Urban Naturalist Classes

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 Nancy Slowik 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.

Click here  for an overview of the Certificate and required courses and electives.


Get a solid grounding in the basic plant body, from the cell to the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits. After an overview of microscope use and fundamental science in the first session, you'll use both dissecting and compound light more...
203BOT315A 01/08 We 6:00pm-9:00pm Barnes

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...
203BOT332 01/10 Fr 10:00am-1:00pm Slowik

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...
203BOT313A 01/13 Mo 6:00pm-9:00pm Lendemer, Ph.D.

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...
203BOT338 01/14 Tu 4:30pm-7:30pm Atha

Botanical Latin is essential for anyone with a serious interest in identifying plants. But, contrary to popular belief, mastering Latin plant names need not be intimidating or boring. Review the rules of taxonomy, Latin grammar, and pronunciation, and learn the more...
203GAR360A 01/16 Th 10:30am-12:30pm Bakshi

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...
203BOT385B 01/22 We 10:00am-1:00pm Barnes

Even after many plants have begun their long winter's sleep, fungi are still very active. For some species like Velvet Foot and Turkey Tail, winter is high time! Enoki and Oyster Mushrooms can be found in our forests and parks. more...
203BOT394A 01/23 Th 10:00am-1:00pm Sadowski

For centuries herbs and spices have been prized not just for their flavors, but as state-of-the-art medicine. Learn about a variety of plants historically used for first aid, to revitalize the immune system, and to treat and prevent asthma, insomnia, more...
203BOT346B 01/25 Sa 10:00am-2:30pm Anthony
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