vehicle serving as a self-directed activity as well as a staff guided tool to teach conservation to a very urban audience in areas throughout the watershed.  

L.A. River Rover Fact Sheet


Houston Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership (Houston, TX)

The Texas Mid-Coast Complex National Wildlife Refuge proposes to partner with the coalition of Houston Wilderness to coordinate amongst the six refuges and Ecological Services office in the Houston market, understand community values, and develop a marketing plan.  The partners will create a coordinated presence within existing land designations in Greater Houston Area.

Houston Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership Fact Sheet


Valle De Oro Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership (Albuquerque, NM)

One of the newest urban wildlife refuges, Valle de Oro, with the help of Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, Friends of Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, Audubon’s Birds of a Feather Program, and Center for Southwest Culture, will establish an urban presence before the refuge officially opens in 3-5 years. This includes a community garden at the Mountain View Community Center, a part of the National Conservation Training Center’s Building Urban Community Habitats with Youth Program.

Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership Fact Sheet

Condor Kids (Santa Barbara, CA):

A pilot education program will teach students in heavily Latino elementary schools in the Fillmore United School District of Ventura County about efforts to recover the endangered California condor. The program also will build their skills in science, technology, engineering and math. Students will make field trips to Hopper Mountain Refuge, a condor nesting area, to meet with recovery biologists, learn about condor monitoring and look through nest cameras. Partners in the project include the Santa Barbara Zoo and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Walkill Connection: Fostering Urban River Stewards (Yonkers, NY):

The project will involve youth and adults from a low-income Yonkers neighborhood in restoring land near public housing along the Saw Mill River. Participants will visit Walkill Refuge to learn about riverside restoration; refuge staff will make return visits to Yonkers to lend their expertise. Partners include the Yonkers-based Groundwork Hudson Valley urban environmental nonprofit. Youth participants are from Groundwork’s Green Team (a summer youth employment program).

Habitat Is Where It’s At (New Orleans, LA):

Underserved New Orleans students will help restore degraded wetland in Bayou Sauvage Refuge, while learning about wetland habitat. Younger students will cultivate and grow marsh grass and trees in schoolyard nurseries. Older students will help with project planning, data collection and biological monitoring to assess restoration success. Partners include the University of New Orleans Coastal Education and Research Facility.

Community Greening and Restoration Project (Denver, CO):

Working with the community and partners including Environmental Learning for Kids, the Service will help turn a degraded detention pond in an underserved Denver neighborhood into a local park that connects to nearby Rocky Mountain Arsenal Refuge. The park would offer expanded educational programming for youth and families in Montbello and Commerce City.

PSJA, Preserving for Future Generations (Pharr/San Juan/Alamo, TX):

The cities of Pharr, San Juan and Alamo will work with Santa Ana Refuge and students and teachers to create natural habitats at three elementary school campuses. At community-led events, students, teachers and parents will learn about the region’s unique Tamaulipan Brushland ecosystem -- found only in the four southernmost counties of the state – and about conservation in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Neighborhood Environmental Stewardship (NESt) (Philadelphia, PA):

John Heinz Refuge at Tinicum and the National Audubon Society will expand a program that engages Philadelphia residents in conservation through hands-on programming in schools, in neighborhoods and at the refuge. The program includes a native plant propagation program at Fairmount Park and citizen science activities at the refuge. FedEx is a partner in the project.


Last updated: April 23, 2015