Washington Square Park – Nature Squared

Eastern Redbud and Flowering Dogwood There is an Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) growing in the northeast corner of the park. It is located in a fenced off area thus inaccessible for phone photography. This photo is of an easy to reach redbud in the neighborhood. The redbud is a native species and grows in the

Washington Square Park – Breaking Bloom

Spring is a time of unfurling leaves and opening flowers, and bird migration, too. BREAKING NEWS: Kwanzan Cherry flowers are open. There are still many florets–peak bloom isn’t close. But it’s thrilling to observe the progression from closed buds to open flowers. The scientific name of this cherry tree is Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’. Check out the Phenology Project

A snowy day in the park. Source: NYU Archives. Date: Circa 1950-1959.

Washington Square Park – Year at a Glance

We’ve been spending lots of time looking in physical and digital archives and collections for different projects. Even when we aren’t focused on WSP, the park is never far from our minds. Here are four historic photos that capture the seasons of the park. A snowy day in the park. Too bad we are in

A large pile of Christmas trees waiting to be chipped into mulch.

Washington Square Park – Turned Over a New Leaf

Did you get the idiom in the title? Speaking of leaves, when you visit the park at this time of year, the leaves you’ll see are evergreen–broadleaf (ex: hollies) and needle-leaf (ex: Eastern White Pine). Look at the Mulch Fest pile! It has grown. If you participate, remove decorations, plastic, any and everything that’s fake.

Cooper's hawk on a branch, Washington Square Park,

Washington Square Park – December 21, 2022

Washington Square Park was a Christmas Bird Count site on December 18, 2022. The morning’s checklist can be viewed here. If you celebrate with a live tree, please drop off your tree at the end of the season. NYC Parks and NYC Sanitation will mulch your tree! Trees have been planted in the sidewalks around the

QUERCUS oak scuplure set up on plaza in a park on City of Forest Day October 15 2022 Photo by Hannah Emple

QUERCUS in Washington Square Park

Local Nature Lab, our parent org, commissioned Data Vandals to design and build QUERCUS. The data-rich bio-artwork was piloted in Washington Square Park on July 30, 2022. A big shout out to the backers of the Kickstarter campaign and to all the park-goers who took a look, asked questions, and shared stories. Enjoy this video

A map of tree canopy and the flow of Minetta Brook in/through Washington Square Park in NYC

Washington Square Park Tree Map is live again!

The Washington Square Park eco map is back! Our thanks to Dakota London, an NYU student, who worked with us this summer. The map includes most of the park’s trees as well as adjacent sidewalk trees. The map also includes the route of Minetta Brook, data courtesy of Steve Duncan, PhD. View the map. A

Inflorescence of an oakleaf hydrangea

Washington Square Park – June 8, 2022

TreeWonderWSP is back for the rest of June! Come join us to observe and draw (or write) the oldest tree in Manhattan. Yes, the English Elm in the northwest corner of the park is the island’s oldest tree. There are a couple of places to find hawthorns in the park. There are several trees growing

leaf bud with leaf visible, tuliptree

Washington Square Park – May 10, 2022

The deciduous trees in the park have leafed out, and the warblers and other migratory birds are here! The lede photo looks into the park from the northwest corner which is again barricaded. Full disclosure: our survey permit allows us to enter this area of the park on a biweekly basis to count birds. Let’s

Two children in pink jackets posting with their bird art.

Nature Programming for All

We hosted two programs in April to spotlight the biodiversity of New York City with a focus on birds. On April 21, we unveiled a new art activity: What’s Your Wingspan?, at the Earth Day celebration in Union Square. We traced children’s outstretched arms, measured the span, and the children illustrated an imaginary or real

Purpleleaf plum flowers in bloom.

Washington Square Park – April 19, 2022

Yoshino Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis) trees, above, are no longer in bloom. The trees are leafing out. Crabapple (Malus) flowers are open now. Two locations to view the flowers en masse are the grouping across from the Holley Monument and the grove to the west of the Arch. The park is also home to Kwanzan

A star magnolia flower side view white petals with pink blush at the base.

Washington Square Park – Mar 20, 2022

Last week the showy-flowering magnolias and ornamental cherries began to reveal their petals. The photo above is of a Star Magnolia flower emerged from a terminal bud. Leaves are also housed in the terminal buds of this species. This flower is not open phenologically speaking–the petals are still obscuring the reproductive organs. Outside of their

Photo by Diane Helentjaris via unsplash of Binoculars rest on a bird identification book open to a page on owls.

Washington Square Park – Christmas Bird Count 2021

We are proud to be a Christmas Bird Count site again this year. Join us for a collabirdtive excursion on Sunday, December 19, 3pm ET. Christmas Bird Count Covid-19 Guidance Please do not attend this program if you meet any of the below conditions on the day that it is held, as per CDC guidelines.

Photo by Daiga Ellaby via unsplash of adult and child wearing boots, standing on soil

Washington Square Park – Dec 14, 2021

Last week, we released Part Two of a mini-series about parents who bird on the Your Bird Story podcast. You will hear stories from Jen Kepler (Brooklyn, NYC) and Bryony Angell (Washington state). Bryony describes the episode: “We talk about making the most of the immediate surroundings to bird, opportunistic birding and insistence to the

NYC Parks staff managing the leaf mulch project in Washington Square Park, Nov 2021

Washington Square Park – Nov 30, 2021

Leave the leaves is a rallying cry and campaign to land managers to let nature’s mulch, fallen leaves, do the work of insulating the soil, providing habitat for ground dwelling and feeding animals, and returning nutrients to the soil. In Washington Square Park, leaves that fall on lawns are collected, mechanically clipped, and reallocated throughout

Tow tuliptrees with fall foliage of yellows and oranges, growing in a mounded grassy area,, Nov 15, 2021, Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park – Nov 16, 2021

Our lead photo is of the two tuliptrees in the park. The picture was taken on November 15, 2021 and shows the trees slightly post-peak foliage. Although there are still green leaves, some of the colored leaves are dried but persisting on the trees. We are monitoring the tree on the right year-round as part

person sitting beneath a tuliptree and reading a book, washington square park, fall 2021

Washington Square Park – Nov 2 2021

As always, we’ve got “feather and foliage” news. On October 16th, we hosted a Birdtober 2021 count. The group observed 21 species including yellow-bellied sapsucker, flicker, ruby-crowned kinglet, various thrushes and sparrows, towhee, and palm warbler. Thank you to the folks who participated in this collabirdtive event. The park is still full of birds. We

A white board A list of bird species observed and heard at the Naval Cemetery Landscape in May 2021

Conducting Fieldwork with Children

At the 11th Enhancing Fieldwork Learning Showcase, Georgia spoke about Explore Birds, an environmental education program, as a pathway for children to learn basic field methods. Field work is perceived as happening in the realm of adults but children can conduct field work. Environmental education programs area perfect vehicle to introduce observation skills and various

three red-tailed hawk eggs in a nest on a window ledge with tree canopy in the background

Washington Square Park – Jul 2021

Washington Square Park Nature News July 2021 edition: Public parks are our local nature Red-tailed hawk breeding season This year’s red-tailed hawk breeding season in Washington Square Park was unsuccessful. The female did lay three eggs and sat on them well beyond the typically incubation period. She eventually abandoned the nest. The pair is a

Event – Bird Program at the Naval Cemetery Landscape

Explore birds with us at the Naval Cemetery Landscape on May 2nd, 10:30am EDT. The NCL is located on the Brooklyn Greenway. Activities include a kid-friendly bird walk and bird craft, with an opportunity to check out some bird specimens. BYOB- bring your own binoculars! RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/family-friendly-bird-program-at-the-ncl-tickets-151729736727.

yoshino cherry blossoms in Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park – Apr 2021

Trees It is blossom time! The Yoshino cherry and magnolias are putting on a stunning show right now. The cornelian cherry, a dogwood, has already flowered, but look out for the flowering dogwood. The maples and elms flowered and are now putting out leaves (red maple) or fruit (silver maple and elms). The next cherry

Washington Square Park – Feb 2021

In the rush of joy about the election of Warnock and Ossoff in Georgia, followed by the infuriating and terrifying insurrection on the Capitol, and then the glow of excellence at the Inauguration of Biden and Harris, we failed to publish a January newsletter! The iconic Englism elm in the northwest corner of the park

Washington Square Park – Dec 2020

The birdy stuff Explore Birds From Home is back! We are offering TWO STEAMy classes this month. Join us on Dec 9th and Dec 16th, both days at 3:30 pm ET. Free and fun and great for 5-10 year olds. Register here. The FOURTH episode of Your Bird Story will be released on Thursday, Dec10th.

Yoshion cherry, fall foliage, Nov 2020, Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park – Nov 2020

Thank you for being a voter during the recent General Election. We are excited about the next steps in the movements for racial equity and environmental justice. We wrapped up Explore Birds From Home last month. We had lots of STEAMy fun! Check out some of the objects created by the youth participants. Many of


Explore Birds From Home 2020 – Objects

Explore Birds From Home concluded on October 30, 2020. Here is a gallery of some of the birdy objects created by the youth participants. Binoculars (red-tailed hawk) Pecking machine (red-bellied woodpecker, yellow-bellied sapsucker) Projectile machine / catapult (Cooper’s hawk) Hidden bird / camouflage (brown creeper

Green ash leaf

Washington Square Park – Oct 2020

This initiative is led by a Black woman and its bird program is run by a white woman accomplice. Black Lives Matter to us, still! We encourage you to complete the 2020 Census and to vote. Vote early and in-person, if you can do so safely. There are three sessions remaining in Explore Birds From

Explore Birds From Home 2020 – Session 1

Participating in Explore Birds From Home 2020, kids 5-10 years old will learn about birds, their super powers, and create bird-inspired objects using common household items. We kicked off the program on August 25th. We went on a treasure hunt for red objects and shared stories about them, compared a red-tailed hawk eye to the

Explore Birds From Home program flyer

Explore Birds From Home

Kids 5-10 years old, join Eco Projects + KoKo NYC for free bird natural history and maker classes! We will learn about birds, their super powers, and create bird-inspired objects using common household items. There is a new theme each class. The first theme is BINOCULARS and class will be held on Tuesday, August 25th,

Explore Birds From Home logo

Washington Square Park – Aug 2020

Although the Black Lives Matter uprisings have moved on from the park, the demands for racial and economic justice are ongoing in NYC, nationally, and globally. This month we are launching Explore Birds From Home, free bird natural history and maker classes, in collaboration with the teaching artists at KoKo NYC. This program is funded

A tree spray painted in Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park – Jul 202

We don’t have an official statement about the protest marks on the monuments in the park, but we have to speak out against the defacement of trees in the park. Trees are living beings, not objects, with inherent rights to exist and thrive. Please do not “tag” the trees in Washington Square Park or elsewhere.

Washington Square Park – Jun 2020

I am writing this newsletter with a very heavy heart. The racial animus that has led to the deaths of and threats to too many Black lives is frightening, appalling, and maddening. Action is necessary right now. You can call or write to your elected officials to demand substantive and sustainable reforms.  You can march with racial

Red-tailed hawks perched on a church cross

Washington Square Park – May 2020

The Covid-19 situation in New York and elsewhere remains grim. We hope you and all your loved ones are well and safe. Our in-person public programs are still on hold, but we have resumed our bird survey and plant phenology monitoring programs with appropriate physical distancing protocols. For official park status updates, please visit the

Yoshino cherry, Washington Square Park, March 2020

Washington Square Park – Apr 2020

We hope this newsletter finds you and yours healthy and safe. Our wildlife and plant phenology surveys, the EXPLORE BIRDS education program, and related community science experiences are on hold. We miss spending time in the park. We will miss observing the changes in the trees and shrubs, the arrival of migratory birds, and the

Washington Square Park – Our Past Work, 2018-2014

The seed for Washington Square Park Eco Projects took root in 2013. We launched as WSP Ecology in 2014 with the park’s first online tree map, WSP Eco Map. The map also featured layer of Minetta Brook’s historic and contemporary flows. In 2016, we received our first permit to conduct a long-term wildlife survey from

Carolina wren, GBBC 2020 poster

Washington Square Park – Great Backyard Bird Count 2020

Please save the date for the 2020 Great Backyard Bird Count in the park. We will be walking the transect and counting winter birds on the morning of Saturday, February 15th. Email us for start time and meeting location. By the way, a Carolina wren (pictured above) was last seen in the park on October 5, 2019.

Red-bellied woodpecker by Richard Davis

Washington Square Park – Christmas Bird Count 2019

On an unseasonably warm Saturday last December, five observers counted birds in Washington Square Park for the 2019 Christmas Bird Count (CBC). The CBC is a project of the Audubon Society and is organized in the five boroughs by NYC Audubon. We hope to make the CBC a regular annual event in the park. We

Feminist Bird Club + Eco Projects walk in Washington Square Park, Oct 5, 2019

Washington Square Park – Fall Bird Walk with Feminist Bird Club

Our second annual fall bird walk with the Feminist Bird Club was held on October 5th. We walked the WSP Wildlife Survey transect for over two hours and observed 23 species. In addition to pigeon, house sparrow, and starling, we saw catbird, creeper, vireo, jay, pewee, wrens, warblers, woodpeckers, and thrushes.

Biodiversity Day 2019 at 6&B Garden

Explore Birds at Biodiversity Day at 6&B Garden

EXPLORE BIRDS will participate again the Biodiversity Day at the 6&B in the Lower East Side. Learn about the many aspects of backyard biodiversity with Melinda Billings, Loyan Beausoleil, Georgia Silvera Seamans, & Amy Berkov on Saturday, September 28, 2019 1:00 – 4:00 pm at the Sixth Street & Avenue B Garden in the Lower

EXPLORE BIRDS, Pelham Bay Park Nature Day 2019

Explore Birds at Pelham Bay Park Nature Day

EXPLORE BIRDS, our portable bird education program, was invited by New York City Wildflower Week to participate in the first Pelham Bay Park Nature Day on August 31, 2019. Pelham Bay is a beautiful park, and we enjoyed meeting other exhibitors and talking to fellow New Yorkers about birds.

bird specimens from WSP Eco Projects ed collection

Explore Birds at Practice Space in Cambridge, MA

EXPLORE BIRDS went to Cambridge, Massachusetts on August 1, 2019 for an open studio hosted by Practice Space. We took seven specimens to the studio: American Goldfinch, American Kestrel, Cooper’s Hawk, European Starling, Rock Pigeon, and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Would you like to incorporate biological illustration into your studio’s programming? Email us at hello (at) wspecoprojects

EXPLORE BIRDS with the Uni Project in Union Square

Your Bird Story in East Harlem, NYC

Join us this Friday, July 26, 2019 at the EXPLORE NYC cart where we will be recording the bird stories of everyday New Yorkers. Find us at East 106th St and Third Ave, 9:30 am – 1 pm. See you there!

EXPLORE BIRDS with the Uni Project at Albee Square

Explore Birds in Hamilton Heights, NYC

We will staff the Uni Project Street Lab EXPLORE NYC cart at Hamilton Heights cart on Saturday, July 27th, 1-5 pm. The Sugar Hill Weekend Walks will be held at Hamilton Place at 142nd Street. Join us!