Designated in September 2015, the Springfield Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership has joined the Service’s network of partners working to engage urban residents as partners in wildlife conservation. Springfield, Massachusetts has a well-established network of organizations engaged in community well-being and environmental sustainability. Partners such as ReGreen Springfield, the Springfield Science Museum, the U.S. Forest Service, Regenerative Designs Group and multiple local and regional partners will work with the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge to help the city’s residents make stronger connections to the outdoors, bring the health benefits of outdoor recreation to Springfield neighborhoods, achieve the purposes of Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, and advance the goals of the Service’s urban conservation program.The partnership envisions a linear approach to engaging youth that fosters an ever closer connection to the natural world and matches an individual’s level of interest over time: exposing elementary age children to environmental programming, offering more in-depth intermediate experiences through summer camps and the Youth Conservation Corps, developing mentoring relationships with individualsU.S. Fish & Wildlife Servicecontemplating natural resource careers, and offering internship opportunities within the larger network of natural resource professionals. More broadly, the partnership will offer enhanced access to a restored greenspace as a place to observe nature and a quiet space for reflection apart from the bustle of city life.This summer we have hired three college interns and 9 high school interns to engage in the restoration efforts of the Abbey Brook Conservation area in Springfield. The college interns will lead and mentor the high school students through a two week intensive work program, teaching them concepts of conservation, community engagement, empowerment and career options.