Urban Naturalist Program

The NYBG Urban Naturalist Certificate Program equips you with the observation, identification, and documentation skills you need to become a citizen scientist and an effective environmental steward. Led by Mike Feller and a team of expert naturalists, you’ll use NYBG grounds and select New York City Parks as living labs to investigate the interrelationships between species and discover how our urban environment sustains those ecosystems. NYBG Urban Naturalists will learn to keenly observe the natural world using a variety of scientific tools. You’ll also create scientifically useful records—written, hand-drawn, and photographs—of your observations. Current NYBG Urban Naturalists are using the knowledge and skills they gained to develop their own projects, help manage invasive species in local parks, and document NYC plant species as volunteers in NYBG’s EcoFlora project.

Location Day/Night Instructor Sort Keywords  
Classes

September
With its wide variety of habitats and its position on the Atlantic Flyway, NYC is a bird lover's paradise. Over 300 distinct resident or migratory species live here or pass through, including many nesting species such as Peregrine Falcons, Red-tailed more...
09/25 Tu 10:00am-01:00pm Chaya
NYBG
Autumn is one of the most spectacular times to learn more about the native flora of the Northeast. Goldenrods and asters take center stage at this time of year, but can be difficult to identify. Equipped with a 10X power more...
09/27 Th 10:00am-01:00pm Slowik
NYBG
October
Amphibians represent the crucial evolutionary step between fish and land-dwelling animals. Elle Barnes and Nicole Fusco, whose doctoral research focuses on wild salamanders and frogs, will take you out on grounds to identify both terrestrial and aquatic amphibians living in more...
10/03 We 10:00am-01:00pm Barnes
Fusco
NYBG
Here in NYC, fall is the best time to hunt for edible fungi, including honey, oyster, and hen-of-the woods mushrooms. Paul Sadowski, 25-year veteran of the New York Mycological Society, will show you how to identify many species and their more...
10/04 Th 10:00am-01:00pm Sadowski
MDTN
In their twin projects Mannahatta and Welikia, Eric Sanderson and his team have spent decades researching, mapping, and reimagining the diverse ecosystems that blanketed New York City before Europeans arrived. In this interactive workshop, you'll work with both 18th-century maps more...
10/12 Fr 10:00am-01:00pm Sanderson, Ph. D
NYBG
Discover a variety of techniques that will help you create stunning photos of the birds you spot. Photographer Clay Taylor will discuss what type of light, vantage point, and gear will help you produce shots that are most true to more...
10/13 Sa 10:00am-02:00pm Taylor
NYBG
Every autumn, raptors, butterflies, and dragonflies hug the New England coast as they migrate south. When the wind comes from the northwest, migrants turn left over Pelham Bay Park, and thousands of hawks, falcons, osprey, and eagles can be seen more...
10/14 Su 10:00am-02:00pm Feller
OFS
Here in NYC, fall is the best time to hunt for edible fungi, including honey, oyster, and hen-of-the woods mushrooms. Paul Sadowski, 25-year veteran of the New York Mycological Society, will show you how to identify many species and their more...
10/17 We 10:00am-01:00pm Sadowski
NYBG
Take your naturalist game to the next level by learning how to sketch. Drawing-more than photography-asks you to slow down and closely observe what you see, which will help you identify unfamiliar species and investigate ecological connections. Botanical artist and more...
10/21 Su 10:00am-01:00pm Guida
NYBG
December
Trees may appear to be strong and silent, but they can "talk"—to one another, to other plants, and to animals and insects. Discover how trees communicate via chemical signals in the air (to warn each other of insect attacks), as more...
12/04 Tu 06:00pm-09:00pm Kutos
MDTN
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. Prerequisite: Introduction to Natural History
12/15 Sa 02:00pm-06:00pm Feller
OFS
January
From the field to the folder, this course covers the essentials of making museum- quality preserved plant specimens suitable for research, education, and decoration. Learn techniques and skills for collecting and preserving plants of your interest, wild or cultivated. Build more...
01/09 We 05:00pm-08:00pm Atha
Alli
NYBG
Learn to recognize the characteristics of native and common woody and herbaceous plants in the winter. While in their dormant, leafless state, trees and shrubs can be identified by bud types, leaf scars, fruit remnants, and other distinguishing marks. Specimens more...
01/11 Fr 10:00am-01:00pm Slowik
NYBG
February
Microscopic organisms are the hidden force behind so much in our lives. They make the weather and the soil; they live inside almost every one of our cells; they created the air we breathe. They are even a key to more...
02/09 Sa 11:00am-12:30pm Bone
NYBG
Rock pimples, fog fingers, old man's beard— their common names are amusing, but lichens are among Earth's most amazing and oldest living things, and display incredibly beautiful colors and shapes. They grow on bark, rock, and barren soil, and thrive more...
02/21 Th 06:00pm-09:00pm Lendemer, Ph.D.
MDTN