Friends of Heinz Refuge

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA


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FOHR works in partnership with John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge to connect people with nature and promote a culture of environmental stewardship through education, outreach, service and nature-based recreation for the conservation of wildlife and habitat.

We envision a society that understands, appreciates, and takes responsibility for the natural world. We foresee significant and meaningful preservation of the natural world for current and future generations of people and wildlife.

About the Refuge
Nestled in the urban setting of Philadelphia, John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum is America's First Urban Refuge. It was established in 1972 for the purpose of preserving, restoring, and developing the natural area known as Tinicum Marsh, to promote environmental education, and to afford visitors an opportunity to study wildlife in its natural habitat.

The Heinz Refuge currently includes 993 acres of the 1,200 acres within its approved acquisition boundary. It protects over 200 acres of the last remaining freshwater tidal marsh in Pennsylvania. Wetlands, like Tinicum Marsh, support a broad diversity of plant and bird species while also acting as a natural sponge and filter to prevent flooding and remove pollutants.

What We Do

Over 150,000 people visit the refuge annually for environmental education programs, bird watching, hiking, kayaking, archery, fishing, and other outdoor recreation. The Heinz Refuge programs meet the Standards of Excellence for Urban National Wildlife Refuges by educating and engaging youth, engaging neighboring communities, creating corridors to nature, and bring nature into the city.

The refuge protects a variety of habitats for birds and has been designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. While most of the 300 plus avian species identified at the refuge utilize it as a migratory stopover, more than 80 species have been recorded nesting on the refuge over the years. Several species are also state listed as either threatened or endangered species or species of state or national management concern.


Candice T.

Board Member