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Nearby Nature with City Nature Challenge 2020

It’s the first ever Citizen Science Month, so we’re telling everyone to get out and explore nearby nature.

If you’ve been reading our blog, you’ve noticed we’ve asked you to pay particular attention to spotting lizards and bumblebees and sharing those observations with us on iNaturalist. Reptiles and insects are not necessarily the cute, cuddly animals folks typically get excited about—us natural history nerds are our own special category—not to mention we didn’t even cover plants. This week, we have something for everyone.

Starting April 24, during the week-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day (which is today, April 22), the 2020 City Nature Challenge begins! From Friday through Monday, participants in cities around the world will share their locales’ natural beauty by taking photos of local wild plants and animals and posting them to What traditionally was a competition to see who could spot the most wildlife in their region has morphed into a collaboration to share the healing power of nature.

Even though we’re all staying close to home, it’s important to remember that nature is a part of our everyday life—from spiders on bathroom walls, to sparrows living on tile roofs. Taking the time to slow down and observe this nearby nature can be just as inspiring as spotting a wild animal on a distant trail. It’s much closer than you think.

San Diego County is one of the most biodiverse areas in the United States. Documenting variety should be easy!

What wildlife are you sharing a space with while at home? 

How to participate

Taking part is simple; just keep in mind that this citizen science project has a limited timeframe. In order for observations to count in the 2020 City Nature Challenge, photos must be taken in San Diego County between April 24 and 27 and must be identified by fellow iNaturalist users by 11:59 PM on Monday, May 3. Results are announced on Tuesday, May 4!

You can upload your photos via your phone and the iNaturalist app or on a desktop at

Getting started with the iNaturalist App: 

  1. Download the free iNaturalist app to your Android or iPhone 
  2. Take photos from April 24-27 of wild plants and animals in San Diego County (the “weeds” in your backyard, the bugs at your door, the birds on your roof, etc.) 
  3. Upload your photos to iNaturalist - use the app or a desktop computer 
  4. Learn more as the iNaturalist community helps identify your observations. You can help identify observations of others, as well.  

A little inspiration 

Why does this event matter? 

With our collective eyes and lenses, we’re able to collect tons of useful data in a short amount of time. Your photos help document the wildlife of our region, and contribute to research about all sorts of interesting topics, such as migration and climate change. Thanks to your observations, we better understand our world and can make more informed decisions on how to protect and preserve it.

Let’s show the world: San Diego wins at nature!

Posted by The Nat.

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