Celebrating our 1st Anniversary @ NYBG

Wondrous news everyone!! Today marks one year since we launched The New York Botanical Garden standalone project on Notes from Nature. By all accounts, it’s been a year that’s defied expectations and challenged us all. One constant has been our endless amazement by the talent, determination, and creativity of this incredible community. Your collective accomplishment has been outstanding, and we at NYBG are humbled by your support!

When we launched our first expedition “Islands in the Sky: Alpine Plants and Climate Change”, we never could have expected so many would pitch in to help study plant responses to our changing earth. Now, 12 months (and 13 expeditions) later, more than 850 Notes from Nature – NYBG participants have finished 23,992 full-record classifications, providing scientists access to 7,131 botanical samples and their critical data. On top of that, through your whirlwind completion of “State Spotter” and “Globe Spotter” expeditions, you explored 209 countries and classified higher-geography for over 150,000 collections! Together, these samples represent over 28,526 unique plant species, 5,082 genera, and 348 major plant families–a true cross-section of the taxonomic breath of NYBG.

No less impressive are the multitude of ways you all have all helped improve and refine the precious digital data already held at NYBG. From spotting over 83 previously unrecorded specimens and mixed collections, to identifying hundreds of revisions to location names, collector identities, expedition dates, and more! You have all had an enormous positive impact, benefiting generations of scientists for years to come.

Building upon chance observations, collaboration, and meticulous research in our Virtual Herbarium, Notes from Nature – NYBG participants have raised the bar for “citizen science”, becoming adept and intrepid explorers of natural history archives. I’d love to share and celebrate some of their impressive stories of discovery. I encourage others to add links to your favorites in the accompanying TALK comment thread!

Unmasking the The “Band of Brothers”: Samuel and Sylvio

Discovering the “Gulf of Mexico” … in Vermont!

Deciphering James Colnett’s 1787 Expedition to Alaska

Numeric Nuances of Lucy and Heller

Finding “Flatrock” and the Troubling History of Gibbes and Shoolbred

The Enigmatic “Mrs. Day” and her hand behind the collections

(Thanks @Am.Zooni for your help gathering some of these finds)

I’ll close by saying there is no telling where the next year will lead, but I have no doubt we can count on all of you to be alongside us and make the most of every moment. We are so grateful to be on your team!


Charles Zimmerman @Czimmerman

New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), William and Lynda Steere Herbarium


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