Urban Naturalist Classes

In this teeming metropolis we call home, nature is all around us whether we pause to carefully observe it or not. Amaranth springs through the cracks in our sidewalks; migrating warblers rest in our parks; horseshoe crabs scuttle onto our beaches to breed. As a NYBG Urban Naturalist, you will have a unique opportunity to explore these diverse habitats while discovering the keys that unlock their many secrets. Enroll in a course for fun or pursue a Certificate.

Click here for an overview of the Certificate Program.


October

Discover how trees communicate via chemical signals in the air (to warn of insect attacks) and transfer nutrients to one another through complex underground fungal networks (sometimes to assist sick trees).
232BOT385AO 10/11 Tu 6:00pm-8:00pm Kutos
ONLINE

The Bronx River, New York City's only freshwater river, teems with life! You'll learn the fundamental elements of our local riverine ecosystem, then get your hands wet placing leaf packs in the river to see what macroinvertebrates live there. In more...
232NAT359 10/13 Th 10:00am-1:00pm Chaya
NYBG

This is the class for plant-lovers eager to up their game! Learn the terminology and basic botanical nomenclature that will help you recognize and describe key differences in common plants.
232BOT308AO 10/14 Fr 10:00am-12:00pm Holmes
ONLINE

In NYC, fall is the best time to hunt for edible fungi. Paul Sadowski, 25-year veteran of the NY Mycological Society, will lead a mushroom hunt, and show you how to identify many species and their look-alikes, where to find more...
232BOT368 10/15 Sa 10:00am-1:00pm Sadowski
MDTN

Get the hang of using iNaturalist, a powerful digital tool that allows you to record and share your observations of the natural world with scientists and individuals worldwide, helping to gather data that is being used to better protect and more...
232NAT204 10/16 Su 11:00am-1:00pm Cummings
NYBG

Take your naturalist game to the next level by learning how to sketch. Drawing asks that you slow down and closely observe what you see, allowing you to identify unfamiliar species and investigate ecological connections. Focusing on trees, you'll learn more...
232NAT400O 10/16 Su 11:00am-12:30pm Leighton
ONLINE

Urban flora can be found in unlikely places, from city sidewalks and highway medians, to lawns and other man-made environments. Most of these plants are introduced and many are considered weeds. Explore their origins, life cycles, and benefits to the more...
232NAT332O 10/19 We 10:00am-12:00pm Slowik
ONLINE

Get a solid grounding in the basic plant body-from the cell to the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruit. We'll use dissecting and compound light microscopes to observe plant anatomy, then introduce the base-level chemistry required to understand the world more...
232BOT315AO 10/24 Mo 6:00pm-9:00pm Alim
ONLINE

November

Join NYBG lichenologist James Lendemer for an in-depth look at these important organisms, both in the classroom using a microscopes and on Garden grounds using a loupe. Find out how lichens get their color and how those colors can be more...
232BOT388 11/02 We 10:00am-1:00pm Lendemer, Ph.D.
NYBG

This is the class for plant-lovers eager to up their game! Learn the terminology and basic botanical nomenclature that will help you recognize and describe key differences in common plants.
232BOT308BO 11/03 Th 5:30pm-7:30pm Holmes
ONLINE

Take a deep dive into the history and modern-day uses of trees found in the tri-state area, from American elm to white pine. On this walk and talk, we will discuss 12 species and how the specific ecology and wood more...
232NAT206 11/10 Th 10:00am-1:00pm O'Brien
NYBG

Discover the many herbs and spices prized for centuries to heal, to revitalize the immune system, and to treat and prevent asthma, insomnia, flu, and more.
232BOT346AO 11/12 Sa 10:00am-12:00pm Candee
ONLINE

Urbanization is changing biodiversity, interspecies relationships, and even animal behavior, in the tri-state area and beyond. Liz Johnson, former manager of AMNH's Metropolitan Biodiversity Program, will introduce you to the particular habitats found here, as well as plants and animals more...
232NAT338AO 11/29 Tu 6:00pm-8:00pm Johnson
ONLINE

December

Discover how trees communicate via chemical signals in the air (to warn of insect attacks) and transfer nutrients to one another through complex underground fungal networks (sometimes to assist sick trees).
232BOT385BO 12/06 Tu 6:00pm-8:00pm Kutos
ONLINE

January

In class and in forays around the Garden, you'll learn to recognize the winter characteristics of native and common woody plants by bud types, leaf scars, fruit remnants, and other distinguishing marks.
233BOT332 01/13 Fr 10:00am-1:00pm Slowik
NYBG

Fascinating adaptations, galls are highly modified tissues in plants caused by arthopods, fungi, viruses, or bacteria. Surprisingly little is known about the biology and ecology of galls, making them a prime topic for naturalists to study. This class will focus more...
233NAT213O 01/18 We 6:30pm-8:30pm Butler
ONLINE

Discover how trees communicate via chemical signals in the air (to warn of insect attacks) and transfer nutrients to one another through complex underground fungal networks (sometimes to assist sick trees).
233BOT385CO 01/21 Sa 10:00am-12:00pm Kutos
ONLINE

Get a solid grounding in the basic plant body-from the cell to the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruit. We'll use dissecting and compound light microscopes to observe plant anatomy, then introduce the base-level chemistry required to understand the world more...
233BOT315BO 01/23 Mo 6:00pm-9:00pm Alim
ONLINE

This is the class for plant-lovers eager to up their game! Learn the terminology and basic botanical nomenclature that will help you recognize and describe key differences in common plants.
233BOT308CO 01/24 Tu 5:30pm-7:30pm Holmes
ONLINE

Among Earth's most amazing and oldest living organisms, lichens grow on bark, rock, and barren soil. They thrive in rain forests, deserts, the arctic-even environments simulating Mars! Lichens are sensitive environmental indicators, yet scientists are only just beginning to understand more...
233BOT313A 01/24 Tu 6:00pm-9:00pm Lendemer, Ph.D.
MDTN

While plants enjoy their winter's sleep, many fungi are active in forests and parks. We'll explore table favorites like Enoke and Oysters in class and in their habitats.
233BOT394 01/26 Th 10:00am-1:00pm Sadowski
NYBG

February

This is the class for plant-lovers eager to up their game! Learn the terminology and basic botanical nomenclature that will help you recognize and describe key differences in common plants.
233BOT308DO 02/04 Sa 10:00am-12:00pm Holmes
ONLINE

Coyotes, bears, and deer are becoming an integral part of urban life due to the extirpation of their predators and conversion of natural habitats. We will look closely at these species and discover how they have adapted to co-exist with more...
233NAT326O 02/08 We 6:00pm-8:00pm Herrera
ONLINE

Among Earth's most amazing and oldest living organisms, lichens grow on bark, rock, and barren soil. They thrive in rain forests, deserts, the arctic-even environments simulating Mars! Lichens are sensitive environmental indicators, yet scientists are only just beginning to understand more...
233BOT313B 02/16 Th 10:00am-1:00pm Lendemer, Ph.D.
NYBG

Get a solid grounding in the basic plant body-from the cell to the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruit. We'll use dissecting and compound light microscopes to observe plant anatomy, then introduce the base-level chemistry required to understand the world more...
233BOT315CO 02/21 Tu 6:00pm-9:00pm Kutos
ONLINE

Urbanization is changing biodiversity, interspecies relationships, and even animal behavior, in the tri-state area and beyond. Liz Johnson, former manager of AMNH's Metropolitan Biodiversity Program, will introduce you to the particular habitats found here, as well as plants and animals more...
233NAT338BO 02/23 Th 10:00am-12:00pm Johnson
ONLINE

Discover the fascinating traits that most frogs, toads, and salamanders share-such as having thin, smooth skins through which they can breathe-as well as what makes them unique. You'll pick up tips to identify local species by sight and/or sound and more...
233NAT347O 02/28 Tu 6:00pm-8:00pm Johnson
ONLINE

March

Discover how trees communicate via chemical signals in the air (to warn of insect attacks) and transfer nutrients to one another through complex underground fungal networks (sometimes to assist sick trees).
233BOT385DO 03/02 Th 6:00pm-8:00pm Kutos
ONLINE

This is the class for plant-lovers eager to up their game! Learn the terminology and basic botanical nomenclature that will help you recognize and describe key differences in common plants.
233BOT308EO 03/04 Sa 10:00am-12:00pm Holmes
ONLINE

Discover the many herbs and spices prized for centuries to heal, to revitalize the immune system, and to treat and prevent asthma, insomnia, flu, and more.
233BOT346BO 03/04 Sa 10:00am-12:00pm Candee
ONLINE

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...
233GAR360O 03/13 Mo 10:30am-12:30pm Bakshi
ONLINE

April

Learn to identify the native and naturalized trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Northeast by their vegetative characteristics using their scientific and common names. You'll also hone your ability to use taxonomic keys and field guides.
234BOT375BL 04/11 Tu 6:00pm-8:00pm Kaechele
BLENDED