Virtual Volunteering @ NYBG

You can contribute to scientific research from anywhere as an active participant in one of our digital transcription expeditions. All active online volunteers are eligible to receive NYBG volunteer benefits*.

Geography: US State Spotter

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Help uncover occurrence data from some of NYBG’s oldest specimens from North America. Your focused mission is to help identify the correct US State where each plant was collected in the wild. This expedition is a great introduction for those who have never tried interpreting scientific specimens before. In the spirit of discovery, I hope you will help us connect researchers to essential biodiversity data!


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Help support innovative bioenergy research by uncovering patterns in the evolution of nitrogen fixation among the world’s plants! This expedition targets specimens of over 3,000 legume species sampled for DNA at the New York Botanical Garden. With your help, scientists can analyze the genetic instructions provided by these samples to engineer bioenergy crops to fix nitrogen via root nodule symbioses. If we are successful, engineered bioenergy crops could be cultivated in marginal lands that have little agricultural value, allowing for new sources of “green” energy.

Operation Red List: Plants of the Caribbean

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Threatened by climate change, deforestation, and sea-level rise, many Caribbean plant species are believed to be headed toward extinction. Fortunately NYBG researchers have developed new methods to rapidly assess conservation status using digitized herbarium specimens. Now more than ever, we need the help of citizen scientists to uncover additional collections of these high-risk species preserved in the NYBG herbarium archives. Focus your skills on transcribing scientific specimens, and join us in the fight to protect Caribbean biodiversity.

Journeys to the "Botanical Fountain of Youth": Expeditions of John K. Small (1869-1938)

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Travel back through time alongside 19th century botanist John Kunkel Small on his many expeditions to explore and understand the plants and people of our country's Subtropics. Get lost in a land that in Small’s words “had drunk in her own rejuvenating waters”. All while collecting historical data to help NYBG scientists reconstruct the primordial native flora of the Southeastern United States.

Resources / Training

Quick Start Guide to Herbarium Specimen Transcribing

*For benefits signup contact our coordinator.
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