How to Become an Official New York State ‘Leaf Peeper’
Calling all fans of fall foliage: New York State is hiring leaf peepers to contribute to reports about the state’s changing leaves.
For the past nine years, the program has recruited volunteers throughout the state to go out in nature and report back on the leaves they’ve spotted.
“We are always encouraging folks to join our volunteer program, which runs from about the second week of September to around the second week of November,” Eric Scheffel, who coordinates the foliage spotter program, told Travel + Leisure.
There are about 65 foliage spotters AKA “leaf peepers” who work for New York State.
There are no requirements to become a spotter, only that they agree to report conditions every week during the season. They must report the percentage of trees changing every weekend (an estimate will do), the brilliance of the leaves, the colors of the leaves and a rating (just beginning, midpoint, near peak, peak, past peak).
Anyone who is interested in spotting leaves this fall should email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Scheffel does not recommend going renegade and sending in vigilante fall colors reports.
“We discourage unsolicited reports,” he told T+L.
This year, the first foliage spotter report will go out on September 14. They will continue every Wednesday after that.
A social media team will also be working on a digital leaf report, based on Twitter. Following the hashtag #ILoveNYFallColors will bring up tweets all about New York’s changing leaves and the best places in the state to spot them.