City Nature Challenge starts this weekend

Justyn Stahl

At midnight, Thursday night, the competition begins!

How many species can YOU photograph this weekend?

The weekend of April 27-30, an international bioblitz competition will be taking place. In order to participate, observations (photo/audio required) must be submitted to iNaturalist, either online at (which is easy for drag-and-drop photos from camera), or through the app using your phone's camera. All non-captive/cultivated organisms count (butterflies, cacti, parrots, voles, sharks, you name it), but our speciality here is birds, obviously, and we hope to win by showcasing the diversity of species occurring in San Diego County during that period. See below for the official announcement from Lauren Marion Perez, the Citizen Science Manager at the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Every observation helps, even common backyard birds, but unique observations contribute to a high overall species total. We don't need to assign people to specific areas, but consider covering multiple habitat types throughout the weekend. Photograph desert organisms in the morning, then head up into the mountains in the afternoon. Check Mission Trails early for Grasshopper Sparrows, then see how many shorebirds and ducks you can photograph along the San Diego River near Sea World Drive. Kitchen Creek Road could be full of migrants this weekend, and now is a good time to get photos of Gray Vireo and Black-chinned Sparrow (and Mountain Quail?). In between birds, take pictures of plants and insects and mammals. Are you going fishing? Take pictures of what you catch. Consider going out whale watching this weekend. Is there a Great Horned Owl or Common Poorwill singing in your yard? Record it and upload it! Leave your porch light and and look for moths, etc.

You don't have to be able to identify what you've photographed, the greater iNaturalist community will take care of it for you!

Justyn Stahl (iNat username vireolanius)
North Park





Partner with The Nat and help San Diego County win the 2018 City Nature Challenge.


The 2018 City Nature Challenge is a worldwide competition to see which area can make the most observations of local plants and animals over a 4-day period—and San Diego is participating this year!


We're using iNaturalist to tally results for observations made in San Diego County. All wild plants and animals count, even non-native species.


The 2018 City Nature Challenge begins Friday, April, 27 at 12 AM PT and ends Monday, April 30 at 11:59 PM PT. Any observation made within the county during the City Nature Challenge will count toward San Diego’s total.


Ways you can help:

  • Spread the word with our partner tool kit
    • Reach out to members, volunteers, staff, colleagues, and friends
    • Print and post the flyer at your location
    • Post on social media
    • Send an e-newsletter


·       Make observations of your own during the event:

o   Observations down to the species level increases our overall tally

o   Participate via the iNaturalist project page


The Nat plans to make a formal announcement of the total number of observations made in San Diego County on Friday, May 4 via social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), so be sure to follow them on those platforms to see the tallied results.


Questions? Email Citizen Science Manager Lauren Marino Perez.


Not familiar with iNaturalist? Not to worry, it’s super user-friendly.

All you have to do is:

  1. Download the free iNaturalist app to your Android or iPhone
  2. Join The Nat’s 2018 City Nature Challenge: San Diego iNaturalist project
  3. Take photos or record sounds from April 27-30 to make observations of wild plants and animals in San Diego County (in your backyard, at a park, etc.)
  4. Upload your photos or sounds to iNaturalist
  5. Learn more as the iNaturalist community helps identify your observations


The museum will also be hosting a Balboa Park BioBlitz during the City Nature Challenge from Friday, April 27 at 2 PM and ends on Saturday, April 28 at 2 PM. Museum scientists and educators will have tables set up inside and outside the Museum on Saturday, April 28 from 11 AM to 3 PM to help participants get up to speed with the iNaturalist app and answer questions.


We look forward to winning with you!



Lauren Marino Perez

Citizen Science Manager



We keep collecting so we can keep learning. Come see what we’ve collected in Unshelved: Cool Stuff from Storage.


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