Nature Center Talk: The Southwest’s First Urban Refuge

Jennifer Owen-White manages the first urban wildlife refuge in the Southwest, Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge. Courtesy/PEEC

PEEC News:

Urban green spaces offer people a reprieve from concrete and asphalt, but they also benefit wildlife. Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) is bringing Jennifer Owen-White, manager of the Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, to speak at no charge to the public at 7 p.m, Tuesday, Nov. 29 at the Los Alamos Nature Center. Owen-White will share the refuge’s history and future plans.

As the first urban wildlife refuge in the Southwest, Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge serves as an oasis for wildlife and people. Thanks to a community-wide effort, land that was once a dairy farm now is a place where people reconnect with the natural world. The refuge is also part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, a national network of lands and waters managed for the benefit of wildlife, habitat, and the public. This urban refuge also fulfills the goals of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative, an important legacy that will continue to help people and wildlife well into the future.

Owen-White is the first refuge manager of the new Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in Albuquerque. Valle de Oro is the first urban refuge in the Southwest and part of a larger push by U.S. Fish and Wildlife to reach urban audiences and connect them to the important habitats and wildlife that the Service protects. Before taking the position at Valle de Oro, she was the Refuge Manager at the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge and also served as the Visitor Service Manager for the South Texas Refuge Complex. Owen-White is proud to be both a biologist and visitor services specialist. She was born in Chicago, grew up in Houston, and has a B.S. in Biology as well as an M.S. in Wildlife Science from Texas Tech University. Owen-White is completing her Ph.D. in Forestry and Natural Resource Interpretation from Stephen F. Austin State University where she has focused on connecting urban communities to conservation and the outdoors.

This free talk will take place at the Los Alamos Nature Center at 2600 Canyon Road. No registration is required. For more information about this and other PEEC programs, visit www.peecnature.org, email programs@peecnature.org or call 505.662.0460.

PEEC was founded in 2000 to serve the community of Los Alamos. It offers people of all ages a way to enrich their lives by strengthening their connections to our canyons, mesas, mountains, and skies. PEEC operates the Los Alamos Nature Center at 2600 Canyon Road, holds regular programs and events, and hosts a number of interest groups from birding to hiking to butterfly watching. PEEC activities are open to everyone; however, members receive exclusive benefits such as discounts on programs and merchandise. Annual memberships start at $35. To learn more, visit www.peecnature.org.

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