Brian Boom, Daniel Atha and collaborators
The New York City EcoFlora project serves two complementary purposes: (1) to meaningfully engage New Yorkers in protecting and preserving the City’s native plant species, and (2) to assemble new, original observations and data on the City’s flora to better inform policy decisions about management and conservation of the City’s natural resources. The metropolitan area is home to a significant diversity of plants, animals, fungi, and habitats that provide such vital ecosystem services as cleaning the air and filtering the water. But this biodiversity is under increasing threat by development, invasive species, and a changing climate.
The project seeks to engage the public as citizen scientists to observe, collect, and compile information about the City’s plants and their relationships with other organisms, such as birds, insects, and mushrooms, and combine these data with all that is already known from natural history collections and scientific publications. The New York City EcoFlora is a real-time, online, ongoing checklist of plants—the first ever to connect plants in the web of life in New York City—that will result in a dynamic resource for conservation planning as well as in New Yorkers who are better informed about the importance of urban ecologies and who can contribute to protecting them.
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services [MG-70-19-0057-19].
NY Times: She Wanted to Revive a Park, but first She Had to Take On the Rats
Aleya Lehmann grew tired of watching Verdi Square decay over 16 years—the park was so bad that it became known as Vermin Square or Rat Park. So, Ms. Lehmann gathered a small group of like-minded volunteers to beautify the small slice of the Upper West Side for themselves.
Daniel Atha, a botanist at the New York Botanical Garden who lives near the park, joined the group after meeting them at a volunteer drive. He convinced Ms. Lehmann that instead of boxwoods, she and her fellow volunteers should plant native species, which would attract pollinators, insects, and create a waypoint for animals, and humans, between Central Park and Riverside Park. “This is a community garden, with the parks department, but instead of vegetables, we’re planting for the birds and the butterflies,” Mr. Atha said while working in the garden last fall.
One person’s vision, inspired volunteers, expert advice, a successful rat abatement program, and Verdi Square is Rat Park no longer!
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.
Each month, NYBG EcoFlora will announce a new Challenge where we need your help to document the flora and fauna of New York City by taking and sharing photos via iNaturalist, an easy-to-use mobile App.
Learn more and participate in our newest EcoQuest Challenge
Urban Naturalist Certificate Program
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 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. Learn More.
The New Manual of Vascular Plants
Interested in learning more about the region’s biodiversity? Check out The New Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada, a project by NYBG and indispensable resource that provides new tools to identify plants in North America.
- New York City EcoFlora: Herbarium Specimen and Observation Data
- New York City EcoFlora: Citizen Scientists’ Observations
- First report of Arum italicum invasive in New York
- First report of Hydrocotyle batrachium in North America and Hydrocotyle sibthorpioides in New York
- First report of Gamochaeta pennsylvanica in New York
- The historic and extant spontaneous vascular flora of The New York Botanical Garden
- First report of Sagina apetala in New York
- First report of Rumex cristatus in New York
- First report of Stellaria pallida in New York
- First report of Euphorbia hypericifolia in New York
- Dittrichia graveolens (Asteraceae) is naturalized and invasive in New York State
- First report of Callicarpa dichotoma and Callicarpa japonica in New York and New Jersey
- Garden Rant: Crowd-Sourced Botany
- West Side Rag: Friends of Verdi Square Envisions an ‘Oasis of Green’ and Community Hub
- West Side Rag: How a Citizen Scientist Found a Rare ‘Pumpkin Ash’ Tree Growing in Central Park
- Spectrum News: Invasive Insect Species, Spotted Lanternfly, in New York State
- The Riverdale Press: Thanks to technology, some plants are no longer invisible
- AP News: The Green Big Apple: New Yorkers document the City’s Plants
- NYBG Press Release: NYBG’s Center for Conservation Strategy Launches New York City EcoFlora Project
- The Riverdale Press: Present (Almost) at Creation
- Edible Brooklyn: The New York Botanical Garden Wants You to Help Study the City’s Ecology
- Bay Nature: Identify Anything, Anywhere, Instantly (Well, Almost) With the Newest iNaturalist Release
- Queens Chronicle: BioBlitz highlights Alley Pond ecosystem
- New York Times: A Mission to Catalog Hidden Life in Central Park
- Broadway World: NYC Parks’ Arsenal Gallery to Open New Exhibit ‘Chroma Botanica: Ellie Irons & Linda Stillman
- Backyard and Beyond: The Quest for White Snakeroot
- NYBG Science Talk Blog: A surprising find in Central Park
- NYBG Science Talk Blog: The Pumpkin Ash: An Update on a Rare New York Tree
- BHL …Notes & News from the BHL Staff: John Torrey’s Calendarium Florae for the Vicinity of New York (1818, 1819 & 1820)
- NYBG Science Talk Blog: Roaming the Wilds of Early 19th-Century Manhattan and Beyond—and Taking Notes
- Newly Documented Wild Flora for New York State Found in Central Park