Celebrate Nature With Us!

Take the City Nature Challenge and meet the person who started it all!

A hummingbird at rest on a branch next to orange flowers

We invite you to participate in our 5th annual City Nature Challenge! In response to public health and safety requirements related to COVID-19, this year’s event will no longer be a competition.

But you can still be part of this globally crowdsourced community science effort, safely from home with physical distance. Get ready to embrace the collaborative aspect of sharing observations online with a digital community, and celebrate the healing power of nature by documenting local biodiversity where we live.

It’s pretty easy to explore nature in your own surroundings, because wildlife is all around us! Look for any plant, animal, fungi, slime mold, or any other evidence of life (such as scat, fur, tracks, or shells). Then take a photo of what you find. Finally, share your observations by uploading your findings through iNaturalist.org or on the iNaturalist app. Through science and community spirit, let’s protect and celebrate our planet now and for years to come. 


Lila Higgins author photo
Lila Higgins
Photo by Deniz Durmus

A Q &A With NHMLAC's Lila HiGGins 

Lila Higgins, NHM’s Senior Manager of Community Science who co-organized the City Nature Challenge with her friend and counterpart at San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences, talks with us about how she and her team, along with colleagues around the globe, are expecting this year to be particularly special.

How many people around the world will be joining us?
Thousands. We are going to be in 37 countries and more than 200 cities.

What wildlife have you found, yourself, at home in the last few weeks?
I found a brown widow egg case in my parents' garage, and I've taken pictures of it. I found a crane fly inside my bedroom. An aphid was on the inside of the window. Some people have access to their yards and can do that. But even if you don't, you can maybe look at your porch light at night and see what insects are attracted to it.

How exactly are people around the world participating?
In places where you can go for a neighborhood walk (and you are allowed to do that based on your government's regulations), there's lots of things you can see. What's growing in the park? What's on the underside of that leaf on the sidewalk? Again, making sure that we stay with a social distancing of people outside of your house for six feet, wearing a face mask and washing your hands for 20 seconds when you get home. We always recommend people wash their hands when they come home from being out in nature.

What are the other benefits of taking part?
We know that nature is so healing. It can decrease your heart rate, it can decrease your cortisol levels, also known as stress hormones, and it increases overall senses of well-being. Also when you're outside, when you have sunlight on you, it's helping us to produce vitamin D, which is immune-boosting. And then also when you're around all these plants, you are breathing in these phytochemicals, and those help to boost our immunity as well. All things we need now.

The City Nature Challenge 2020 is April 24–27

For more detailed information, visit citynaturechallenge.org/COVID19