Trip idea: Getting kids out to urban wildlife refuges

A young girl hooks her first fish at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

Flikr: Steve Hillebrand, USFWS

It's sometimes said that children raised in urban environments often have a limited understanding of the environment that their city is a part of, including local waterways, wildlife and lands.

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:

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.

The Fish and Wildlife Service's Urban Wildlife Refuge Initiative seeks to improve existing urban refuges as well as to expand to include at least 10 targeted cities by 2015.

"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.

See also:

Why get youth outside?