Citizen Science

Want to explore the natural world and simultaneously contribute to science? Then join the global community science movement. Nat scientists, independent naturalists, and outside organizations have created numerous projects aimed at helping scientists better understand our world.

These projects use iNaturalist, a free website and app, that enables anyone with a computer or smart phone to document plants and animals. You can contribute without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Don't recognize something you've seen? That’s OK, because when you share a photo to iNaturalist, fellow nature lovers can help you ID it.

If you have plant or animal expertise, you can view and identify natural history observations from around the world without leaving the comfort of your home. It’s like a crowd-sourced way to determine what lives where.

Get started with our quick guide to iNaturalist (PDF). Most of these projects occur year round–you can join at any time.

Border BioBlitz 2020

The Border BioBlitz iNaturalist project is still active and individuals are welcome to make observations on their own and identify observations remotely, however group in-person events have been cancelled. Help record as many species as possible along the U.S.- Mexico border and document the stunning biological diversity of our borderlands. Learn more.

City Nature Challenge 2020

Join us April 24-27 as we celebrate the healing power of nature by documenting all the species we can find! This year, the City Nature Challenge is a worldwide collaboration you can participate in from inside of or outside of your home. Learn more.

Ongoing Projects

Amphibian and Reptile Atlas of Peninsular California

Take photos of reptiles and amphibians you spot in Southern California and Baja California and upload them to iNaturalist. Suggest an identification or have them identified by the iNaturalist community.

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San Diego County Plant Atlas

Take photos of wild plants you come across in San Diego County and upload them to the San Diego County Plant Atlas project on iNaturalist. Suggest an identification or have them identified by the iNaturalist community.

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Flying Squirrels of Southern California

Help The Nat and regional scientists learn more about the charming and elusive California flying squirrel. Participants residing in the San Bernardino Mountains may be eligible to install a camera in their yard to capture images of this nocturnal creature.

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Bumblebees of San Diego County

San Diego County's bumblebees are threatened—but you can help. Take photos of bumblebees you see locally, and upload to the Bumblebees of San Diego County project on iNaturalist. Suggest an identification or have them identified by the iNaturalist community. Your observations will help museum scientists better understand these important insects.

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View results and project summaries of past citizen science projects, inlcuding City Nature Challenges and Border BioBlitz. Learn more.