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A Talk on the Wild Side.

A Talk on the Wild Side Podcast: Conservation in Cities

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A Talk on the Wild Side

With 80 percent of Americans now living in urban areas, our challenge is to meet people where they are and become relevant in their daily lives. Without public awareness and support, our conservation mission will not succeed. To do this, we work with national and community partners to make opportunities accessible to as many people as possible, and create quality wildlife habitat where wildlife needs it, even if that’s in a city.

   FWS employee points out something to two kids with binocularsChicago biologist Shawn Cirton, teaching birding to two children in the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Photo by USFWS.

In this ‘Conservation in Cities’ episode of our podcast, we talked to three U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff about the work they do in urban areas. We started in the Windy City of Chicago, where we talked to Louise Clemency, the Chicago Ecological Services Field Office Project Leader. The Chicago Urban Bird Treaty Program is celebrating its 20th year now, and Louise talked to us about the importance of the collaborative work being done in this incredibly busy bird area on the Mississippi flyway.

   man holds a big fishTim Loux holds a Lahontan cutthroat trout outside the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery in Nevada. Photo by USFWS

Then we moved to the Biggest Little City in the World – Reno, Nevada. We talked to Tim Loux at the Lahonton National Fish Hatchery Complex, and he told us about the fish passage partnerships and projects done on the Truckee River that opened up 41 miles of river habitat to the endangered Lahontan cutthroat trout.

woman in red shirt stands before 4 kids at a desk   Leah Schrodt is an FWS Interpretive Specialist that works at the Oregon Zoo Education Center. Photo by USFWS

Then we went over to the City of Roses on the West Coast, where Leah Schrodt talked to us about the innovative partnership and education programs at the Oregon Zoo in Portland. The high visibility of the Oregon Zoo provides an ideal venue to connect with an urban audience and talk about the important work of the Service and our conservation mission, and no one is better to do that than Leah, who was recently awarded the Service’s Sense of Wonder award. 

The future success of conservation ultimately lies in our ability to maintain our relevancy. This means we need to provide opportunities for Americans to connect with the outdoors and nature where they are to become stewards of the environment. There are many Service programs involved in urban wildlife conservation issues, including urban national wildlife refuges, urban wildlife conservation partnerships and urban bird treaty cities. And it was quite clear that there are some awesome projects and communities we are working with across the country, so we will definitely explore more of this work in a future podcast episode – stay tuned!  

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