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.
Since the first EcoQuest Challenge in August 2017, more than 700 observers have recorded approximately 30,000 observations of nearly 2000 species.
Please do not disturb animal activity as you record your observations.
Sign up here to receive updated informaton about our EcoQuest Challenges.
Lichen Love - February 2019
Lichens are formed by a partnership between a photosynthetic alga that produces food and a fungus that provides shelter. Highly sensitive to air quality, Lichens were all but eliminated from New York City before federal regulations to curb pollution were enacted in 1970. Show your love for Lichens (and our cleaner air) by documenting them with research-quality photos that are in sharp focus.
Take photographs of Lichens anywhere in New York City and post your findings iNaturalist so they can be added to the NYC EcoFlora Project.
More information: Register for: The Hidden World of Lichens, taught by James Lendemer, Ph.D., NYBG’s curator of lichens.
Photo: Maritime Sunburst Lichen (Xanthoria parietina), (c) Nova Patch, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)
Make the Grade - January 2019
New Yorkers have responded to the EcoQuest Challenge since its inception in August 2017 with more than 44,500 observations. Approximately 75% are Research Grade, meaning their IDs have been confirmed by two or more people and they are suitable for global research and conservation projects.
This month we are asking everyone to take a virtual Challenge by reviewing the 25% of observations that need ID, confirming or adding IDs, and helping them MAKE THE GRADE.
Visit the NYC EcoFlora Project at iNaturalist for more information about how you can help every observation MAKE THE GRADE.
Additional resource: Download the Guide: Make the Grade.
Bear Down on Bittersweet - December 2018
Asian Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) is an aggressive invasive woody vine that kills trees by outcompeting for water, strangling trunks, smothering the canopy, and causing damage during wind and ice storms. Invaded woodlands are destroyed limb by limb, tree by tree until there are none standing. Asian Bittersweet seeds are dispersed by birds, yard waste, and
discarded holiday wreaths.
Help NYBG document as much Asian Bittersweet as possible by December 31.
Take photographs of Asian Bittersweet anywhere in New York City and post your findings iNaturalist so they can be added to the NYC EcoFlora Project. For large masses where it is difficult to isolate a single plant, take one photograph every 5–10 feet to cover the entire population. Your observations will show the extent of coverage.
Additional resource: Download the Guide to Asian Bittersweet.
View Project Stats on iNaturalist: Asian Bittersweet EcoQuest Stats.
Photo credit: Ira Gershenhorn.
Pursue Porcelain-berry - November 2018
Porcelain-berry (Ampelopsis glandulosa) was introduced to North America from Asia in 1887 as a ground cover and horticultural curiosity. In recent years it has become one of the most destructive invasive plants in the eastern United States. Like Kudzu, another non-native invasive vine, it smothers trees and within a few years can transform a forest into an unhealthy monoculture.
Under a thick blanket of Porcelain-berry vines, the soil dries out and becomes lifeless.
Help NYBG document as much Porcelain-berry as possible by November 30.
Take photographs of Porcelain-berry anywhere in New York City and post your findings on the NYC EcoFlora Project at iNaturalist. For large masses where it is difficult to isolate a single plant, take one photograph every 5–10 feet to cover the entire population. Your observations will show the extent of coverage.
Additional resource: Download the Guide to Porcelain-berry.
View Project Stats on iNaturalist: Porcelain-berry EcoQuest Stats.