September 04, 2021

September EcoQuest Challenge

QUERCUS QUEST

Native to the Northern Hemisphere, Oaks (Quercus) are iconic trees in forests and woodlands and symbols of resolute longevity. Ecologically important as food and shelter, Oaks support more than 900 species of Moths and Butterflies to rear their caterpillars, in turn feeding songbirds and other wildlife. There are 14 Oak species indigenous to New York City.

Posted on September 04, 2021 04:49 by danielatha danielatha | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 02, 2021

August EcoQuest Challenge

MILKWEEDS AND MONARCHS

Eastern Monarch Butterflies have declined by more than 80% over the past two decades. Although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service put Monarch Butterflies on the waiting list for Endangered Species Act listing in ecember 2020, that status does not provide protection for them or their habitat. Milkweed plants Asclepias), Monarch caterpillars’ only food source, have also declined.

Posted on August 02, 2021 14:41 by danielatha danielatha | 1 comment | Leave a comment

July 01, 2021

July EcoQuest Challenge

LOCATE LACTUCA

Wild Lettuce (Lactuca) is a genus comprising about 100 species worldwide. In North America there are ten species, six of which occur in New York City. Two of our New York City species are endangered in New York State and haven’t been seen locally in decades, and one (Willowleaf Lettuce, Lactuca saligna--introduced species) has been observed on iNaturalist from New York City, but needs further documentation. How many species of Lactuca can you locate?

Posted on July 01, 2021 18:44 by danielatha danielatha | 1 comment | Leave a comment

June 11, 2021

June 01, 2021

NYBG EcoFlora June EcoQuest Challenge

FERN FORAY

Ferns are an evolutionary lineage of plants with vein structure like Conifers and Flowering Plants but that reproduce by spores like Mosses. In 1800 there were 60 indigenous Fern species in New York City (including Fern relatives such as Horsetail (Equisetum), Club Moss (Lycopodium), Spikemoss (Selaginella) and Quilwort (Isoetes). It is estimated that 30 percent of the original Fern flora are locally extinct and 20 percent are rare—primarily due to habitat loss. The Japanese Painted Fern is spreading from gardens and may be the first exotic Fern to naturalize in our area. How many Ferns can you find?


Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium nipponicum) growing out of a wall and probably spread from nearby planting.

Posted on June 01, 2021 18:53 by danielatha danielatha | 2 comments | Leave a comment

May 16, 2021

NYBG EcoFlora May EcoQuest Challenge


VERIFY VERONICA


Veronica (Speedwell) is the largest genus in the Plantaginaceae family, with about 500 species. In New York City, there are 12 species: 8 introduced; 2 indigenous likely extinct (American Brooklime, Veronica americana and Marsh Speedwell, Veronica scutellata); 1 common indigenous (Purslane Speedwell, Veronica peregrina); and newly observed Pink Ivy-Leaved Speedwell (Veronica sublobata), which has tiny pink flowers and hairy flower stalks (pictured here). Can you find it?

In 2019, Lynette Lewis @lynalew found the Pink Ivy-Leaved Speedwell, Veronica sublobata (pictured below), a species never recorded for New York State. Here's how she described her experience....

"I went to Staten Island that day because of the City Nature Challenge! I was in college when the CNC started; Dr. Kelly O'Donnell recruits & trains Macaulay student volunteers to help. That year I was the only one who signed up to make the trek down to Staten Island. Very long commutes are nothing new for me, given my suburb is isolated from gentrified Brooklyn. But I underestimated how much time that trip would take. As a volunteer, I tried making as many observations as possible while traveling to & from events. During the CNC, my main goal is to make more observations than I did the previous year/go somewhere new. Not looking for a specific species allows me to be more open to everything around the space."

Lynette's observation was later identified by the World's Veronica expert, Dr. Dirk Albach @albach and the three of us will soon publish a paper together registering the species for New York State. If you find the Pink Ivy-Leaved Speedwell anywhere in New York this month, your observation will be cited in the publication.

Register here for the May 17 presentation by Dirk Albach The Genus Veronica (Speedwells) - In 15 Million Years to New York



Posted on May 16, 2021 01:30 by danielatha danielatha | 1 comment | Leave a comment

May 04, 2021

My Personal Experience of the City Nature Challenge

Congratulations to the 803 New Yorkers who participated in the 2021 City Nature Challenge! Team NYC is in the top 95 percent world wide for observations and observers. We have a week to upload any remaining nature sightings and put names on everything. I have some bird recordings to upload and I’m going to scan through the rejects from the last four days for any that are identifiable. Results will be announced May 10.

The CNC has become the highlight of my year. For four days I’m totally immersed in nature. It’s like camping right here in the City or a retreat in the Catskills. From sunup to sundown I’m outside with the plants and animals, listening to bird song and reveling in our spectacular park landscapes. There are no scandals, no horrific tragedies, just the rhythm of life unfolding as it should.

Mother nature is in charge. Rain or shine, hot or cold, everyone is provided for and there are no favorites. I eat nuts and seeds like a bird (no insects!) and drink rainwater thanks to our amazing aqueduct system. Like the Turkey Vultures floating above, I’m always moving, always looking for something interesting. I go to sleep good-kind-of tired and wake up invigorated and excited by the day ahead, outside somewhere in the 300 square miles of New York City. My six senses are stimulated simultaneously, but not in a contrived way meant to inflame my emotions or put me to sleep. A whole years-worth of fat accumulation melts away, right where it counts. My mind is active too. “Did I already get that species of Hawkweed?”, “Was that Pelham Bay or High Rock Park where I saw the Swamp Loosestrife?” “I can’t forget to add a note that the Woodpecker was in the Shagbark Hickory, south of the trail leading to the meadow.”

It’s nature therapy for the mind, body and spirit. The Japanese call it Shinrin-yoku. Forty percent of New York City is open space and we are blessed with a diversity of forests, wetlands and seashore. Spending time in the fresh, nature-infused air lowers blood pressure, boosts the immune system, slows heart rate and calms the mind. After four days, I am reset physically, mentally and spiritually and the benefits last a whole year.

I’m grateful to iNaturalist, the California Academy of Science and the Natural History Museum Los Angeles County for organizing the City Nature Challenge, bringing Nature lovers around the world together to celebrate life on Earth. And we should all thank the New York City Parks Department for their great work protecting nature in New York City.

The May EcoQuest challenge is VERIFY VERONICA. If you find the Pink Ivy-Leaved Speedwell (pictured below) anywhere in New York this month, your observation will be cited in the publication.

Register here for the May 17 presentation by Dirk Albach The Genus Veronica (Speedwells) - In 15 Million Years to New York








Posted on May 04, 2021 14:34 by danielatha danielatha | 3 comments | Leave a comment

May 03, 2021

Calling All New York City Nature Lovers

Who says New Yorkers don't love nature? Over 700 of you have observed 1,343 species of Sponges, Fish, Snails, Crabs, Clams, Insects, Birds, Mammals, Plants and Fungi. Out of 400 cities, NYC is number 11. The competition ends at midnight tonight. Can we finish ahead of Boston and North Taiwan for a spot in the top ten?

Try leaving your photos on the camera roll and uploading them later using the desktop program. Drag and drop as a batch is quicker than uploading one by one with the mobile app. You'll spend more time enjoying Nature and less time looking at your phone!

Global Leaderboard
Battle of the Boroughs
Park-by-Park Competition
Short Training Video
Longer Training Video
City Nature Challenge 2021: New York City Project page managed by Kelly O'Donnell at Macaulay Honors College
Virtual Events

Besides having fun, breathing fresh air and getting better acquainted with the wild inhabitants of New York, the City Nature Challenge has scientific and conservation benefits as well. In 2019, Lynette Lewis @lynalew found the Pink Ivy-Leaved Speedwell, Veronica sublobata (pictured below), a species never recorded for New York State. Here's how she described her experience....

"I went to Staten Island that day because of the City Nature Challenge! I was in college when the CNC started; Dr. Kelly O'Donnell recruits & trains Macaulay student volunteers to help. That year I was the only one who signed up to make the trek down to Staten Island. Very long commutes are nothing new for me, given my suburb is isolated from gentrified Brooklyn. But I underestimated how much time that trip would take. As a volunteer, I tried making as many observations as possible while traveling to & from events. During the CNC, my main goal is to make more observations than I did the previous year/go somewhere new. Not looking for a specific species allows me to be more open to everything around the space."

Lynette's observation was later identified by the World's Veronica expert, Dr. Dirk Albach @albach and the three of us will soon publish a paper together registering the species for New York State.

The May EcoQuest challenge is VERIFY VERONICA. If you find the Pink Ivy-Leaved Speedwell anywhere in New York this month, your observation will be cited in the publication.

Register here for the May 17 presentation by Dirk Albach The Genus Veronica (Speedwells) - In 15 Million Years to New York

Posted on May 03, 2021 12:33 by danielatha danielatha | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 02, 2021

Calling All New York City Nature Lovers

Help New York City stay in the top ten worldwide. We are almost 500 strong! With two days left (Sunday and Monday), if we each make twenty-five observations per day, we'll be number one!

Try leaving your photos on the camera roll and uploading them later using the desktop program. Drag and drop as a batch is quicker than uploading one by one with the mobile app. You'll spend more time enjoying Nature and less time looking at your phone!

Global Leaderboard
Battle of the Boroughs
Park-by-Park Competition
Short Training Video
Longer Training Video
City Nature Challenge 2021: New York City Project page managed by Kelly O'Donnell at Macaulay Honors College
Virtual Events

Besides having fun, breathing fresh air and getting better acquainted with the wild inhabitants of New York, the City Nature Challenge has scientific and conservation benefits as well. In 2019, Lynette Lewis @lynalew found the Pink Ivy-Leaved Speedwell, Veronica sublobata (pictured below), a species never recorded for New York State. Here's how she described her experience....

"I went to Staten Island that day because of the City Nature Challenge! I was in college when the CNC started; Dr. Kelly O'Donnell recruits & trains Macaulay student volunteers to help. That year I was the only one who signed up to make the trek down to Staten Island. Very long commutes are nothing new for me, given my suburb is isolated from gentrified Brooklyn. But I underestimated how much time that trip would take. As a volunteer, I tried making as many observations as possible while traveling to & from events. During the CNC, my main goal is to make more observations than I did the previous year/go somewhere new. Not looking for a specific species allows me to be more open to everything around the space."

Lynette's observation was later identified by the World's Veronica expert, Dr. Dirk Albach @albach and the three of us will soon publish a paper together registering the species for New York State.

The May EcoQuest challenge is VERIFY VERONICA. If you find the Pink Ivy-Leaved Speedwell anywhere in New York this month, your observation will be cited in the publication.

Register here for the May 17 presentation by Dirk Albach The Genus Veronica (Speedwells) - In 15 Million Years to New York

Posted on May 02, 2021 10:38 by danielatha danielatha | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 01, 2021

Calling All New York City Nature Lovers

We need your help to reach the top ten worldwide

New York City is currently number eleven in the World
Our New Jersey neighbor and part-time New York City team member, Sara Rall @srall is the number four identifier in the World
Sara Rall, Sandy Wolkenberg @sadawolk and Chris Kreussling @xris are the number one, two and three identifiers for NYC
Daniel Atha @danielatha is the top observer in the World
Daniel, Sara Rall and Kelly O'Donnell @klodonnell are the top three observers in NYC
The Bronx has the most observations in New York City
Manhattan has the most observers
Manhattan has the most species

Global Leaderboard
Battle of the Boroughs
Park-by-Park Competition
Short Training Video
Longer Training Video
City Nature Challenge 2021: New York City Project page managed by Kelly O'Donnell at Macaulay Honors College
Virtual Events
Events Preview

Posted on May 01, 2021 10:51 by danielatha danielatha | 1 comment | Leave a comment