WHAT IS AN ECOQUEST?
EcoQuests, part of the NYC EcoFlora Project, challenge New Yorkers to become citizen scientists and observe, study and help conserve the native plants and animals of the City, using iNaturalist, an easy-to-use mobile App.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
Each month, NYBG EcoFlora will announce a new Challenge where we need your help to document the wild flora and fauna of New York City by taking and sharing photos via iNaturalist, an easy-to-use mobile App.
- Download iNaturalist App, or register at iNaturalist.org
- Take photos for the month’s EcoQuest Challenge
- Post your findings on iNaturalist so they can be added to the NYC EcoFlora Project.
- Check the EcoQuest web page for updates and new challenges!
There are no wrong observations. Each observation contributes vital information to reveal traits and processes largely unknown before due to a lack of data and coordination between data sets. Millions of individual data points add up to big data that will enable new insights and opportunities for research, conservation and engagement.
Please do not disturb animal activity as you record your observations.
Sign up here to receive updated informaton about our EcoQuest Challenges.
Monarch Butterflies and Milkweeds - August 2017
North America’s iconic Monarch Butterflies are in decline—threatened by habitat loss, climate change, and pesticide use, as well as loss of Milkweed plants required for rearing their young. Almost half of New York City’s 11 Milkweed species are thought to be extinct in the City. How many can you find?
Take photographs to document the distributions of Milkweeds and Monarch butterflies, and post your findings on the NYC EcoFlora Project at iNaturalist.
Additional resource: Download the Guide to the Milkweeds of New York City.
August 2017 EcoQuest Results:
Total number of participants: 54 observers, 50 identifiers
Number of new EcoFlora project members: 29
Total observations for New York City: 318
Observations by borough: Bronx, 210; Manhattan, 61; Staten Island, 24; Brooklyn, 18; Queens, 5
Total number of plants and animals: 22
Common Milkweed: 96
Large Milkweed Bug: 45
Swamp Milkweed: 34
Monarch Butterfly: 29
Butterfly Milkweed: 28
Green Comet Milkweed: 2
Thank you for your participation!
(Monarch photograph courtesy of TexasEagle (c), Photo 1477, some rights reserved, CC BY-NC.)
Pokeweed Pursuit - September 2017
American Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) is a native plant that grows in diverse habitats, including sidewalk tree pits, gardens, and natural woodlands. Pokeweed berries are mildly toxic to humans, but they are an important food source for songbirds and small mammals. Help us document the distribution of this plant species and the animals that depend on it.
Even though Pokeweed is widespread, frequent, and easy to recognize, its true distribution in New York City is poorly known, and there are very few documented animal interactions.
Take photographs of American Pokeweed and any animal interactions, and post your findings on the NYC EcoFlora Project at iNaturalist.
Be sure to come to the Saving the American Ash Symposium.
Additional resource: Download American Pokeweed Information.
September 2017 EcoQuest Results:
Total number of participants: 111 observers, 73 identifiers
Number of new EcoFlora project members: 23
Total Pokeweed observations for New York City: 1126
Observations by borough: Bronx, 595; Manhattan, 428; Queens, 44; Staten Island, 33; Brooklyn, 13.
Top five observers: @elizajsyh, 258; @plnthunter22, 199; @danielatha, 133; @bioethics, 100; @laura622, 52.
Total number of plants and animals: 5
American Pokeweed: 1119
Ailanthus Webworm: 3
Rose-breasted Grosbeak: 1
House Sparrow: 1
American Hog Peanut: 1
Thank you for your participation!
(American Pokeweed photograph courtesy of Bob Finkelstein (c), Photo 10094455, some rights reserved, CC BY-NC.)
Fraxinus and Fungi - October 2017
North America’s diverse and majestic Ash trees (Fraxinus) are threatened with extinction by an invasive beetle, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Fortunately for New York City’s Ash trees, the EAB has not yet been found here. Efforts are underway to find resistant trees, develop biocontrols from predatory insects, and encourage mutually beneficial fungi to save these trees before they are gone forever.
Take photographs of Ash trees and any associated fungi (including lichens), and post your findings on the NYC EcoFlora Project at iNaturalist. Be sure to include photos of the Ash fruit whenever possible.
Learn more and register: Saving the American Ash Summit.