Home > Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Get to know how we use your data

Habitat Network is designed to gather and disseminate information about land use practices.

References to “us,” “we,” and “our” mean the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and The Nature Conservancy.

Consent to Collection and Processing in the United States. By using Habitat Network, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. This website is operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and The Nature Conservancy under the domain name: habitat.network and yardmap. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and The Nature Conservancy understand the importance of our participants’ privacy. Our privacy policy tells you what information we collect when you visit our website, how we use, share and protect it, what choices you have about how the information is used, and how you can access and update that information. If you do not agree to this privacy policy, please do not use this website. This privacy policy applies to personally identifiable information collected on the website where this privacy policy is posted. Certain aspects of this privacy policy also apply to the personally identifiable information we collect offline.

No information from children under age 18. If you are under age 18, please do not attempt to register for Habitat Network or provide any personal information about yourself to us. If we learn that we have collected personal information from a child under age 18, we will delete that information as quickly as possible. If you believe that we might have any information from a child under age 18, please contact us with an email to help@habitat.network.

Content. One of the primary reasons people use Habitat Network is to share content with others, including researchers at the Lab and the Conservancy (and our affiliate researchers). Examples include when you update your status, share a photo, share a link, create a group, make a comment, fill-in characteristics, or draw a map.

1. Information we collect when you interact with Habitat Network:

Site activity information. We keep track of some of the actions you take on Habitat Network, such as adding connections (including joining a group or following someone), adding a photo to an object, indicating you “like” a post, or creating (and editing) a map. In some cases you are also taking an action when you provide information or content to us. For example, if you comment on another person’s mapped tree, in addition to storing the actual content you generated, we might log the fact that you commented.

Access Device and Browser Information. When you access Habitat Network from a computer, mobile phone, or other device, we may collect information from that device about your browser type, location, and IP address, as well as the pages you visit.

Cookie Information. Our website also uses cookies. Cookies are small text files that are stored on a user’s computer and allow websites to remember information about users. We use cookies for a variety of purposes in order to enhance the quality of our website. We use transient (also called “session ID”) cookies to provide continuity from page to page. A session ID cookie expires when you close your browser. We also use persistent cookies. Persistent cookies allow our online store and other parts of our website to recognize your browser when you return after your first visit to that part of our website. Cookies allow us to personalize your return visits to our site and to save you time during certain activities, such as checking out from our online store. You can choose to remove persistent cookies through your browser options. However, if you do so, your ability to use some areas of our site will be limited, such as our map view history, or personal setup of the website.

Information from other users. We may collect information about you from other Habitat Network users, such as when someone indicates a relationship with you.

3. Sharing information with Habitat Network.

This section explains how your privacy settings work, and how your information is shared on Habitat Network. You should always consider your privacy settings before sharing information on Habitat Network.

Usernames and Profile Pictures. If you give your real name during sign-up it will be publicly displayed on the site. By registering, you allow us to associate your information with a unique identifier (username), so that you can track your personal observations (e.g., backyard habitat, plans for habitat improvement) and share them with others without revealing your identity. If you are concerned about sharing your real name we encourage you to choose a username that does not match your real name. If you choose to upload a profile picture that profile picture will be visible to everyone in Habitat Network. If you are uncomfortable having a picture displayed, then do not upload one.

Profile Information. Profile Information allows us to gain a better understanding of Habitat Network participants and to determine how best to improve the day-to-day website experience for Habitat Network users.
Your profile information settings control who can contact you on Habitat Network, and who can see the information you share by creating maps or sharing photos. Remember that none of this information is required except for your email address, and you do not have to share your email address with anyone.

Posts by Users. When you post a note or comment on your map or in the forum that information becomes visible to all Habitat Network participants. If you do not wish your posts to be visible to other Habitat Network users you should not use the note-keeping or comment-leaving functionality.

Habitat Maps. Habitat observations are the most important pieces of information that we collect. All details of an observation and its associated location are available to other Habitat Network participants. However, only information pertaining to habitat observations is available; no personal contact information is ever made public. Never use a real address or full name to identify a Site, Object, or Yourself if you are concerned about privacy.

Birth Date. In addition to name and email address, we require you to provide your birth date during the registration process. We ask for your date of birth to verify that you are 18 or older, and so that we can better limit minor access to content that are not age appropriate. Because your date of birth is required, you cannot delete them. This information will be automatically hidden from other users.

Zip code. In addition to name, email address, and birth date, we request your zip code from you. The sole purpose of this piece of information is to provide custom “My Resources” which deliver localized information to our Explore page, such as you eco-region, gardening zone, and local cooperative extension office.


  • Some of the content you share and the actions you take will show up on your friends’ home pages and other pages they visit.
  • Even after you remove information from your profile or from the map, or delete your account, copies of that information may remain viewable elsewhere to the extent it has been shared with others and/ or stored in the Cornell database as scientific data.
  • You understand that information might be reshared or copied by other users.
  • When you post information on another user’s profile or comment on another user’s post, that information becomes visible to other users.
  • If you use an external source to publish information from the Habitat Network (such as pushing content to Facebook), you should check the privacy setting for that post, as it is set by that external source.

3. How We Use Your Information

We use the information we collect to conduct research on relationships to wildlife, plants and ecological processes, and to try to provide a safe, efficient, and customized experience. Specifically, we use collected information:

To manage the application. We use the information we collect to provide our services and features to you, to measure and improve those services and features, and to provide you with customer support. We use the information to prevent potentially illegal activities, and to enforce our Terms of Use. We also use a variety of technological systems to detect and address anomalous activity and screen content to prevent abuse such as spam. These efforts may on occasion result in a temporary or permanent suspension or termination of some functions for some users.

To contact you. We may contact you with service-related announcements from time to time. You may opt out of all communications except essential updates on your account notifications page. We may include content you see on Habitat Network in the emails we send to you. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and The Nature Conservancy may use your personally identifiable information to deliver the products and services that you request, enhance your experience on our site, and for internal business analysis consistent with this policy. We may email you to request more details pertaining to Habitat Network’s data collection efforts, but your email address and contact information will not be sold outside the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and The Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy may, in addition, use the information collected for the purposes listed in the Privacy Statement (you can access by visiting this link https://www.nature.org/about-us/governance/privacy-policy.xml). You may opt out by by calling The Nature Conservancy at (800) 628- 6860, or emailing us at member@tnc.org.

To conduct research. Information we collect about your land management practices and the habitats on your sites are used to conduct scientific research and publish, and/ or present the results. The security and confidentiality of your information is extremely important to us, and we take a number of steps to safeguard any personally identifiable information that you provide to us. However, no method of transmitting or storing electronic data is ever completely secure, and therefore we cannot warrant or guarantee that such information will never be accessed, used or released in a manner that is inconsistent with this policy.

4. How We Share Information
To support and grow its membership base, the Lab exchanges its member names and street addresses (when you supply one during the sign-up process) with other nonprofit organizations with missions related to conservation. We do not sell or make any profit from your name and street address. The Lab never exchanges or sells any email addresses, phone numbers or other personally identifiable information with third parties. You may send an email or letter to our members group requesting your record to be coded “Do Not Trade” and we will be happy not to include your name and street address in our exchanges with other conservation organizations.

5. How You Can Change or Remove Information

Editing your profile. You may change or remove some of your profile information at any time by going to your profile page in the “Forum” and clicking “Configure.” Information will be updated immediately. You can also access your citizen scientist account to edit that information by clicking on your username in the upper righthand corner on any of our webpages while logged in.

Deleting your account. If you want to stop using your account you may do so at any time. You may also manually delete some profile information. You can also delete any sites you’ve created in Habitat Network. However, we maintain hidden copies of the observational data you submitted to Habitat Network because it may be needed for future scientific analyses.

6. How We Protect Information
The security and confidentiality of your information is extremely important to us, and we take a number of steps to safeguard any personally identifiable information that you provide to us. However, no method of transmitting or storing electronic data is ever completely secure, and therefore we cannot warrant or guarantee that such information will never be accessed, used or released in a manner that is inconsistent with this policy.

Links to Other Sites. We may provide links on our website to other sites we think you will enjoy. These sites operate independently of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and The Nature Conservancy and have established their own privacy and security policies. We encourage you to be aware when you leave our site and to read these policies at any site you visit.

7. Other Terms

Changes. We may amend this privacy policy at any time. If we make any material changes in the way we collect, use, and/or share your personally identifiable information, we will notify you by sending you an email at the last email address that you provided us and/or by prominently posting notice of the changes on the websites covered by this privacy policy. In any event, changes to this privacy policy may affect our use of personally identifiable information that you provided us prior to our notification to you of the changes.
Contact Us
If you have questions or wish to send us comments about this privacy policy, please write us at:
Habitat Network
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Rd
Ithaca, NY 14850