Urban Naturalist Program

The NYBG Urban Naturalist Program will equip you with the observation, identification, and documentation skills you need to become a citizen scientist and an effective environmental steward. Our team of experienced naturalists will use the NYBG’s grounds and select NYC City Parks as living labs to investigate the interrelationships between species and discover how our urban environment sustains those ecosystems.

To become an official NYBG Urban Naturalist, you must complete each of these required classes: Foundations, Woodlands, and Waterways. Within a month of completing your third class, you must submit an in-depth study of a “patch” (natural spot) of your choosing. Your study will include the geology and human history of your patch, a survey of the plants and animals found there, and a plan for how the site can be improved to benefit the landscape and community.  Choose from individual classes or the six-week Fall Intensive below.

Location Day/Night Instructor Sort Keywords  


Explore the rocky coastline in search of harbor seals basking in the sun, loons, and other wintering waterfowl. Then move into the woods to try to spot the owls' "fly out" at dusk.
12/16 Sa 01:00pm-05:00pm Feller
Enhance your ability to identify and understand the complex relationships among the diverse plants and animals that live in our city's woodlands and forests. Document how January's leafless trees unveil a distinctive winter suite of birds for whom our city more...
01/17 We 10:00am-02:00pm Slowik
Naturalists are keen observers of the world around them and have played an integral role in the evolution of scientific thought. Now, you can be one too! With the help of expert naturalists, hone your ability to identify plants and more...
01/20 Sa 10:00am-02:00pm Feller

Study the birds that winter in New York City with Ken Chaya, including hooded mergansers, bufflehead ducks, and other species (snow geese if we're lucky!).
02/03 Sa 10:00am-02:00pm Chaya