Photo of downtown Denver taken from Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.

Working with Urban Communities

To create a modern conservation legacy, second only to Theodore Roosevelt, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is deploying an innovative community-centered model in and near cities where 80% of Americans live. We work to understand individual conservation issues as they affect the interests of local communities. Then the Service deploys customized approaches to address these needs to help fish, wildlife and people.

The Challenge:

With 80% of Americans living in cities, how do we help people get outside when they spend so much time indoors and plugged in? How can the Service be a good neighbor, inspire the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts, and ensure long-term conservation?


The Answer:

The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program (UWCP) understands that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to fish and wildlife conservation. To inspire the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts, the Service maximizes activities and partnerships that recruit, reactivate and retain outdoor recreation users in high population areas. To become a community asset, the Service is addressing barriers and improving access to the outdoors.

The UWCP developed a framework, called the Standards of Excellence, used to build a program at urban national wildlife refuges and urban partnerships, which establishes a refuge presence in demographically and geographically varied cities across the U.S.


Standards of Excellence for Urban Refuges

Excellence may be achieved through eight standards that serve as a framework for collaboration between the Service and urban communities on and off Service lands.


Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships

Working with a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office, Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships are located in communities where the Service can establish a presence in demographically and geographically varied cities in the U.S.


Know Your Community - An Urban Audience Analysis

An underlying need for working with communities is a better understanding of the factors that facilitate or inhibit connecting urban audiences with wildlife and nature.

Standards of Excellence

Photo of Nekton sampling during SMI training. Photo Credit: Katrina Papanastassiou/USFWS

Where We Are

Children holding Get Your Goose On! flags at Togiak National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Alaska.

Know Your Community

Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. Credit: USFWS
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.
Last modified: March 18, 2019
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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