The NYBG Urban Naturalist Certificate Program will equip you with the observation, interpretation and documentation skills necessary to become a citizen scientist and an effective environmental steward. Led by Mike Feller, our team of expert naturalists, including Ken Chaya and Nancy Slowik, 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.
This five-week program focuses on vascular and non-vascular plants, invertebrates and vertebrates of New York City's uplands and coastal wetland ecosystems, emphasizing the critical conservation issues facing each locale.
During the course, students will:
• Carefully observe the natural world using all five senses.
• Use scientific tools, including a metric ruler, loupe, dichotomous key, and binoculars, to identify plant and animal species.
• Create scientifically useful written descriptions and photographic records of observation.
• Interpret nature by leading walks, uploading to iNaturalist or NYBG's New York City EcoFlora project, or presenting independent observations and experiences.
• Explore phylogeny and genetic connections using the Tree of Life.
• Identify key environmental conservation issues that affect New York City.
• Hear specialized talks by renowned Garden scientists.
The Program takes place three times a week for five weeks. Weekday classes combine lectures and hands-on activities on the Garden grounds, while Saturday classes take place in the field. Spring excursions will include extensive work in the Thain Family Forest, near the Bronx River, Central Park, and Pelham Bay Park, among others.
Wednesdays, 4/19—5/17, 10am–1pm
Thursdays, 4/20—5/18, 10am–1pm,
Saturday, 4/22, 2pm–8pm, &
Saturdays, 4/29—5/20, 10am–4pm