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New York City Urban Field Station

Job Opportunities

The Natural Areas Conservancy is hiring 13 summer intern positions for the 2018 field season. Most positions must be filled with current CUNY students.

Please send inquiries to
Leila Mougoui,
NYC Parks & Recreation

Call for Entries

Stories of the Nature of Cities 2099
You tell us. What are the stories of people and the nature of cities in 2099?
Prize for Urban Flash Fiction
Deadline for submission: April 15, 2018

Landscapes of Resilience

Hurricane Healing Garden
Rockaway Recovery - On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy swept up the East Coast causing a storm surge that devastated parts of New York. This is the story of how nature, vital to our health and well being, has helped one Queens community unite and heal.
#sandy #natureeffect

Featured Publications

Cover image from book- City of Forests City of FarmsCity of Forests, City of Farms: Sustainability Planning for New York City’s Nature is a history of recent urban forestry and agriculture policy and programs in New York City. The book examines PlaNYC, the city's sustainability plan, to consider how and why nature is constructed in New York City.


[image:] cover image of GTR-NRS-156Stewardship mapping and assessment project: a framework for understanding community-based environmental stewardship - This report is intended to be a guide for those who wish to start STEW-MAP in their own city. Published January 2016.


Publication coverUrban Environmental Stewardship and Civic Engagement: As people around the world increasingly relocate to urban areas, this book discusses how they engage in urban stewardship and what civic participation in the environment means for democracy.

Current Topics

Cover image of Current Topics Issue 3STEW-MAP: Amplifying the Power of Urban Environmental Stewardship Groups

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News, Blogs, and More


Additional News, Blogs, and More

Meeting the Needs of a Dynamic Urban Forest

The New York City Urban Field Station's mission is to improve quality of life in urban areas by conducting and supporting research about social-ecological systems and natural resource management. It began as a partnership between the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station and the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation. The Urban Field Station does the following:

  • Promotes environmental stewardship and ecological literacy (people’s understanding of ecology) to improve human well-being in New York City, the country’s largest and most diverse metropolitan area. 
  • Works with land managers to create innovative “research in action” programs that support urban ecosystems.
  • Conducts comparative research and shares findings with decision makers and researchers in other metropolitan regions in the United States and around the world.
  • Links to a growing network of U.S. Forest Service scientists and university partners who focus on urban research.


SWALE. NYC Urban Field Station artist-in-residence Mary Mattingly has created a floating food forest that invites the public to cultivate fresh food as the barge travels through NYC harbors and acts as a setting for conversations about food and public policy. (Courtesy of A Blade of Grass Foundation’s Fieldworks).


United Nations on International Day of Forests / World Water Day - March 22, 2016 -Presentation by Erika Svendsen and Bram Gunther of the NYC Urban Field Station. (Courtesy United Nations Audio Visual Library).

International Day of Forests 2018: Forests and sustainable cities (via Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)

360° Tour with Videos

The people who live on the Rockaway Peninsula are resilient. This suburb of New York City lost more than 70 residents in the tragedy of September 11, 2001. The area was further devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. With the help of the U.S. Forest Service and other partners, the community is restoring areas damaged by the storm. By using urban forestry and urban agricultural practices, the landscape will be more resilient to future storm events. Many projects are completed or in progress.  

If your experience below does not load, or if you are on a mobile device, we encourage you to open the project here.

Highlighted Projects

[image:] Map showing stewardship areas in NYCSTEW-MAP

The Stewardship Mapping and Assessment Project (STEW-MAP)  is helping us understand how individual citizens, non-profit organizations, businesses, and governments work together to care for specific places and the environment in general . STEW-MAP uses a broad definition of ‘environmental stewardship’ that includes conserving, managing, monitoring, advocating for, and educating the public about local environments (including water, land, air, waste, toxics, and energy issues).

[photo:] The painted tree is a special feature and part of the resilience walk in Joplin, MissouriLandscapes of Resilience

UFS staff are conducting cross-disciplinary research, funded by the TKF Foundation’s program “Open Spaces Sacred Places: The Healing Power of Nature”, that explores how urban green spaces promote individual and community resilience in Joplin, MO and New York City. The two cities face distinct stressors and are in different stages in their recovery timeline (an EF5 tornado in May 2011 vs. Superstorm Sandy in October 2012). Collaborating with Cornell University and local partners in each city (Drury University, City of Joplin, Forest ReLeaf of Missouri, TILL Design), the research team seeks to understand how the processes of collaborative planning and stewardship of natural resources can support recovery from a wide range of disasters and disturbances.

Researcher interviews fishermanReading the Landscape

This citywide social assessment seeks to inform the adaptive management of New York City parkland.  Working in partnership with the Natural Areas Conservancy, Forest Service researchers developed a rapid methodology for understanding the socio-cultural values and services of parkland.  Over the course of 2013-2014, the research team assessed over 9,000 acres of City and Federal land and interviewed over 1,000 parks users.  Data will be shared via a geodatabase, white papers, and journal articles. These social data can be integrated with ecological assessment data collected by the NAC.

Interns evalutating health of treesUrban Tree Health
NYC Urban Field Station researchers are developing a methodology designed to quantify urban tree health at a relatively fine scale, and throughout all phases of tree decline. We have been collecting these tree health metrics for both street trees and park trees within NYC. Starting in 2014, a collaboration with The Nature Conservancy’s Healthy Trees, Healthy Cities program has involved TNC LEAF interns in collecting tree health metrics.

MillionTreesNYC logo - IM INMillionTreesNYC

Forest Service researchers serve as science advisors to MillionTreesNYC, a project that aims to plant and care for one million new trees in New York City. MillionTreesNYC is a joint project of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation and the New York Restoration Project that builds on the sustainability goals of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's PlaNYC 2030. Scientists from across the Northern Research Station have provided  research, monitoring, and evaluation to support the MillionTreesNYC project.

[photo:]  Man standing in middle of a circular stone planter under consturction  inside an urban park. photo credit: Steffi GrahamThe Green, the Grey, and the Human 

Urban Field Station researchers are collaborating with faculty at NYU and SUNY-Buffalo in an interdisciplinary effort to explore critical connections between green infrastructure (e.g., parks, open spaces), grey infrastructure (e.g., streets and buildings), and human health and well-being. This research is funded in part by a contract from the USDA Forest Service to the NYU College of Dentistry, and a consultancy from the NYU College of Dentistry to Dr. Sara Metcalf. It investigates both the underlying structures of the city as well as the human innovations (e.g., individual actions, organizational networks, new forms of governance) that arise in response to competition over scarce urban space, reflect diverse cultural values, and shape the course of natural resource management in cities.

Urban Natural Resources Stewardship at Northern Research Station

The NYC Research Focus Areas fall within the NRS Theme Urban Natural Resources Stewardship.

Each year, we provide a progress report on all the research at the New York City Urban Field Station. Read our current NYC Urban Field Station Progress Report (pdf)

Other NRS Urban Field Stations

In addition to New York City, there are three other urban field stations within the 20 northeastern and north central states served by the Northern Research Station. They include:

Baltimore Field Station
Chicago Urban Field Station
Philadelphia Field Station