Why is the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service focusing its energy in urban centers? After all, isn't the nature we're trying to conserve "out there"? The fact is, nature is closer than you might think; it's all around us. It's also no secret that 80% of Americans now live in cities. With a land base that for the most is "out there," the Service has realized that we need a stronger connection to people and meet them where they are.
The good news is, we're not starting from scratch. There are over 100 National Wildlife Refuges within 25 miles of American cities. Four of these are found in the Portland-Vancouver Metropolitan Area. We also have new and established partnerships in many cities that will continue to grow with this new focus and new resources.
Teaching the next generation to love the land is no small task, but we are up for the challenge and ask you to join us in this effort. Explore the information below to find out more about what we're up to, and be sure to check out our Urban Wildlife Conservation Program Hub.
Thanks to its innovation and well-established conservation community, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service selected the Portland-Vancouver Metropolitan Area as one of only two cities in which to pilot the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program. Through this program, the Service will increase its capability to partner with community organizations to tackle some of the most challenging social conservation issues of our day, including equitable access to nature, the nature and health connection, advancing conservation education, and marketing nature as an essential component of our daily lives. To learn more about how our program will function:
Download our two-page fact sheet
Wildlife refuges are valuable for people, but not every urban center has a national wildlife refuge in its backyard. To bring new audiences into the conservation community, the National Wildlife Refuge System is developing Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships in metropolitan areas where it does not have a land base. Fourteen urban wildlife refuge partnerships have been created, and are aimed to meet people where they are and explore different ways to connect with nature.
The future success of conservation lies ultimately in our ability to inspire Americans to connect with the outdoors and nature, and to become stewards of the environment. With over 80% of Americans living in urban areas, spending less time outdoors, and becoming more ethnically and racially diverse, our challenge is to become relevant in their daily lives. Without public awareness and support, our conservation mission will not succeed. To help measure success, the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program will strive for excellence in eight specific areas:
Explore the Eight Standards of Excellence
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These sleek ducks are one of the first winter migrants to arrive in the wetlands. Look for their long, dark tail feathers as they dabble in the wetlands.