Participate

North Carolina’s cities use iNaturalist to gather observations for the City Nature Challenge.  Download the free smartphone app for Android or Apple or go to the website at inaturalist.org and create an account first.  Then, head outside April 30-May 3, 2021 to document the species you see with photos or sound recordings!

A few details to keep in mind as you participate:

  • All photos of species must be taken April 30-May 3, 2021  If you have taken them on a different day and upload them during the City Nature Challenge, they will not count toward our totals!
  • If your photo was taken within one of the North Carolina City Nature Challenge areas April 30-May 3, 2021, they will be automatically added to the project for your city.
  • You have extra time at the end of the Challenge to get your observations uploaded to iNaturalist.  Any observations made by the end of the day on May 9 will count toward your city’s totals.
  • Any living organism is welcome on iNaturalist and counts toward the City Nature Challenge results, though wild species (not people, pets, or garden/other planted plants) are the focus of this event.
  • You can use the app or the website to make your observations.
  • Identification of species is an important part of the Challenge!  If you know how to identify any species group, see the “Identification Help” section below to learn how you can help boost our species numbers.

Visit our how-to pages for the app and the website to learn more about how to use them!  You can also download a Quick Guide to iNaturalist for both Apple/website and Android/website that will walk you through submitting your observations or view a quick video that shows how to use the app on our Training page.

CNC 21 schedule

Participating with Children

Have kids who want to participate in the City Nature Challenge?  Children under 13 are not allowed to create and use their own iNaturalist accounts, but they can participate through the ecoEXPLORE program!  ecoEXPLORE engages children in grades K-8 in documenting biodiversity through a child-safe website.  Children can participate in this program year-round and earn points toward fun naturalist prizes, but they can earn a special bioblitz badge by participating during the City Nature Challenge.  Bioblitz badge and any other ecoEXPLORE observations made during the City Nature Challenge will be shared to iNaturalist after review by ecoEXPLORE staff!

Identification Help

All iNaturalist users are welcome to help identify – or confirm the identifications made by the software – the observations of other users. Cities can win the City Nature Challenge for the highest number of species, so the more observations we have identified to species the better.  And you can help by becoming an identifier!

To help identify species for others in your City Nature Challenge area, start by logging into your account and visit your city’s project.  Click on any image and either “Agree” with the identifications that have already been made or “suggest ID” to add a new suggestion.  Helping others with their identifications is a great way to boost your city’s species counts while also sharing your specialized knowledge.  Identifiers are an essential part of the City Nature Challenge, even if they don’t submit any observations of their own!

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