City Nature Challenge 2018

What is It?

The New York City Nature Challenge is part of a global campaign to bring together nature lovers of all ages in the greenspaces of their communities to record examples of urban wildlife with smartphones.

Throughout April 27-30, public parks, preservation societies, gardens and other natural organizations around New York City’s five boroughs will host City Nature Challenge events that are open to all.

After observation days have ended, the iNaturalist community will help properly identify and catalog the species in a marathon tech session. Final results will be announced by iNaturalist (and on this page) on May 7.

 

Why is Citizen Science Important?

Citizen science demonstrates that science is for everyone and can be done by anyone. Participating in scientific efforts helps to improve science literacy for all. City Nature Challenge contributes to our understanding of urban wildlife in New York City and the planet as a whole.

 

Volunteer Opportunities

For as little as 3 hours (and a brief training) students can receive community service credit for volunteering. There will be convenient locations throughout the city. MORE

 

Participating Parks

There will opportunities in all each of the five boroughs for New Yorkers of any age to participate in the City Nature Challenge. This list will be updated as other organizations become involved.

 

Events on Friday, April 27th

City Nature Challenge, Van Cortlandt Park
Date: Friday, April 27, 2018
Time: 9:00am – 12:00pm
Host: NYBG
Location: Van Cortlandt Park, Jerome Wetland Walk
Description: The Jerome Wetland Walk is a wetland trail around a rare Sweetgum/Red Maple swamp containing the largest population of the globally endangered Pumpkin Ash (Fraxinus profunda) in New York state.
RSVP: Free event, no RSVP necessary. Meet at intersection of Jerome and Bainbridge Avenues, under the Woodlawn Station on the 4 train. Trip leader: Daniel Atha.


City Nature Challenge, Seton Falls Park
Date: Friday, April 27, 2018
Time: 2:00pm – 6:00 pm
Host: NYBG
Location: Seton Falls Park
Description: Seton Falls Park contains a thriving wetland as well as a forest largely undisturbed since the American Revolution. Together these ecosystems provide habitat to over 30 species of bird. https://www.nycgovparks.org/greening/nature-preserves/site?FWID=47
RSVP: Free event, no RSVP necessary. Meet at the intersection of Seton Avenue and E 233rd St. Trip leader: Daniel Atha.

CNC Info Table at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens 
Date: Friday, April 27, 2018 
Time: TBD 
Host: Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park 
Location: TBD 
Description: The CNC info table will be operating to help any visitors with questions about how to use iNaturalist to participate in the City Nature Challenge.

CNC Info Table at Greenbelt Nature Center, Staten Island 
Date: Friday, April 27, 2018 
Time: 2pm-4pm 
Host: Greenbelt Nature Center 
Location: 700 Rockland Ave, Staten Island 
Description: The Greenbelt is a 2800 acre oasis of natural areas, featuring nearly 35 miles of hiking trails, nestled in the heart of Staten Island. The Greenbelt Nature Center, which opened in June 2004, is a gateway to the Greenbelt, offering trail maps, guided hikes, public programs, class trips, events, and private parties, serving over 20,000 people a year. Jessica R. Kratz is the coordinator of the Greenbelt Nature Center and loves to introduce visitors to the wonders of the forest, particularly the amphibians that appear near our vernal pools each spring. The CNC info table will be operating to help any visitors with questions about how to use iNaturalist to participate in the City Nature Challenge. 

 

Events on Saturday, April 28th

Arbor Day Hike at Crotona Park 
Date: Saturday, April 28, 2018 
Time: 1pm 
Host: Urban Park Rangers 
Location: Crotona Park Nature Center (Charlotte Street and Crotona Park East) 
Description: Join the Urban Park Rangers for a hike in Crotona Park!


City Nature Challenge, Pelham Bay Park
Date: Saturday, April 28, 2018
Time: 10:00am – 6:00 pm
Host: NYBG
Location: Pelham Bay Park
Description: The Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary and the Hunter Island Marine Zoology and Geology Sanctuary in the northeast Bronx consist of a total of 489 acres of marshes and forests within Pelham Bay Park. https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/pelham-bay-park/highlights/6350
RSVP: Free event, no RSVP necessary. Meet at Pelham Bay Park & Split Rock Golf Course parking lot. Trip leader: Daniel Atha.

Rooftop Tour at Kingsland Wildflowers
Date: Saturday, April 28,2018
Time: 12:30pm-2pm
Host: UNDERSTORY
Location: 520 Kingsland Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Description:  Join us at Kingsland Wildflowers Green Roof & Community Engagement Center for a tour and talk with landscape designer, Marni Majorelle of Alive Structures and project coordinator, Niki Jackson of NYC Audubon. Be sure to document all the visiting pollinators and other critters for the CNC!
RSVP: Free event, but RSVP required here: http://www.understory.co/rooftop-tour-at-kingsland-wildflowers


Gowanus BioBlitz 2018 
Date: Saturday, April 28,2018 
Time: 9am-2pm 
Host: Gowanus Canal Conservancy 
Location: 2 Second Ave, Brooklyn, 11215 (canal-side stewardship location) 
Description: The banks of the Gowanus Canal have proven to be biologically rich, as we’ve observed in our daily explorations and during our Pilot BioBlitz in 2017. This is a great opportunity not only to see what species can survive and thrive in and adjacent to the canal -a superfund site that suffers both historical pollution and regular CSO events- but to also have baseline observations as the canal is cleaned up. Last year, Gowanus Canal Conservancy recorded 241 observations over 138 species over the few hours of the Pilot Blitz, both by foot and canoe. This year, with your help, we hope to get even more! 
RSVP:Want to get involved? RSVP to volunteer@gowanuscanalconservancy.org 


City Nature Challenge at Brooklyn Bridge Park 
Date: Saturday, April 28,2018 
Time: 10am 
Host: Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy 
Location: Environmental Education Center (99 Plymouth St. near the Manhattan Bridge) 
Description: Thousands of people all around the world will be observing and recording nature in their cities using the citizen science app, iNaturalist. Join Brooklyn Bridge Park educators for a quick tutorial on using the app, then venture out into the park to discover and catalog the park’s diverse ecology. Please dress appropriately for the weather, and bring a fully charged smartphone or camera. Downloading the iNaturalist app beforehand is highly suggested. 
RSVP: Free event, but RSVP required here: https://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/events/city-nature-challenge 


Nature Exploration: Spring Blossoms 
Date: Saturday, April 28,2018 
Time: 1pm 
Host: Urban Park Rangers 
Location: Fort Greene Visitor Center (Myrtle Ave and Washington Park) 
Description: Join the Urban Park Rangers to make observations of everything that’s flowering during the CNC!

City Nature Challenge in Washington Square Park 
Date: Saturday, April 28,2018 
Time: 10am-12pm 
Host: Washington Square Park Eco Projects 
Location: Washington Square Park, meet at the Garibaldi Statue (east of the WSP fountain) 
Description: New York City for the win with your help! Document all the nature* you see in Washington Square Park. All you need is a smartphone loaded with the iNaturalist app to photograph and upload your nature finds. There will be a WSP Eco Projects volunteer and a Macaulay staff person to assist with using the iNaturalist app. When you’ve finished, loop back to the Garibaldi Statue to learn more about the park’s wildlife survey (the park is a birding hotspot) or play nature bingo. 
*Does not include pets. 


Randall’s Park Tour 
Date: Saturday, April 28,2018 
Time: TBD 
Host: Randall’s Park Alliance 
Location: TBD 
Description: TBD

Forest Park BioBlitz 
Date: Saturday, April 28,2018 
Time: 11:30am-5:30pm 
Host: Friends of the Queensway, Trust for Public Lands, MELS 
Location: TBD 
Description: TBD 


Stewardship Spring Weeding Day 
Date: Saturday, April 28,2018 
Time: 10am-12pm 
Host: Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park 
Location: Meadow Lake Boat House, Flushing Meadows Corona Park 
Description: Environmental stewardship is the caring of natural resources by passionate community members. Help out with some spring weeding and document the critters you find while you do it! 


Discovery Walk Around Meadow Lake 
Date: Saturday, April 28,2018 
Time: 2pm-3:30pm 
Host: Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park 
Location: Meadow Lake Boat House, Flushing Meadows Corona Park 
Description: Join us for a walk around the lake and make lots of iNaturalist observations! 


Jamaica Bay Event 
Date: Saturday, April 28,2018 
Time: TBD 
Host: Jamaica Bay – Rockaway Parks Conservancy 
Location: TBD 
Description: TBD 


Urban Park Rangers Night Tour 
Date: Saturday, April 28,2018 
Time: 7pm-8:30pm 
Host: Urban Park Rangers 
Location: Pat Dolan Trail, Flushing Meadows Corona Park 
Description: TBD

Nature Photography: Wildflowers 
Date: Saturday, April 28,2018 
Time: 11am 
Host: Urban Park Rangers 
Location:Brookfield Park (Arthur Kill Road and Brookfield Avenue) 
Description: Join the Urban Park Rangers as they focus on wildflowers in Brookfield Park. 


City Nature Challenge iNaturalist Photography Tour 
Date: Saturday, April 28,2018 
Time: 1pm-3pm 
Host: Freshkills Park Alliance 
Location:location provided upon registration, there is no public access to the park yet 
Description: Join a small group of photographers and naturalists at Freshkills Park in Staten Island, NY to photograph the plants and animals that call the park home. The tour will be led by naturalists affiliated with the park who will bring participants inside the not-yet-opened park to assist in cataloguing its wildlife. We ask that participants download the iNaturalist app to upload photos taken during the tour in order to contribute to New York City’s CNC observation count. This tour is free but pre-registration is required. 
RSVP:http://freshkillspark.org/programs/city-nature-challenge-inaturalist-photography-tour

 

Events on Sunday, April 29th

Discover Newtown Creek with Newtown Creek Alliance
Date: Sunday, April 29, 2018
Time: 3-4:30pm
Host: UNDERSTORY
Location: 99 Scott Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11237
Description: Join Newtown Creek Alliance for a guided tour of several points along the nearby Newtown Creek. Participants will learn more about the history and current state of Newtown Creek as it has moved from polluted waterway to gradually restored ecosystem. Don’t forget to document all the plants and animals you see for the City Nature Challenge!
RSVP: Free event, but registration required. RSVP: http://www.understory.co/newtown-creek-tour

Birding Basics 
Date: Sunday, April 29, 2018 
Time: 10am-11:30am 
Host: Central Park Conservancy 
Location:Central Park, Hallett Nature Sanctuary, meet at Chess and Checkers (mid-park at 64th St.) 
Description: Located along the Atlantic Flyway, Central Park welcomes more than 270 migrating bird species each year. Learn the basics of bird identification while exploring the Pond and the Hallett Nature Sanctuary. Preserved for decades as a nature sanctuary, the Hallett provides habitat for a diverse wildlife population while serving as a peaceful haven for visitors. How many birds can you spot on this tour? Don’t forget to bring your binoculars. 
RSVP: Free event, but registration required. RSVP: http://www.centralparknyc.org/events/individual-events/birding-basics-hallett-nature-sanctuary-and-the-pond-tour-2018-04-29_10_1.html 


Nature Exploration Hike 
Date: Sunday, April 29, 2018 
Time: 1pm 
Host: Urban Park Rangers 
Location:Central Park, Dana Discovery Center (the closest entrance is Central Park North and Lenox Ave) 
Description: Join the Urban Park Rangers to explore the biodiversity of Central Park!

Urban Park Rangers Walk at Willow Lake 
Date: Sunday, April 29, 2018 
Time: 9am-10:30am 
Host: Urban Park Rangers 
Location:Pat Dolan Trail, Flushing Meadows Corona Park 
Description: Discover the biodiversity at Willow Lake! 
RSVP: Lottery Registration Begins 4/18 here: https://www.nycgovparks.org/reg/rangers 


Stewardship Spring Planting Day 
Date: Sunday, April 29, 2018 
Time: 11am-2pm 
Host: Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park 
Location:Pat Dolan Trail at Willow Lake, Flushing Meadows Corona Park 
Description: Environmental stewardship is the caring of natural resources by passionate community members. Help out with some spring planting and document the critters you find while you do it!


Discovery Walk at Willow Lake 
Date: Sunday, April 29, 2018 
Time: 2pm-3:30pm 
Host: Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park 
Location:Pat Dolan Trail, Flushing Meadows Corona Park 
Description: Discover the biodiversity at Willow Lake! 


Playground for All Children Info Table 
Date: Sunday, April 29, 2018 
Time: 1pm-4pm 
Host: Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park 
Location:TBD 
Description: TBD

City Nature Challenge, Staten Island Greenbelt
Date: Sunday, April 29, 2018
Time: 10:00am – 12:00 pm
Host: NYBG
Location: Staten Island Greenbelt
Description: Buttonwood Swamp in Bucks Hollow is a 1.1 mile hike from the Greenbelt Nature Center. The wetland is home to green frogs, bull frogs, spring peepers and gray tree frogs (successfully reintroduced to the area through a NYC Parks initiative). Adjacent to the swamp is a grove persimmon trees, one of the rarest trees in the City. https://www.nycgovparks.org/park-features/virtual-tours/greenbelt
Meet at the Greenbelt Nature Center. Trip leader: Daniel Atha.


City Nature Challenge, Staten Island Greenbelt
Date: Sunday, April 29, 2018
Time: 2:00am – 6:00 pm
Host: NYBG
Location: Staten Island Greenbelt
Description: High Rock Park, 200 Nevada Avenue, Staten Island, 10306 is a 1.9 mile hike from the Greenbelt Nature Center. Local activists saved this former Girl Scout Camp from development. It is often considered one of the most tranquil places in New York City https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/high-rock-park/history
Meet at Gretta Moulton entrance off Nevada Avenue. Trip leader: Daniel Atha.

 

Events on Monday, April 30th

City Nature Challenge, Fort Washington Park
Date: Monday, April 30, 2018
Time: 9:00am – 11:00am
Host: NYBG
Location: Fort Washington Park
Description: Enjoy spectacular views of the Hudson River, New Jersey Palisades, George Washington Bridge and the Little Red Lighthouse. Help document the spontaneous vegetation along one of the only sections of Manhattan shoreline not covered by concrete seawall. https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/fort-washington-park
Meet at the entrance at Dyckman St under the Henry Hudson Parkway. Trip leader: Daniel Atha.


City Nature Challenge, Inwood Hill Park
Date: Monday, April 30, 2018
Time: 1:00pm – 6:00pm
Host: NYBG
Location: Inwood Hill Park
Description: Help document the wildlife in Manhattan’s remarkable remnant forest. While it may not be virgin old-growth, the massive Tulip and Oak trees date to post-revolutionary war period. We will visit restored Moscota Marsh, the only salt marsh Manhattan. This is from the parks website: “In addition to saltmarsh cordgrass, Inwood Hill Park’s low marsh also contains big saltwater cordgrass (Spartina cynosuroides) and two species of bulrush. Between the low marsh and the park path are a number of marsh plants rare elsewhere in the city, including Water Hemp (Amaranthus cannabinus) and Salt Marsh Bulrush (Scirpus robustus). Marsh Elder (Iva frutescens), Swamp Rose-mallow (Hibiscus palustris), and Groundsel Bush (Baccharis halimifolia) also grow here. A broad, expansive mudflat runs from the marsh to the channel of the Harlem River Ship Canal. Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) frequent the flat in the winter. Great (Casmerodius albus) and Snowy (Egretta thula) Egrets are common visitors from spring through fall. You can often hear the chattering of a Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon) as it flies overhead, hovers, and then drops into the water, emerging with a wriggling fish in its oversized bill.” https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/inwood-hill-park
Meet at the entrance at Dyckman St under the Henry Hudson Parkway. Trip leader: Daniel Atha.

City Nature Challenge Info Table 
Date: Monday, April 30, 2018 
Time: TBD 
Host: Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park 
Location:TBD 
Description: Find out more about participating in the CNC. Get iNaturalist help, if you need it!

 

Get Updates

Sign up for periodic news about the City Nature Challenge:

 

Groups Welcome

Contact us for info about bringing your students, or other nature lovers.

 

Special Thanks

New York City Parks Department, Friends of the Queensway, Manhattan Expeditionary Learning School, Natural Areas Conservancy and Natural Resources Group, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, Greenbelt Nature Center, HEALTH for Youth, NYC EcoFlora Project, California Academy of Sciences.