Outdoors, Out Your Window or Online
Duke Gardens supports relationships among people and plants. In this time of physical distancing, we can still connect with each other and the world around us. While Duke Gardens is closed to visitors in keeping with Duke University's COVID-19 policies, we will update this page to share ways to learn, relax, and connect with the human and beyond-human members of our community, whether we go for a walk, observe the world outside our windows, notice what and who sustain us at home, or tap into virtual networks.
We wish our entire community physical and mental health, and we welcome suggestions of resources we can provide. Please contact us at GardensEducation@duke.edu.
Resources & Activities
Ways to Learn, Explore and Play Inspired by Nature from Duke Gardens
Save and revisit this collection of quick, engaging and adaptable ideas for families.
COVID-19 Community Resources from Duke University's Office of Durham & Community Affairs
This site aims to quickly share a wide range of support information and activities for our Duke and Durham community.
Stuck at Home, Not Stuck Inside from the North Carolina Botanical Garden
From our Chapel Hill neighbors: We’ve compiled a list of activities to help you still get your Vitamin N (nature), even if you are confined to your home.
How To Go on a Turtle Trek from Piedmont Wildlife Center
From our Durham neighbors: Learn how you can become part of our citizen science project, Triangle Turtle Trekkers! Check the rest of PWC's facebook page for other ideas of how to spend time outdoors.
Life and Science at Home from the Museum of Life + Science
From our Durham neighbors: On this page, every day, we will share digital content to provide you with engaging ways to learn, ask questions, and discover life and science in exciting new ways.
STEM at Home for Families from NASA
These science, technology, engineering and math activities are fun for kids, adults and the whole family.
Community Science & Identification Apps
Use these apps or websites to record your observations, participate in community science (also called citizen science), and identify some of the living things around you.
- Project BudBurst
- Project BudBurst (browser only)
Plants tell a story about our changing climate. Phenology is the science of tracking a plant. The timing of a plant leafing, flowering and fruiting is affected by temperature, rainfall and day length. A worldwide network of citizen scientists is being created to track the changes in plant seasons, and you can join through Duke Gardens. The data will go into an international resource, the Plant Phenology Network, to assist scientists studying climate.
- Nature's Notebook
- Nature's Notebook (app available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store, also accessible through browser)
Nature's Notebook gathers information on plant and animal phenology across the U.S. to be used for decision-making on local, national and global scales to ensure the continued vitality of our environment. Scientists alone cannot collect enough data: They need your help. Nature's Notebook is a project of the USA National Phenology Network.
- Bumble Bee Watch
- Bumble Bee Watch (app available on Apple App Store, also accessible through browser)
Bumble Bee Watch is a collaborative effort to track and conserve North America’s bumble bees. Upload photos of bumble bees; identify the bumble bees in your photos and have your identifications verified by experts; help researchers determine the status and conservation needs of bumble bees; help locate rare or endangered populations of bumble bees; learn about bumble bees, their ecology, and ongoing conservation efforts; and connect with other citizen scientists.
- iNaturalist (app available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store)
iNaturalist.org is a place where you can record what you see in nature, meet other nature lovers, and learn about the natural world. Every observation can contribute to biodiversity science, from the rarest butterfly to the most common backyard weed. We share your findings with scientific data repositories such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to help scientists find and use your data. All you have to do is observe.
- eBird (app available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store, also accessible through browser)
eBird data document bird distribution, abundance, habitat use and trends through checklist data collected within a simple scientific framework. Birdwatchers enter when, where and how they went birding, and then they fill out a checklist of all the birds they saw and heard during the outing. eBird data have been used in hundreds of conservation decisions and peer-reviewed papers, thousands of student projects, and to help inform bird research worldwide.
- GLOBE Observer
- GLOBE Observer (app available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store, also accessible through browser)
Welcome to GLOBE Observer, an international citizen science initiative to understand our global environment. Your observations help scientists track changes in clouds, water, plants and other life in support of climate research. Scientists also use your data to verify NASA satellite data. And by submitting your observations, you can help students of all ages do real scientific research as part of the GLOBE Program.
- Merlin Bird ID
- Merlin Bird ID (app available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store)
If you've ever wondered, "What is that bird?" let Merlin help you unlock the mystery. Merlin asks you a few simple questions about your observation and taps into eBird, a database with millions of sightings from birders around the world, to find out what species you're most likely to encounter. Browse Merlin's short list of photos to find your match. Listen to sounds, learn more about where the species lives, tell your friends about your new bird, then go find another bird to identify.
- FloraQuest (app available on Apple App Store; $7.99)
FloraQuest connects you with everything you need to know about naturally occurring plants in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic U.S.: interactive keys that use your location to streamline the process of identifying plants; an illustrated glossary to decipher botanical terms; full descriptions of species, varieties, subspecies, genera and plant families; references, identification notes, images, and distributions; and a way to record plants you find, with photos, dates and location, and browse others' records.
Virtual Tours, Livestreams & Webcams
- Webcams in Beaufort, NC from the Duke Marine Lab
- Webcams around the United States from the US Geological Survey
- Virtual Tours of Yellowstone National Park from the National Park Service
- Webcams featuring fishing bears, ocean wildlife, and bald eagle nests from the National Park Service
- BloomCam, a view of Washington, D.C.'s cherry blossoms, from the Trust for the National Mall
- Live Cams of bird nests and feeders from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- Live Cams of marine animals from the Monterey Bay Aquarium