Location and Contact Information
Providence Parks Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership
Using the network of over 100 existing and accessible parks in Providence, partners in Rhode Island are coming together to bring a conservation and wildlife message to the city. One of the most ethnically diverse cities in the U.S., Providence anchors a population of 1.6 million people and many families do not have the resources to travel to rural national wildlife refuges. In an effort to connect school children and families with nature where they live and work, partners will work with school groups, using the Providence parks, to restore and maintain wildlife habitats, build nature trails and interpretive signs, and provide environmental education programs. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated the collaborative effort as the Providence Parks Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership on May 5, 2014.
The Service is serving as a catalyst, collaboratingwithotherconservation organizationstoleverageresources, staff and funds to broadly and comprehensively reach this urban community.Thepartnershipbuilds on existing projects in the city, as Providence is unique in the number Partners, such as The Nature Conservancy, Roger Williams Park Zoo, Audubon Society of Rhode Island,theRhodeIslandDepartment of Environmental Management, the Woonasquatcket River Watershed Council,Parks’ConservancyGroups, Tomaquag Museum andothershavebegunassessinghabitat and wildlife capabilities of different parks, developing interpretive nature trails and supporting volunteers and youth hires to perform restoration projects and deliver education programs.
The work of the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program in Providence, RI addresses multiple barriers regarding access to nature for residents and students. These include transportation and safety barriers and lack of on-site nature access at schools by using public city parks as areas to play, learn, relax, and explore, language barriers by providing bilingual programming facilitated by native Spanish speakers from the communities we serve, providing programming in tandem with Summer Meal Sites and/or providing meals at family-friendly events and programs to address food insecurity barriers, and ensuring all programs are free and open to the public to remove cost barriers with high poverty rates in the city.
These are the "stepping stones of engagements", with monthly fieldtrips to the local parks, so the students have a sense of wonder, not a sense of fear, when they have their funded school field trip to Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge.
To quote Robert Michael Pyle "What is the extinction of a condor to a child who has never seen a wren?" We want to introduce children to the wrens, squirrels, hawks, fish and insects living within their parks!