Become a Madison Square Park Citizen Scientist!
Take a second to look around Madison Square Park, and you will quickly notice a living, thriving ecosystem of diverse, urban wildlife and the plants and soils that sustain them. Madison Square Park Conservancy wants to know what species you see during your next visit to the Park!
Knowing what species are in our Park and where they are located, helps us nurture and protect them, but we cannot do it alone. Collecting this data requires help from our community. That is why citizen science projects — where members of the general public help to collect or analyze data — have become an increasingly popular and useful tool towards these efforts.
At Madison Square Park, we utilize iNaturalist as a tool for collecting this data, and it is easy to use! To participate, download the iNaturalist App for your device — iNaturalist for iOS or iNaturalist for Android — or visit iNaturalist.org to create an account. With that complete, stop by Madison Square Park and start observing!
Using iNaturalist Step-by-Step
Once you’ve downloaded the app and created your account. Use this step-by-step guide to help you begin making observations:
- Open the app and click on the observe button at the bottom of the home screen.
- This should bring you to a camera screen to take a picture of the organism using the capture button at the bottom of the screen, or to add a photo saved on your phone at the bottom right of your screen.
Pro Tip: Try capturing photos outside of the iNaturalist app, and then upload those photos afterwards to keep you focused on the wildlife during your observation session.
- Snap or upload photo(s) of an individual organism and click next!
Pro Tip:We encourage you to take multiple photos of the organism from several angles to help the community properly and more specifically identify your observation.
- Now add some details about your observation — date, time, and GPS location are usually automatically uploaded, but double check to make sure. If you know the species you have observed, you can select it by tapping on “What did you see?”. A list of suggestions will appear to help you identify your observation, but if you are still not sure, no worries! The iNaturalist community includes knowledgeable scientists, experienced nature enthusiasts, and our own Madison Square Park gardeners who will help properly identify your finding!
Pro Tip: Potted plants at Madison Square Park should be categorized as captive/cultivated, since they are planted and managed by the Park Gardeners!
- Tap save to upload your observation! Your finding will automatically be uploaded and categorized to our Madison Square Park projects — think of projects as folders where uploads get categorized through specified filters.
Adding your observations will not only help Madison Square Park, but will also be useful data for scientists and naturalists around the World! There are several projects led by a number of ecological groups and organizations that your observations can become a part of like New York Botanical Garden’s New York City EcoFlora or Evan Raskin’s Caterpillars of Eastern North America.
So grab your phone and stop by Madison Square park to begin your own nature exploration!