Historically, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has primarily focused on the explicit conservation of wildlife and habitat in unpopulated natural areas. In turn, the Service has not prioritized conservation that benefits the public directly and consequently overlooked areas where most people live. In response, the Service established the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program (UWCP) with the overall goal of prioritizing conservation and recreational access efforts in urban areas where more than 80 percent of Americans live and can more directly benefit – so that together we can leave a legacy of abundant and healthy wildlife and wild lands for future generations of Americans to enjoy. While the Service has been doing and continues to do work in urban areas, the UWCP has developed a specific approach for engaging the public in conservation to meet this overarching goal.
The Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuges have been engaged with urban communities through the Providence Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership (Established in 2013) and the Providence Urban Bird Treaty (Established in 2019). The Service, and our conservation and community partners continue to work with underserved communities, with a focus on connecting with community leaders and youth on conservation issues that affect their neighborhoods, parks and landscapes.