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.


September

This group of plants challenges even trained botanists, but with expert guidance, you can learn how to identify wild native grasses and some of the more popular landscaping ones. Sedges (Cyperaceae) and rushes (Juncaceae), often confused with grasses (Poaceae), are more...
201BOT319 09/22 Su 10:00am-2:30pm Alvarez
NYBG

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...
201GAR360A 09/25 We 10:30am-12:30pm Bakshi
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...
201BOT331A 09/28 Sa 10:00am-1:00pm Holmes
NYBG

October

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, shows you how to identify many species and their look-alikes, more...
202BOT368A 10/01 Tu 10:00am-1:00pm Sadowski
MDTN

Join NYBG lichenologist James Lendemer for an in-depth look at these amazing and important fungi. Use microscopes to observe and distinguish species common in the New York City area. Find out how lichens get their color and how those colors more...
202BOT388 10/02 We 10:00am-1:00pm Lendemer, 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...
202GWP279 10/05 Sa 10:00am-2:00pm Taylor
NYBG

Explore the myriad structures and life cycles of the vast diversity of plants, algae, fungi, and bacteria. Delve into the evolutionary reasons behind how and why scientists have divided and classified these organisms. We will also discuss biomes and ecological more...
202BOT317A 10/07 Mo 5:00pm-8:00pm Boyer, Ph.D.
NYBG

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 Hawks, more...
202NAT321B 10/07 Mo 10:00am-1:00pm Chaya
MDTN

The fascinating lives of bats are revealed courtesy of J. Alan Clark, Ph.D., co-author of Bats in the Bronx, a recent study of five local bat species. After brief lecture, we will venture onto NYBG's grounds using handheld equipment to more...
202NAT329 10/09 We 6:30pm-8:30pm Clarke, Ph. D.
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...
202BOT331B 10/10 Th 10:00am-1:00pm Slowik
NYBG

Last May the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) published its comprehensive, landmark report on the state of our natural world — and its implications for species, ecosystems, and society are dire.

Vital ecosystems are deteriorating more more...
202GAR817 10/10 Th 6:00pm-8:00pm Watson
CHRISTIES

Revel in the colors and sounds of autumn and complete the first three classes in our Urban Naturalist Program in just four weeks!

Introduction to Natural History
Naturalists are keen observers of the world around them and have played an more...
202NAT318 10/10 Th 10:00am-1:00pm Slowik
Risdon-Nugent
Chaya
NYBG

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! Learn how to identify plants and animals using a 10x hand lens, dichotomous more...
202NAT300B 10/15 Tu 10:00am-1:00pm Risdon-Nugent
NYBG

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 Hawks, more...
202NAT321A 10/16 We 10:00am-1:00pm Chaya
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, shows you how to identify many species and their look-alikes, more...
202BOT368B 10/18 Fr 10:00am-1:00pm Sadowski
NYBG

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...
202GAR360B 10/24 Th 6:15pm-8:15pm Bakshi
MDTN

November

Share your passion for nature by learning to lead interactive walks that engage diverse audiences. We'll discuss how to break down complex ecological concepts into digestible pieces, as well as how to encourage participation while keeping your group focused. Build more...
202NAT324 11/03 Su 1:00pm-4:00pm Boyer, Ph.D.
NYBG

A recent UN report predicts that climate change, invasive species, pollution, and other anthropogenic disturbances will have a disastrous effect on biodiversity worldwide. Any careful observer of nature in our region has witnessed significant changes to our local flora over more...
202HRT839 11/15 Fr 10:00am-3:30pm Tallamy
Westbrooks
Sears, Ph.D.
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...
202BOT385A 12/03 Tu 6:00pm-9:00pm Kutos
MDTN

January

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 TBA
MDTN

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

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
Alli
NYBG

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
NYBG

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
NYBG

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
MDTN

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
MDTN

February

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...
203BOT315S 02/03 Mo 5:00pm-8:00pm Boyer, Ph.D.
NYBG

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...
203BOT394B 02/11 Tu 10:00am-1:00pm Sadowski
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...
203BOT313B 02/20 Th 6:00pm-9:00pm Lendemer, Ph.D.
MDTN

Discover how 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 which more...
203NAT338 02/27 Th 11:00am-1:00pm Johnson
NYBG

March

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...
203BOT346C 03/01 Su 10:00am-2:30pm Candee
NYBG

Angiosperms (flowering plants) are the dominant plants in most of the world's habitats today. Through laboratory demonstrations and dissections, examine the morphology of flowers, fruits, and vegetative plant parts. You'll also learn about the development of these structures. Prerequisite: Plant more...
203BOT431S 03/09 Mo 12:00pm-3:10pm Alvarez
NYBG

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...
203GAR360C 03/09 Mo 6:15pm-8:15pm Bakshi
MDTN

Are you a plant-lover eager to up your game and start distinguishing one species from another? Then this is the class for you! Using commonly known plants, you'll learn the terminology used to describe their growing habits and structures. This more...
203BOT308B 03/11 We 5:00pm-8:00pm Barnes
MDTN

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...
203BOT315B 03/19 Th 5:00pm-8:00pm Fusco
NYBG

May

Urban flora can be found growing in unlikely places, from city sidewalks and highway medians to lawns, and other man-made structures. Most of these plants are introduced and many are considered weeds. We will hear more about their origins, life more...
204NAT332 05/20 We 10:00am-1:00pm Slowik
NYBG

June

Learn to measure and monitor the ecological diversity observed and celebrated in and around New York City environs. Practice using field techniques for recording observations in nature while walking along trails in the Garden. Explore the biodiversity within your chosen more...
204NAT323 06/03 We 10:00am-1:00pm Slowik
NYBG