U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Expands Urban Conservation Program:
New Metro Denver Project Will Help Community, Teach Kids, Restore Ties to Nature
For Immediate Release
August 28, 2014
DENVER--The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today it will partner with communities, corporations and nonprofits to help restore the natural environment and boost opportunities for residents in six cities to connect with nature. Together, the Service and partners expect to direct more than $1.7 million to community-led habitat restoration projects and engage thousands of volunteers in the efforts.
Six national wildlife refuges will play a key part in the Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships including the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in the Metro Denver area.
In Denver, the Service along with Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) will use a $30,000 grant for the Community Greening and Restoration Project, to 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 Denver’s Montbello neighborhood and Commerce City. Work is expected to begin this fall.
“Thanks to our partners, we are expanding beyond our national wildlife refuges and finding new ways to educate and inspire young people living in urban centers, helping raise a new generation of conservationists with a passion to care for our lands, water and wildlife,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.
The Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships, part of the National Wildlife Refuge System’s Urban Wildlife Refuge Program, raises awareness and capacities to engage a new and more diverse constituency in meaningful, collaborative ways to nurture an appreciation of wildlife conservation, both on and off urban refuges.
“The future of our natural resources depends on their being valued by all Americans. That means connecting with urban communities, where 80 percent of the U.S. population now resides,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “These new Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships will support local, community-based projects that protect and restore the places that fish and wildlife need while engaging new communities in the conservation of our shared natural heritage.”
Funding is provided through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program. The program focuses on the stewardship and restoration of coastal, wetland and riparian ecosystems across the country. Projects seek to address water quality issues in priority watersheds.
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