College News

COVID-19 UPDATE: A message from Dr. Kelly O’Donnell

There have been some changes made to the City Nature Challenge in light of the ongoing pandemic. The event is still on globally, but it is no longer a competition. Its focus is now on the healing power of being outside and showing that even though we are all physically apart, we can still work on something together.

A weekend when every New Yorker can become a citizen scientist

Macaulay Honors College is pleased to be the official NYC host of the 2020 City Nature Challenge. The challenge is a global, four-day public event that invites everyone to contribute to science and observe their city’s unique urban habitat. Macaulay will be the event’s official NYC host for the fourth consecutive year. The NYC City Nature Challenge will take place over the weekend of April 24-27 and encourage nature lovers of all ages to record examples of urban flora and fauna with their smartphones.

“Every day it becomes more and more important for individuals to connect with our natural world: to understand it, appreciate it, and protect it,” said Macaulay Director of Science Forward Dr. Kelly O’Donnell.

In years previous, public parks, preservation societies, gardens and other nature organizations around New York City’s five boroughs hosted City Nature Challenge events with Macaulay students, staff and faculty on hand to teach and guide participants. Event organizers are currently working on a plan to safely downsize the event to eliminate health risks.

“By engaging with the process of science in our city, even in a small way, we hope to instill an understanding of how science works and also a sense of connection to the natural environment of the city,” explained O’Donnell.

The City Nature Challenge is organized on a global scale by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences.


Kathryn Lineberger

Macaulay External Relations



Dr. Kelly O’Donnell

Macaulay Dir. Science Forward