By Hadas Kuznits
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum has received a boost to their operating budget.
Dan Ashe, Director of US Fish and Wildlife services, says they’re now calling this space a “million dollar refuge.”
“So it’s not a one time grant. It’s a million dollars that’s being added here year after year,” said Ashe, who adds the money comes from Congress.
Ashe says pumping money into urban wildlife conservation centers brings the environmental message to the masses, “because most people live in cities! In the United States 8 in 10 people live in urban or suburban environments, so it’s important for us to reach into cities.”
He adds, being in nature is crucial for people’s physical and emotional well-being, saying: “The more we’re learning about the science of our connection to the outdoors; there are great benefits! Kids that are in the outdoors do better in school, they have better graduation records, they tend to have higher college admission and attendance, less disease.”
Refuge manager Lamar Gore says they’d also like to use the funds to develop abandoned lots in Philadelphia’s communities:
“We want to educate kids on not only wildlife, but the habitat they live in and how do you as a citizen interact with these spaces?,” said Gore.