URBAN NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE DAY | SEPTEMBER 29
On September 29, Urban National Wildlife Refuge Day celebrates the 101 urban national wildlife refuges in the United States. That is nearly 1/5 of the country’s total refuges.
To be defined as an urban national wildlife refuge, the unit must be within 25 miles of an urban area of 250,000 people or greater. These refuges provide communities with access to substantial green space for outdoor recreation including hiking, bird watching, canoeing, fishing, and hunting. They also offer a wealth of educational opportunities. Over 80% of the U.S. population lives in urban areas. Having access to a wildlife area not only offers recreational activities but also improves our quality of life.
The first urban national wildlife refuge established in the United States was the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Established in 1972, the 1000-acre refuge also includes a 285-acre freshwater tidal marsh. Refuges like this offer opportunities to see wildlife up close and personal. Since then, the U.S. Department of Interior has designated 100 more urban wildlife refuges in more than 30 states.
The day encourages us to explore the wildlife refuges near where we live. Enjoy nature at its best while hiking or canoeing. Take in the beauty and breathe in the fresh air.
HOW TO OBSERVE URBAN WILDLIFE REFUGE DAY
On Urban National Wildlife Refuge Day, explore the trails or drop a fishing line into the water. Access the educational opportunities the refuge near you offers. Many refuges include:
- Wildlife demonstrations
- Resource management and conservation, including threatened and endangered species
- Horseback riding, hiking, bicycling or birding
- Nature or cultural activities
- Volunteer opportunities
- Picnic areas
- Interpretive centers
- Nature photography opportunities
Join the conversation by using #UrbanNationalWildlifeRefugeDay when you post your activities, too!
URBAN NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE DAY HISTORY
The United States Congress first proclaimed Urban National Wildlife Refuge Day to be observed in 2018.