EXPLORE NYC, a pop-up exhibit about urban nature

EXPLORE NYC is a pop-up exhibit about urban nature, with specimens, microscopes and hands-on activities. Designed for New Yorkers of all ages and always free, elements include:

  • leaves, bugs and other bio-facts, all labeled and available for handling, including museum-quality bird study-skins (e.g. a red-tailed hawk) provided through a partnership with Washington Square Park Eco Projects;
  • microscopes and magnifying glasses;
  • books about urban nature;
  • materials for biological drawing, texture rubbing, puzzles, and more;
  • a custom-designed cart that stores, moves, and displays the collection (which can be closed and locked in place), and eight benches for seating;
  • staff to set up and run the program (one program staff member and one manager);
  • visiting experts at many deployments;
  • an option for other organizations to participate by adding special collections and activities.

Here’s what happens: people are curious and approach. They pick up moss, rocks, or other specimens and look at them one-by-one under a microscope or magnifying glass. Some browse books, or are inspired to collect leaves from the ground nearby. Many draw what they see with watercolor pencils, or rub crayons on paper to reveal textures. People love the experience of observing an acorn under a microscope, or holding a starling study-skin in their hands. This program has served New Yorkers since 2017.

Help us bring EXPLORE NYC to more neighborhoods!

Become a sponsor of EXPLORE NYC!

EXPLORE NYC is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Blog posts about EXPLORE NYC:

EXPLORE in NYC Chinatown supported by Blackstone volunteers

EXPLORE in NYC Chinatown supported by Blackstone volunteers

Residents and visitors to Chinatown had an opportunity to explore urban nature in Sara D. Roosevelt Park in Chinatown, thanks to the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Blackstone employees who volunteered and work one-on-one with children. Blackstone has generously...

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We're getting a "new" name... Street Lab.

The Uni Project is the work of Street Lab, a nonprofit launched in 2006 in Boston, where we created community-oriented programs for public space. In 2011, we migrated Street Lab to New York City and launched the Uni Project. The Uni began as a single, portable reading room and has since grown into a city-wide initiative offering more than 700 days of pop-up programming in 150+ public spaces across the city. In 2019, we are re-introducing our original name Street Lab to tie all this work together going forward, with much more to come.

For now, details about our programs are available here on the Uni Project web site. Soon, that content will move to www.streetlab.org. Thanks for sticking with us!