You might wonder what an Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership is and how Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge and your Friends of Iroquois organization is involved with this program. After all, Iroquois is in rural Basom NY, thirty-six miles from downtown Buffalo!
To explain, an Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership is an innovative community centered model whereby the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Community and Partners, (i.e. The Friends of Iroquois) come together to promote conservation in or near cities, where 80% of Americans live. If we want to reach more people with our message, go to where the people are, right? We have teamed up with the Iroquois NWR, Groundwork Buffalo, Inc., Michigan Street African-American Heritage Corridor, Great Lakes Experience and Groundwork USA to participate in a partnership that seeks to understand Buffalo’s unique conservation issues in the Michigan Street Corridor. We will seek customized approaches to address these needs to help fish, wildlife and people. To that end, in 2019, we participated in the development of the Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships Business Plan for Region 5.
The partnership goal is to help people get outside and plug into nature, building a generation of outdoor enthusiasts who will promote long-term conservation.
The Friends of Iroquois took a big step toward contributing to this partnership by funding the beautiful new Environmental Education Trailer that will house the portable educational modules that will be used for the partnership programs.
The future success of conservation is dependent on public awareness and support. The partnership will take advantage of the opportunity to build that awareness with our immediate neighbors and become relevant to the daily lives of an ethnically and racially diverse audience. For more information, the Standards of Excellence for all Urban National Wildlife Refuges can be accessed at https://www.fws.gov/urban/soe.php