National Wildlife Refuge System

Fostering a Connection to Nature in Providence, RI

Wetland Restoration
Young people are engaged in planting and restoring habitat at Riverside Park in Providence, RI.
Credit: USFWS

May 7, 2014 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially designated Providence Parks Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership, a collaborative project in Rhode Island, as one of its first eight urban partnerships. With 80 percent of Americans living in cities, the initiative aims to meet children and families where they live and work to nurture an appreciation of wildlife conservation and foster a better understanding of the role of the Service and the Refuge System in conserving natural resources.

The urban partnerships “provide a way to reach beyond the traditional boundaries of our national wildlife refuges to connect with urban communities across the country,” wrote Service Director Dan Ashe in his blog blog.

The Service announced a $50,000 grant to the Providence Parks partnership, which includes the city’s 100 neighborhood parks and the state’s conservation organizations. The grant will help leverage funding and technical support for wildlife habitats, nature trails, interpretive signs, youth involvement and a conservation program coordinator.
“I am pleased Rhode Island’s application was chosen for this competitive award,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island. “Providence is a bustling city with a diverse population and a diverse park system.”
In an effort to connect school children and families with nature where they live, partners will work with schools and conservation groups to restore and maintain wildlife habitats, build nature trails and interpretive signs and provide environmental education programs. Many of the activities will take place in one of the more than 100 existing and accessible parks in Providence, some of which are located along rivers, greenway bike paths and fish ladders.
Under the partnership, the Service will work with neighborhood groups to train seasonal interns in visitor services, invasive species management, habitat restoration, endangered species recovery and environmental education.
The partnership seeks to provide a conservation message in urban areas and bring school groups and families out to the Providence Parks, Rhode Island national wildlife refuges and other conservation areas in the state to engage in wildlife conservation activities. In addition to Providence parks, other partners include The Nature Conservancy, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, the Roger Williams Park Zoo, the Theodore Francis Green State Airport and many others.
Creating a growing urban presence and connecting youth with nature is a priority for the Service and its conservation partners.


The Providence Parks Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership encourages families and school children to visit the city's 100 neighborhood parks and Rhode Island's national wildlife refuges.
Credit: USFWS

Latest details and updates about the Providence partnership here.
Information on other Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships here.
Providence Parks Partnership Fact Sheet



Last updated: May 14, 2014