NYCHA in Nature

NYCHA in Nature

NYCHA in Nature participants bird at the Beach 41st Street NYCHA housing complex

2023 Pilot

NYCHA in Nature launched in spring 2023 with a guided bird outing in every borough, from the Beach 41st Street Houses in Far Rockaway to urban forest of the Riis, Wald, and Baruch Houses on the Lower East Side. 

NYC Audubon provided guides, loaner binoculars, and resources such as our new Spanish-English guide to NYC birds. Local organizations and other partners helped organize and publicize the events. The enthusiasm of participants in these first outings shows that there is excitement for building out the program for the future.
NYCHA in Nature bird outing near the Baruch and Wald houses on the Lower East Side on April 16, 2023
NYCHA in Nature bird outing near the Baruch and Wald houses on the Lower East Side on April 16, 2023
About the Program
NYCHA in Nature is a collaboration with NYCHA residents and local organizations to engage people in urban biodiversity and climate resilience. We envision that every campus will have a set of nature and sustainability programs, with tenant associations taking the lead on programming and promotion. 

Programs could include:
  • Guided bird outings 
  • Recruiting and training residents and youth to lead outings and projects
  • Volunteer and community science programs such as injured bird rescue or collision monitoring

Program Goals

  • Build relationships with NYCHA residents for nature experiences, wildlife stewardship, and sustainability.
  • Help create a more climate-resilient, healthy NYC environment for people and birds alike.
  • Increase equity in access to urban nature and its many benefits.
  • Engage a broader cross-section of New Yorkers in nature, birds, and conservation action.

Why This Program is Needed

For health and well-being
Research shows that nature experiences improve mental and physical health, social cohesion, and children’s ability to learn. Yet too many urban residents, especially in communities of color, lack that connection.

For a greener and more sustainable NYC
Getting people outdoors to enjoy wildlife and involving them in environmental stewardship is the best way to inspire a conservation ethic and motivate people to take action. The 12% of City residents who live in NYCHA housing can be important stewards of biodiversity in their communities.
NYCHA in Nature outing participants walk along Canarsie Pier towards the Bay View Houses
NYCHA in Nature outing participants walk along Canarsie Pier towards the Bay View Houses
New York City Housing Authority
The New York City Housing Authority's (NYCHA) 335 developments provide affordable housing to 600,000 people, predominantly Black and Latinx. Many NYCHA complexes are in park-like settings—collectively, NYCHA campuses contain 10,000 acres of urban forest. These green spaces invite nature observation, habitat enhancement, and bird-friendly improvements. Nearly all NYCHA complexes have robust, democratically elected resident councils that take ownership in their communities. The housing authority has a sustainability agenda that includes resident-led projects in community climate action and sustainability through its nonprofit partner, the Public Housing Community Fund.
Far Rockaway residents from Beach 41st Street Houses and the surrounding community look for shorebirds at a NYCHA in Nature outing
Far Rockaway residents from Beach 41st Street Houses and the surrounding community look for shorebirds at a NYCHA in Nature outing
Program Partner
The Public Housing Community Fund, NYCHA's nonprofit partner, forges partnerships to invest in public housing communities. It aims to build a stronger, more equitable New York City through transformative programs that enhance the lives of NYCHA residents.

NYCHA in Nature Sponsors

We thank our funders for their generous support of our NYCHA in Nature program

  • National Audubon Society
  • NYC Green Fund administered by City Parks Foundation
  • The Ferriday Fund Charitable Trust