A young girl hooks her first fish at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
Flikr: Steve Hillebrand, USFWS
How can they get more connected?
Urban area wildlife refuges are a great way to expose children to nature and wildlife.
There are currently over 500 refuges spread across all 50 states, and 260 are near cities.
These eight refuges are all within 25 miles of a major city:
- Philadelphia: John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge
- Denver: Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge
- Minneapolis: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
- New Orleans: Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge
- Portland: Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge
- Seattle: Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
- San Francisco Bay Area: San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex
- San Diego Bay Area: San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex
The Fish and Wildlife Service make it easy to plan a trip to a nearby refuge. Just plug in your zip code to find a wildlife refuge near you.
Urban refuges aim to connect more kids to the wild
The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is working to expand its network of urban refuges to allow for greater access, especially for the younger generation.
"Refuge System visitor data indicates that millions of city residents are not making the nature connection. For many, the National Wildlife Refuge System is not a household name," according to the FWS.
To do so, they are also working to build partnerships with local agencies, much like The Wilderness Society does when working to protect these lands.
After all, it takes a village to connect a child to nature.