Urban Connections

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Urban Connections is an outreach program in the Eastern Region of the USDA Forest Service. Formed in 2001, the program aims to engage urban communities and build relationships, better fulfilling the agency mission of “Caring for the Land and Serving People.”

The Forest Service has a long history of working with people who live near National Forests. While this is of great value to the agency, Urban Connections seeks to expand this involvement to residents of major metropolitan areas. The Eastern Region has 9 of the top 20 largest metropolitan areas in the country, making it uniquely positioned to connect with diverse and underserved citizens.

Today, Urban Connections staff are located in Boston, Detroit, and the Minneapolis/St. Paul area with additional programing in Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Louis. They connect urban residents with their public lands with the help of interagency partners, nonprofit organizations, and interested citizens. Together, Urban Connections and partners bring awareness of forests to urban residents and bring urban residents to their National Forests.

Over the years, Urban Connections has supported an array of programming aimed at promoting stewardship, encouraging involvement with nature, and even educating youth about careers in the Forest Service. Past programming has included participation at local events, a “skins and skulls” program for participants at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an interactive water quality lesson by the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe. The Urban Connections team is always open to new and diverse partnerships to expand programming. If you or your organization is interested in working with Urban Connections to bring forest awareness to your community, reach out to your nearest Urban Connections program specialist!


To grow and foster mutual relationships that connect urban residents and the Forest Service through the use and conservation of forests and green spaces.


  1. Sustain Our Nation’s Forests
  • Foster resilient, adaptive ecosystems to contribute to livable communities.
  • Communicate wildfire prevention messages.
  • Collaborate with communities to conserve open space.
  1. Deliver Benefits to the Public
  • Communicate the benefits of forests.
  • Strengthen communities.
  • Connect people to the outdoors.
  1. Excel as a High-Performing Agency
  • Serve as urban outreach specialists for the agency.
  • Assist with recruiting a diverse workforce.
  • Promote an inclusive culture.