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Portland-Vancouver Urban Refuge Program

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Launched in 2015, the Urban Refuge Program has boldly embraced the 21st Century conservation challenge of ensuring our ever-growing Portland-Vancouver Metro Area has a strong connection to the natural world. The Program has drawn attention to a land base of four Urban National Wildlife Refuges that provide opportunities for the community to play, learn, serve, and work. We have also been fortunate to collaborate with many outstanding local partners who have allowed us to join in their ongoing efforts to lift up the community by connecting nature to health, equity, conservation, and public engagement.

  • Urban Wildlife Refuges

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    Four National Wildlife Refuges are found within the Portland-Vancouver Metro Area. They're all within a 30-minute drive of the heart of Portland and one can be found no matter which direction you head. Click the names below to go to that refuge's website or get a quick snapshot of each refuge.

    To the North: Ridgefield NWR

    To the South: Tualatin River NWR

    To the East: Steigerwald Lake NWR

    To the West: Wapato Lake NWR

  • Program Focus Areas

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    Portland-Vancouver was selected as only the second Urban Refuge Program in the nation — a testament to this community's history, passion, and innovation in delivering social solutions to complex conservation issues. We have aligned our program focus areas to support important community efforts underway. These focal areas are also key to addressing an overall program goal of ensuring the relevancy of fish and wildlife, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, for generations to come.

    We invite you to learn more about our work with the community in these areas:

    - Health & Nature

    - Equity & Inclusion

    - Conservation Education

    - Public Engagement


    For a printable synopsis of the Urban Refuge Program:

    Download the 2015 Annual Report (PDF 5mb)

  • Standards of Excellence

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    The Urban Standards of Excellence were developed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as guideposts to help us understand if we're engaging with the community in genuine and relevant ways, ensuring current and future generations care about and care for our shared natural resources.

    It might be helpful to think of the Standards of Excellence like a "flexible recipe." It describes the dish we're trying to make, shares the main ingredients, but there's flexibility in order, quantity, cook times, and what additional ingredients might make the dish even better. We invite you to learn more about this dish we call a "Connected Conservation Constituency" and would love to work with you in its creation.  

    Take a quick look at the 8 Standards of Excellence

    Take an in-depth look at the USFWS Urban Hub

  • Engage with Us

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    We have accepted the challenge of ensuring a future for wildlife, natural places, and human connection to nature. We invite you to join us in taking on this challenge. To engage with us and follow our progress, please contact us through any of these means:

    Urban Program Coordinator

    Kim Strassburg

    Urban Community Specialist

    Jenny de la Hoz

    Communications Specialist

    Patrick Stark

    Park Ranger

    Mesha Wood

    On Facebook

    Portland-Vancouver National Wildlife Refuges

Last Updated: Jul 27, 2016
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