The National Wildlife Refuge System of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a long history of connecting people with nature. Increased conservation challenges coupled with societal changes pose challenging new questions for the Refuge System. The future success of conservation in America ultimately depends on the ability to inspire its citizenry to connect with the outdoors and to become stewards of the environment. With over 80% of Americans living in urban areas, spending less time outdoors, and becoming more ethnically and racially diverse, how do refuges become relevant in their daily lives? While challenging, urban areas present a strategic opportunity to reach new audiences. The goal of the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program is to engage urban communities in wildlife conservation as partners. The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program defines excellence in existing urban refuges, establishes the framework for creating new urban refuge partnerships, and is implementing a refuge presence in demographically and geographically varied cities across America. This paper outlines the Service’s approach to achieve this goal, the social science that is informing these efforts, and lessons learned thus far from research findings at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.
Sexton, Natalie R.; Ross-Winslow, Danielle; Pradines, Marcia; and Dietsch, Alia M.
"The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program: Building a Broader Conservation Community,"
Cities and the Environment (CATE):
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cate/vol8/iss1/3