Urban Naturalist program on field trip

Urban Naturalist Program

Become a steward of your urban environment.

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 an NYBG Urban Naturalist, you will have a unique opportunity to explore these diverse habitats while discovering the keys that unlock their many secrets.

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 Mike Feller 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.

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.


Mike Feller, NYBG's chief Urban Naturalist.

Meet Our Chief Urban Naturalist

Mike Feller spent 31 years as Chief Naturalist for the NYC Parks Natural Resource Group (NRG), where he supervised the design and execution of myriad ecological restorations and oversaw NRG’s environmental education program. Mike spearheaded the creation of the Forever Wild Program that established 51 nature preserves throughout New York City. His photos of urban nature have appeared in many books, magazines, and corporate offices.


headshot of Carloyn Smith

Tagging monarch butterflies was amazing, as were all the other hands-on exercises. We had a great balance of lecture, activities, and exploration. Very few things have made me as happy as the NYBG Urban Naturalist Program.

Carolyn Smith

2017 NYBG Urban Naturalist