Silvio O. Conte Urban Wildlife Conservation Program
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 enjoy5. 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 Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge has been engaged with urban communities within our watershed since our establishment. In 2015 we received the official designation of an Urban Wildlife Conservation Partnership working with the cities of Springfield, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut. Today, we continue working with our partners in these, and other surrounding communities, with a focus on engaging and connecting with community leaders on conservation issues that affect their neighborhoods, parks and landscapes.