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How to Be a Naturalist

Rebecca Ray


“Be curious. Look closely. Watch patiently.” — Advice for making your own discoveries, Rebecca Ray, Citizen Scientist


A child with a smart phone takes a photo of a plant.
A Naturalist is a student of natural history- someone who is curious about their surroundings, both past and present, and wants to learn more! Are you curious about the wild plants and animals you share your neighborhood with?

For example: Ever notice birds outside your window? Spider webs in the corner of a room? The way your neighborhood bursts every spring, a thousand different shades of green?

I bet you have. And guess what? You’re a Neighborhood Naturalist! Try getting to know a few of your wild neighbors this summer. With each new connection you make, your neighborhood will become a little richer! And with a little more information, and a few more tools, you can be a Citizen Scientist too.

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Backyard Nature

What can you discover in your own backyard? Join a Museum Exhibit Developer to dig into the amazing world of backyard nature. Use your keen sense of observation to find the hidden worlds in your own backyard by noticing birds, insects, plants and more!

Watch The Video

Get Started!



Tools of a Naturalist

They aren’t all what you might expect...and you already have some with you!  

Gather Your Tools
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Am I a Citizen Scientist

Anyone can be a Citizen Scientist! NHMU needs your help this summer.

Learn more
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What is a Naturalist?

Take photos of nature to learn about your wild neighbors and contribute to science. 

Discover iNaturalist


Back to Neighborhood Naturalists for Kids!