How to Read a Landscape: Botany & Ecology With Annie Novak - Atlas Obscura Experiences
It’s finally here! Download our iOS app and discover the world’s hidden wonders on the go!
It’s finally here! Download our iOS app and discover the world’s hidden wonders on the go! LAUNCH PARTNER

How to Read a Landscape: Botany & Ecology With Annie Novak

Tue, Jan 25, 2022
3 sessions
$65 per person
See Dates
$65 per person
$65 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

In this three-part lecture series, learn how to experience new and familiar landscapes with greater depth by building an understanding of soil, plant, and ecology fundamentals.

Course Description

The characteristics of a living environment can tell us mountains of information about the conditions and history of a place without saying a word. In this three-part intensive led by Annie Novak, learn to read the spaces around you—whether you’re looking out your car window while stuck in traffic or hiking along a new trail. We’ll use the fundamentals of soil, plant, and animal ecologies to explore new and familiar landscapes, developing keener observation skills along the way. By the end of this course, you’ll not only have concrete, scientific tools you can use to identify species and features of the environment around you, but you’ll also have the capacity to relationship-build with the nonhuman—an art that draws from the sciences and the humanities; learned wisdom and curiosity.

This course is open to wayfarers and landscape-readers of all levels; no prior experience is required. Whether you’ve always wondered why carnivorous plants are found in bogs or what a tree’s rings or canopy tells us about the history of a place, this class is for you!

Syllabus at a Glance

There are three total sessions included in this purchase, each lasting for 1.5 hours on three consecutive Tuesdays beginning January 25.

Session 1 (Tuesday, 1/25/2022, 6:30–8 PM ET)| Reading a Landscape: Accessing prior knowledge while identifying clues and characteristics

Session 2 (Tuesday, 2/1/2022, 6:30–8 PM ET)| Site Engagement: Developing ways of seeing and understanding ecologies

Session 3 (Tuesday, 2/8/2022, 6:30–8 PM ET)| Looking Back; Looking Forward: Telling time in a landscape

Between Sessions

Outside of class, students will be encouraged to complete optional activities related to class content, including an identification practicum, phenological journaling, and local explorations. 

Pricing Options

We currently offer tiered ticket pricing in an effort to increase accessibility for all students, regardless of their economic situation. Our lecture series are available at three ticket prices, with a limited number of no-pay spots available for students who could not otherwise participate. This model is intended to support a wider range of students as well as our instructors. To learn more about our tiered sliding scale pricing model, please visit our FAQ page. 

Atlas Obscura Online Courses

This online course is offered by Atlas Obscura. Founded in 2009, Atlas Obscura created the definitive, community-driven guide to the most incredible places on the planet and is now an award-winning travel company that shares the world’s hidden wonders in person and online.

Our online courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. Courses can take one of two forms: Seminars are intimate, interactive classes—capped at nine to 25 students—exploring topics and crafts through discussion, workshops, assignments, and in-class activities. We also offer lecture series that can be attended live, or viewed via a recording that will be shared within 72 hours after each session airs. Class recordings for lecture series will be available with a temporary password for up to two weeks following the final session of the course.

To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit

For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.

Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to the class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access your course via Zoom on each scheduled date and time.

About Your Instructor
Annie Novak
Annie Novak

Annie Novak is the founder and director of Growing Chefs, field-to-fork food education program; the Manager of the Edible Academy at the New York Botanical Garden, and co-founder and farmer of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in partnership with Goode Green and Broadway Stages. She is the author of The Rooftop Growing Guide: How to Transform Your Roof into a Garden or Farm, published by Ten Speed Press. 

A passionate educator, Annie teaches locally & nationally, and has spoken at conferences around the country on the connections between people, food and ecology, and the benefits of urban agriculture.

Photo credit: Naima Green

What Else You Should Know

This lecture series is designed so students can participate live or watch a recording after each session airs. Sessions will take place live over Zoom, with dedicated Q&A segments for students to ask questions via video or chat. Within 72 hours after each session airs, we will email all enrolled students a recording of the session, which they can watch using a temporary password for up to ten weeks after the course concludes.

In most cases, instructors will use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Classroom, instructors will be using this platform to post resources, discussion questions, and assignments, when applicable.

We provide closed captioning for all of our courses, as well as transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at if you have any questions, requests, or access needs.

Dates and Availability
  • Tue, Jan 25, 2022
    6:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
    Get Tickets