National Wildlife Refuge System

Urban Refuge Initiative

Sandhill cranes thrive in the wetlands of Bitter Lake Refuge, NM
John Heinz Refuge at Tinicum, PA
Credit: USFWS

Advancing implementation of the Conserving the Future vision, the Urban Wildlife Refuge Initiative implementation team is having three days of one-on-one meetings with a host of NGOs to learn about initiatives that already engage urban residents and identify possible collaborations that could introduce wildlife refuges to millions of people.  The meetings are being held June 26-29.

More than 260 wildlife refuges are within traveling distance of small cities; eight refuges are within 25 miles of population centers of three million. But Refuge System visitor data indicate that millions of city residents are not making the nature connection.  For many, the National Wildlife Refuge System is not a household name.  The Urban Wildlife Refuge Initiative seeks to expand the Refuge System’s presence in at least 10 cities. 

Among the organizations that will be talking with the Urban Wildlife Refuge Initiative team are representatives of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies; the Trust for Public Land, which actively supports city parks; and the National Wildlife Federation, which has “Green Hour,” an online resources that helps parents make outdoor play part of everyday life for their youngsters.  Others talking with the team are National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, Student Conservation Association and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

For more information about the Conserving the Future vision, visit

Last updated: June 27, 2012