Discover America’s First Urban Refuge: Heinz Wildlife Refuge

Weekend Tour

The John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum was established on the foundation of community action in 1972 to protect Pennsylvania’s largest remaining freshwater tidal marsh (an imperiled ecosystem) and provide environmental education and outdoor recreational experiences to the public. In 2014, the refuge was identified by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as a Priority Urban Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is known widely as a destination for bird watching on the mid-Atlantic coast. Over the years, however, the refuge has expanded its focus to serve as a habitat for the benefit of both people and wildlife. The community surrounding the refuge has been stressed with the impacts of nearby landfills, Philadelphia International Airport, and Interstate 95, as well as limited resources.

Join us on this interactive tour to discover how the refuge is building deeper relationships with Southwest Philadelphia communities, working with residents and partners to provide paid work experiences for youth, programming and community enhancement projects, training in outdoor skills, and curriculum-based environmental education for community schools. Starting at the visitor center, Wildlife refuge staff will take you on a journey of the history of the refuge to today’s community-focused priorities. You’ll then be able to choose from either a guided nature hike of key features, habitat types, and wildlife or a guided vehicle tour of key locations within the refuge and two sites in Southwest Philadelphia. Finally, we’ll regroup and take aim with our experienced archery crew to hone your shooting skills with a compound or recurved bow!

Tour Leaders

Lamar Gore

Refuge Manager, John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum