Philadelphia City Nature Challenge


As so much of Philadelphia life slows to a pause as we do our best to limit the spread of COVID-19, and as we realize that this isn’t going to end any time soon, we wanted to update you about our City Nature Challenge plans.

The CNC planners, based at the California Academy of Sciences and at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, have decided to not cancel this year’s Challenge. We agree with them.

One of the great things about the CNC is its flexibility. At a time when group events can present health risks to the attendees and their communities, we can still take part individually. We can document the wildlife of our basements and back yards, and, to the extent possible, we can head off into our neighborhoods and green spaces on our own or in small groups of friends or family.

Indeed at a time of illness, stress, and isolation from our neighbors, connecting with nature outdoors can be incredibly therapeutic. We hope you can take part in the CNC as something we can still do safely as we take a break from our increasingly-homebound lives.

Happy iNatting!

Welcome to the Philadelphia City Nature Challenge! Between April 24 and April 27, 2020, Philadelphia and its adjacent counties will be competing against other cities in the world to see who can find the most species in their regions. If you are interested in contributing and helping Philly win, download the iNaturalist app (or visit the website) and start documenting the wildlife in your area. You can also visit our project page to see the latest observations as they come in.

A lot of people think cities are mostly devoid of wildlife; there are the pigeons hanging out on buildings, the sparrows in city parks and the rats running around our alleyways, but that’s about it. This could not be farther from the truth. The City of Philadelphia alone has recorded more than 325 species of birds. Numerous butterflies including monarchs live and breed in the city. There are snakes, frogs, dragonflies, foxes, bats, and much more to experience in our area. The City Nature Challenge gives us a way to explore and document the biodiversity in the cities and suburbs we call home. This, in turn, is useful for science and conservation.

For information on the City Nature Challenge, tips on participating and to see the other cities competing on 2020 check out the City Nature Challenge page.

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