National Wildlife Week: Urban Wildlife Finds a Home in Albuquerque

Sandhill crane
Sandhill crane photographed by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Kathy Urbach

There is a 100-year tradition of protecting public lands in Albuquerque, stemming from the time Aldo Leopold spent there, as recounted in his classic book of essays A Sand County Almanac. Aldo Leopold helped create both the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and the Albuquerque Wildlife Federation, which continue working today to protect our public lands and wildlife habitat, most recently by advocating for the establishment of the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, the Southwest’s first urban wildlife refuge, which provides a home for amazing resident and migratory wildlife like the majestic sandhill crane, Cooper’s hawks, black bears and more.

This urban refuge hopes to draw even more people to its oasis as part of President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park initiative, which will allow families from across the country to enjoy New Mexico’s stunning vistas and resident wildlife.

To date, 431 acres of former agricultural land along the Rio Grande have been protected for the wildlife refuge just south of downtown. This urban haven for wildlife will eventually encompass 570 acres, becoming a place to enjoy wildlife and spend time in nature within the state’s largest community and within an easy drive of half the state’s population.

Related: A Shining Jewel: El Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

Want to help keep these public lands beautiful? Join the Albuquerque Wildlife Federation’s volunteer projects to help preserve this stunning habitat for today and future uses.

Albuquerque was recently named one of the Top 10 Cities for Wildlife as part of the National Wildlife Week 2015 Celebration. Did your city make the grade?