News & Events

It’s That Time of Year Again – Time for the Global City Nature Challenge! Let’s Find All of the Creatures That Call Our City Home

April 19, 2018

The City Nature Challenge is happening again and this year it’s global! Over 60 cities are participating! Once again, Macaulay Honors College is organizing the NYC arm of the City Nature Challenge. The CNC is basically a city-wide, 4-day BioBlitz open to anyone. Last year, over the days of the CNC, NYC made 3863 observations of 690 species, which is about a 28% increase in total observations for the city compared to the total for the previous seven years combined. Let’s top that this year!

We’re calling on ALL New Yorkers to become citizen scientists and help us catalog our city’s great biodiversity. Getting started is easy! Just download the (FREE) iNaturalist app to your mobile device. During the time from April 27-30, use the app to upload photos of organisms to the iNaturalist and the iNaturalist community will help you identify them. It’s as simple as that!

If you’re looking for fellow nature lovers to participate with, there will be over 30 free events across the five boroughs that you can attend. You don’t need to attend an event to participate in the challenge. You can find the event list at (look in the News section).

The global City Nature Challenge is organized by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and California Academy of Sciences. For more info and educator resources, visit:

There are several ways you can get involved this year:

1. Make some iNaturalist observations between April 27 and 30 – The easiest way to get involved is to just use iNaturalist during the CNC. You don’t need to join the NYC iNaturalist project, any observation you make in the five boroughs during this time will be automatically collected in our totals, but if you want to get updates, visit the project page at and join the project.

2. Integrate an iNaturalist activity into your class during the CNC – Guides for different grade bands (K – college) can be found on the general CNC website starting Monday (3/12). Right now you can find these hosted by Boston’s site by going here: and clicking on “International Education Toolkit”.

3. Attend an event or hold one of your own – We are looking to hold events in all five boroughs and these events will be listed on the iNaturalist project page. If you are affiliated with a group that would like to host an event, contact Kelly O’Donnell at

4. Come to our Expert ID Night! The observation collection period for the CNC is 4/27-4/30, but the results won’t be announced until May 4 so that the iNaturalist community has the chance to refine observation IDs. Macaulay will be hosting an ID night for experienced iNaturalist identifiers on May 3 to help get out species numbers up. Food and friendly conversation will be provided! RSVP here.

5. Help us spread the word! Let people know that the CNC is happening via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blog post, newsletter, etc. Tell your students/friends/family to join the effort and help us show those other cities how awesome we are. Use the hashtags #citynaturechallenge #NYC.