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About Us

Habitat Network is a citizen science project designed to cultivate a richer understanding of wildlife habitat, for both professional scientists and people concerned with their local environments. We collect data by asking individuals across the country to literally draw maps of their backyards, parks, farms, favorite birding locations, schools, and gardens. We connect you with your landscape details and provide tools for you to make better decisions about how to manage landscapes sustainably.

Our Backyard

Habitat Network is housed at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology located in beautiful Sapsucker Woods. We’re home to a growing great blue heron rookery, an engaging visitor center, and the team of scientists, developers, conservationists, and educators who work together to bring you YardMap.

Habitat Network is also the world’s first interactive citizen scientist social network. When you join you are instantly connected to the work of like-minded individuals in your neighborhood, and across the country. Together you can become a conservation community focused on sharing strategies, maps, and successes to build more wildlife habitat.

The Science of Habitat Network

What kinds of questions are we seeking to answer with your help?

  1. What practices improve the wildlife value of residential landscapes?
  2. Which of these practices have the greatest impact?
  3. Over how large an area do we have to implement these practices to really make a difference?
  4. What impact do urban and suburban wildlife corridors and stopover habitats have on birds?
  5. Which measures (bird counts? nesting success?) show the greatest impacts of our practices?

Brought to you by

This project launched at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology as YardMap in March 2012. It was funded by an NSF Informal Science Education grant (No. 0917487 ) in 2009 led by Janis Dickinson, Faculty Director of Citizen Science at the Cornell Lab. In 2014 Dickinson, Crain, and Bielaczyc (Director, Hiatt Center for Urban Education, Clark University) received a second NSF grant (Cyberlearning No. 1441527) to continue improving the YardMap platform for citizen science. Additionally, funds from the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future (PIs – Dickinson, McLeod and Schuldt from the Department of Communication), Smith Lever (PIs – Cerra (Landscape Architecture), Crain, and Dickinson) and Toward Sustainability Foundation (Crain and Dickinson) have provided funding to support research and outreach using the YardMap Web application from 2013-present. In 2016 we became a partnership between The Nature Conservancy and Cornell Lab of Ornithology that expands the YardMap platform into the Habitat Network.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Get to Know Project Staff

Curious about the Habitat Network team? Learn all about us here.