Macaulay Honors College Leads City Nature Challenge for Citizen Scientists

Eel discovered in the East River

Start spreading the news! CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College invites New Yorkers to help find all of the creatures that call our city home by joining a citizen scientist effort from April 14-18. Anyone who lives in, or visits the 5 boroughs of New York during that time period is asked to photograph and share pictures of the millions of species who live in our parks, pavements, gardens or subways. The effort is part of the City Nature Challenge 2017 that involves 16 cities nationwide. The goal is to have NYC lead the way in observations.

Participants are asked to download the iNaturalist app to their mobile device. From April 14-18, they use the app to upload a photo of an organism: it can be mold, a plant, an insect, a pizza rat or a roach—basically any living thing that is not a pet, or in a zoo. You then send the photo to the iNaturalist community through the app; that community will help identify and document the species. It is a great learning effort for families with children who are on spring break, as well as a great way for the average individual to contribute to science’s knowledge of the species who live and survive in urban areas.

Those who are interested can sign up HERE to receive more information and updates about the Challenge. Or visit the City Nature Challenge: New York webpage for more details on how to participate.

City Nature Challenge 2017 builds on the 2016 challenge that involved Los Angeles and San Francisco. Then, 1,000 participants logged more than 20,000 observations, documenting more than 1,600 species in each city. The findings from all 16 cities this year will greatly be logged and measure by iNaturalist. People who participate need only bring their curiosity, a smartphone and their powers of observation to help catalog the natural wonders of our parks and open spaces.

About Macaulay Honors College

Macaulay Honors College at The City University of New York offers exceptional students a uniquely personalized education with access to the vast resources of the nation’s largest urban university and the largest city, New York City. Selected for their top high school records and leadership potential, Macaulay students receive a full tuition scholarship*, a laptop and technology support, and exclusive access to apply for grants from a Macaulay fund to pursue global learning, research and service opportunities. Macaulay students enroll in one of eight CUNY senior colleges: Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter, John Jay, Lehman, and Queens Colleges and the College of Staten Island. For more information, see

*Students must meet CUNY NYS residency requirements for in-state tuition to receive the Macaulay tuition scholarship.