Compete in the City Nature Challenge April 27-30
Monday, April 9, 2018


Third Annual ‘Challenge’ Grows to Over 65 Participating Cities on Five Continents and nearly 300 Partnering Museums, Science Centers and Organizations. Announcement of Results on May 4


Click here to learn about local events! 
 – As citizen and community science initiatives continue to increase in popularity, this year’s third annual City Nature Challenge will expand to more than 65 communities across the globe, including Cabarrus County! Kicking off April 27 at 12:01 am in each time zone, the Challenge runs through 11:59 pm on April 30. The multi-city, global event calls on current and aspiring citizen scientists, nature and science fans, and people of all ages and science backgrounds to observe and submit pictures of wild plants, animals, and fungi using the free app iNaturalist. Identification of photographed species will be crowdsourced through the online community May 1-3 and results will be announced on May 4.

There is nature in every city, and the best way to study it is by connecting community and scientists through citizen science. With human populations worldwide increasingly concentrated in cities, the study of urban biodiversity is quickly becoming integral to the future of plants and wildlife on Earth. Large pools of data, including those built through iNaturalist, natural history museums, and science organizations, help authorities make informed conservation decisions that allow humans to coexist sustainably with the plants and animals in their neighborhoods.

After launching the first-ever City Nature Challenge in 2016, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHMLA) and San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences (CAS) are hosting their third—and much larger—effort. Last year’s five-day challenge invited U.S. participants in 16 cities to observe and submit pictures of wildlife they encountered using iNaturalist. Participants added over 125,000 observations of nature to iNaturalist, and scientists can use these pools of data to understand and conserve urban wildlife.

This year, the Challenge is expanding, and organizers estimate that 500,000 observations will be made by over 10,000 people in over 65 participating cities. The data collected gives scientists, educators, urban planners, and policymakers insight into the biodiversity of urban locales throughout the world. Cabarrus County is one of only two participating communities in North Carolina. For both budding and veteran citizen scientists, participating is easy:

1.       Find wildlife. It can be any plant, animal, fungi, slime mold, or any other evidence of life (scat, fur, tracks, shells, carcasses!) found in your participating city.

2.       Take a picture of what you find, and be sure to note the location of the critter or plant.

3.       Share your observations by uploading your findings through iNaturalist.

Ultimately, every observation helps us understand urban nature, so we can begin to build cities that work better for humans and wildlife. In 2017, participants made 1656 observations of species that were either rare, threatened, or endangered representing 393 species in all. One such species was a critically imperiled butterfly, Bartrams’s scrub-hairstreak, found near Miami. This one observation from the City Nature Challenge is only the 5th observation ever recorded for this species on iNaturalist. In stark comparison, pigeons were found in every single city in 2017—will they be in every participating city this year?

Visit for more information and an education toolkit. Signing up is easy and free: visit from your browser, or download iNaturalist from the Apple App Store or Google Play store.

Social Media:  Local events:  Global: @citnatchallenge | #CityNatureChallenge