The state is looking for volunteers to help report and forecast the season’s changing colors. 

By Rachel Chang
September 02, 2020
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Fancy yourself a fall foliage expert? If you live in New York state, this is your chance to become an official I Love NY leaf-peeper.

The tourism bureau is recruiting volunteers to join a statewide team to help visitors find the best places to spot autumnal colors this season.

To apply, you need to live in New York state full-time from now until Nov. 30 and choose the area where you’ll be reporting from, as well as express why you want to be a leaf-peeper in 100 words or less.

Those selected will have to submit weekly reports on the colors they see, as well as a forecast. “Observations will include the percentage of leaves expected to be changed by the coming weekend, expected colors, the brilliance of the color, and the stage of the season,” the requirement reads. The reports must be sent on Mondays and Tuesdays, ahead of its release every Wednesday, starting with the second week of September through the first or second week of November.

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The leaf-peepers will also need to share a minimum of one photo from their observations to their own social media accounts (if they are on social media) and submit images for reposting. They must also promise not to apply any filters to the images to ensure the reporting is genuine.

Finally, volunteers have to agree to abide by all COVID-19 safety measures, including social distancing, wearing a mask, observing quarantine requirements, and staying home if any symptoms arise.

The reward for being a volunteer I Love NY leaf-peeper? Not only will you be featured on iloveny.com, but you’ll also have the opportunity to display your photos on the I Love NY social media accounts, which reach nearly two million people, according to the site.

If leaf-peeping is more of a hobby, subscribe to the state’s Fall Foliage Updates newsletter to see the weekly findings from all the volunteers and plan your getaway to catch the peak colors.

Rachel Chang is travel and pop culture journalist who grew up in the California Bay Area and lives in New York City (well, Hoboken, NJ). She’s a solo travel advocate, dumpling addict, and reluctant runner — who managed to finish the NYC marathon twice. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.