Eyes on Wildlife, the Forest Service's Watchable Wildlife
Program, is a recreation, education, and conservation program
that was developed by the USDA Forest Service in 1988 as
a part of the Wildlife, Fish, and Rare Plant Program.
You can find locations for viewing wildlife, plants and fish through our NatureWatch "Viewing Sites" website at www.fs.fed.us/outdoors/naturewatch/.
Program goals and objectives
Eyes on Wildlife facilitates habitat management and improvements
for wildlife viewing on National Forests and Grasslands.
The purpose of the program is to: provide enhanced opportunities
for all people to experience wildlife; promote learning
about forest animals and plants and their habitat requirements;
and develop broad public support of conservation that maintains
healthy ecosystems for all plant and animal species.
Program sponsors and partners
USDA Forest Service, nine Federal agencies, a state coalition,
and three conservation groups are signed onto a formal national
Watchable Wildlife Memorandum of Understanding.
The Eyes on Wildlife program is for children of all ages,
school children K-6th, and for the adult population of recreationists,
wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, hikers, and wildlife
Audience reached (size, demographics)
Wildlife viewing is a rapidly growing activity among Americans.
The demand for information, facilities, and services to
accommodate wildlife viewing activities and the need for
associated educational and conservation programs is significant.
The 1991 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife
Associated Recreation conducted by the US. Fish and Wildlife
Service, showed that 74% of the US. population 16 and over
participated in some form of viewing, feeding, or photography
as a recreational activity in 1991, compared to 55% in 1980.
By the year 2040 - current levels of use (33 million viewing
days on Forest Service lands alone) are predicted to increase
In a survey of Minnesota corporations, 78% of the respondents
(66% of whom were CEOs) said they would contribute to the
Minnesota Endangered Resources Partnership. Respondents
listed "creation of educational programs" as one
of four top projects they would like to support with their
Program history and trends
Eyes on Wildlife was developed in 1988 by the Denver Regional
Office staff of the Forest service's Rocky Mountain Region.
Identified as one of the Forest Service's "Get Wild!"
emphasis areas in 1988, the Eyes on Wildlife program first
received Congressional funding in FY 1990. Involvement and
commitment in this program area has steadily grown through
- Signing a MOU between the Forest Service
and Defenders of Wildlife providing a full-time coordinator
position within the Forest Service responsible for helping
develop state wildlife viewing guides.
- The Forest Service investment of $0.8
million toward State Wildlife Viewing Guides leveraged
another $1.7 million from other Federal, State, nonprofit,
and for profit partners.
- Developed wildlife viewing ethics brochure,
poster, and video.
- The annual national Watchable Wildlife
conference, sponsored in part by the Forest Service, draws
hundreds of people from federal and state agencies and
Significant Program Studies and Evaluations:
1993: The Forest Service's National Recreation Survey and
the National Survey on Recreation and the Environment.
1994: "Americans and Wildlife Diversity: Public Opinion,
Attitudes, Interest and Participation in Wildlife Viewing
and Wildlife Diversity Programs" By Mark Duda
Celebrating Wild Flowers