Events – 2021

IMPORTANT: Group activities have been scaled back due to safety precautions that we’ve all had to take due to COVID-19. Most events our partners are holding this year require registration and masks, so please be sure to read the instructions and register for these events. Many countries are still experiencing high numbers of COVID cases, so similar to last year, the City Nature Challenge is going with a hybrid approach with the global event being collaborative but individual cities can still highlight regional competition. In addition to the events listed below, we encourage all participants to go out on their own or in family/close friend groups and take photos of wildlife using the iNaturalist app while exercising all safety precautions. Here are some ideas on participating on your own:

– Look for insects, spiders, centipedes, etc in your own house
– Look for wildlife, including weeds, in your yards or neighborhoods
– Do a moth night in your yard or balcony
– Record bird calls from your own house
– Look at your security-cam/trail-cam footage for observations.
– If you have a microscope or even a pocket one, make observations of microorganisms in rainwater, mosses, etc

Get more detailed info from the folks at CNC Central with this handy PDF

If you are interested in hosting events, please reach out to us.

Download the iNaturalist app on your smart device before these events to get started right away (Google Play | Apple App Store). 
NOTE: All events are free, but most events require pre-registration.


Wednesday, April 28

City Nature Challenge 2021 Virtual Demo by Briar Bush Nature Center

7.00 pm – 7.30 pm – Learn to use the iNaturalist app for City Nature Challenge and beyond. A few of our resident animals will help demonstrate how the AI identifies a species right from a picture on your phone!
Organizer: Mark Fallon
Partner Org: Briar Bush Nature Center


Friday, April 30

Philadelphia County, PA

Twilight Pond Walk

6.30 pm – 8.00 pm – Help us iNaturalist the species we find as we witness the biodiversity that has found its way to our ponds. Life cycles will be in full swing and it’s possible that we find seeds sprouting, grasses growing, insects buzzing, amphibians singing, and more as the daytime blends with the night. All ages.
Location: Wissahickon Environmental Center, 300 West Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118
Type: Guided walk (themed)
Leader: Christina Moresi
Partner Org: Wissahickon Environmental Center PPR

Mushrooms and Moths by Moonlight

9.00 pm – 11.30 pm – Join us for an evening centered on nocturnal biodiversity for this year’s City Nature Challenge! We’ll search for biofluorescent fungi, lichens, and insects as we make our way through dense areas of the forest. Along the way we will also listen for nocturnal birds, reptiles, and amphibians to record and identify using iNaturalist. Once we return to the center, we’ll check our moth tent to hopefully see a great diversity of night time pollinators stopping by to say hello.
Location: Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Road, Philadelphia, PA 19128
Type: Guided walk (themed)
Leader: Sam Bucciarelli, Bethany Teigen
Partner Org: Schuylkill Center/Philadelphia Mycology Club

Montgomery County, PA

Saunders Woods iNat Walk

3.00 pm – 4.30 pm – Join Natural Lands on April 30 at Saunders Woods Preserve where preserve manager Luke Hamilton will lead a small group in discovery and submission of observations to iNaturalist.
Location: Saunders Woods Preserve, 1020 Waverly Road, Gladwyne , PA 19035
Type: Guided walk
Leader: Luke Hamilton
Partner Org: Natural Lands

Saturday, May 1

Philadelphia County, PA

Penn Treaty Park

8.00 am – 9.30 am, and 10.00 am – 11.30 am – (Safe and Socially Distanced) Children’s River and Sky (Fishing and Bird Watching) Day
Leader: Sandi Vincenti, Billy Brown
Partner Org: Philly Nature/Friends of Penn Treaty Park
Location: Penn Treaty Park, 1301 North Beach Street, Philadelphia, PA 19125

Schyulkill Center for Environmental Education with the Philaelphia Botanical Club

10.00 am – We will be documenting plant species in this 340-acre preserve in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia. This preserve probably has Philadelphia’s best display of spring wildflowers. Plants we will likely see in bloom include Phlox divaricata (wild blue phlox), Mertensia virginica (bluebells), Stellaria pubera (star chickweed), Geranium maculatum (wild geranium), Packera aurea (golden ragwort), Thalictrum thalictroides (rue anemone), and Zizia aurea (golden Alexanders). Because the preserve is in Philadelphia, it also has a large number of non-native plant species. One of particular interest is Corydalis incisa, which is just beginning to appear the region’s natural areas. Thus, the trip offers a chance to learn to recognize this emerging invasive. We will walk for approximately 2 miles (with some moderate hills) on good trails. If time permits, we will also visit Roxborough Reservoir.
Directions will be provided upon registration.
Leader: Janet Novak,
Partner Org: Philadelphia Botanical Club
Location: Belmont Mansion, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19131
Type: Guided Walk
Registration: Registration is required, and the trip is limited to 15 participants (though we may increase that number if the COVID-19 incidence drops). To register, contact the trip leader.

Awbury Arboretum

10.30 am – 1.30 pm – Bring your family to Awbury Arboretum on Saturday, May 1st between 10:30 and 1:30 and spend a few hours observing nature and participating in the City Nature Challenge.  Awbury staff will be on hand to answer questions and show you how to use the iNaturalist app if you are new to it.  (Note: We recommend downloading the iNaturalist app in advance.)  You do not need to be a nature expert; all you need to do is take pictures. There will be small prizes for participation.
Face masks are required.  Limited restroom access is available at this time.
Partner Organization: Awbury Arboretum
Location:  Park on Ardleigh St (6060 Ardleigh St, Phila, PA) and meet at the AdventureWoods gate.   (Note: parking for this event is not available at the Cope House.  Please do not park at 1 Awbury Rd.)  
Type: Bioblitz
Registration: No registration required

Microscopy at Cobbs Creek Environmental Center

11.00 am – 2.00 pm – Join us at the Cobbs Creek Environmental Center for a microscopy workshop! We can significantly boost our species totals for the City Nature Challenge by posting observations of our microbial life! We’ll meet at the EC at 11 AM and begin the workshop with a short lesson about slide preparation and how to use a microscope. Participants are encouraged to bring their own samples to work with so long as the samples fall within the City Nature Challenge borders (Philly, Bucks, Montgomery, & Delaware counties in PA and Gloucester, Camden, and Burlington counties in NJ) and collected April 30th-May 1st.
Location: Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Center, 700 Cobbs Creek Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19143
Type: Microscopy
Leader: Sam Bucciarelli, Bethany Teigen, Tony Croasdale
Partner Org: Cobbs Creek Environmental Center/Philadelphia Mycology Club

Neighborhood Gardens Trust City Nature Challenge Meet-Up

2.00 pm – 4.00 pm – Join fellow gardeners, naturalists, and wildlife lovers for an iNaturalist meet-up. As part of the City Nature Challenge, let’s explore NGT’s Summer Winter Garden together! As a group, we’ll learn to use iNaturalist to capture and document wildlife in and around the garden as well as learn some tricks and tips that we can use in our own gardens to cultivate and catalog biodiversity.
Location: Summer Winter Community Garden, 33rd & Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Type: Bioblitz
Leader: Bob Jobin
Partner Organization: Neighborhood Gardens Trust

Discovery Center

TBD – Explore the Strawberry Mansion Reservoir with us as we document the wildlife that call the Discovery Center home.
Leader: Damien Ruffner, Robin Irizarry
Partner Org: Audubon Mid-Atlantic
Type: Guided Walk

Sunday, May 2

Montgomery County, PA

Flora, Fauna, and Funga Biodiversity Hike

9.30 AM – 12.30 PM – We’ll meet in the main parking lot of PERT and make our way Southeast across the meadow and into the forest. Along the way, we’ll upload the species we find to iNaturalist to be counted towards the 2021 City Nature Challenge. Hopefully, we will find some neat species of spring mushrooms, but we can definitely count on finding and identifying some of our lovely spring flowers, native trees, and unique insects. This event is part of the 2021 Philadelphia City Nature Challenge. Participation in the event will require the use of iNaturalist, so please make sure to charge your smart phone! Masks will be required. This event is free, but donations are always appreciated and help keep our events free and accessible to all.
Location: Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust, 2955 Edge Hill Road, Huntington Valley, PA 19006
Leader: Sam Bucciarelli, Bethany Teigen
Partner Org: Philadelphia Mycology Club
Type: Guided Walk

Gloucester County, NJ

Birding and CNC at Ceres Park, Mantua Township, Gloucester County, NJ

7.30 am – 10.30 am – Come and enjoy Spring Migration at Ceres Park, Mantua Township, Gloucester County, NJ. It is also the first day of City Nature Challenge so all iNaturalist entries will be added to the Philadelphia CNC Project. Ceres Park is a beautiful landscape of natural growth, hosting a variety of animal life that includes mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and many bird species. Per eBird, in April and May, 123 bird species have been sighted, 132 overall. With an extensive trail system through upland and wetland forests, the preserve covers 52 acres. From the parking lot, there are many trails which lead through a diverse selection of plant life and have beautiful views of Emerald and Cedar Lakes. These lakes were once “marl pits,” formed during a mining operation that existed here through the 1800s and early 1900s. Marl is a nutrient-rich marine deposit that was used as fertilizer and gave towns like “Marlton” and “Marlboro” their names. If we are lucky, we may hear or see Pileated Woodpeckers (rare for South Jersey) that are known to frequent Ceres Park.
Meet at the Main Lot at 7:30 am. 940 Main St. Sewell, NJ 08080
Ceres Park Main Parking Lot
For questions, please reach out to
Leader: Barb Bassett
Partner Org: DVOC
Type: Guided Walk


Pine Barrens with the DVOC and Philadelphia Botanical Club

10.00 am – 8:30 pm – The Delaware Valley Ornithological Club and the Philadelphia Botanical Club are partnering to host a trip to the New Jersey Pine barrens. We’ll find diverse plants, birds, fungi, insects and more—and have fun documenting them on iNaturalist! Our tentative agenda includes a start at the Huber Prairie Warbler Preserve (for possible prothonotary, hooded and of course prairie warblers—and others; some cedar swamp to explore), followed by a walk at the Franklin Parker Preserve (deservedly known as a place to see the classic pine barrens plants; we’ll pick up some shorebirds, waders, and raptors). Species likely to be in bloom include Pyxidanthera barbulata (pixiemoss), Kalmia buxifolia (sandmyrtle), and Hudsonia ericoides (goldenheather). We may finish with a stop near the Carranza Memorial. The agenda may change a bit depending on reports closer to the date. Walk with us as long as you’d like, dress for ticks and don’t forget to bring food and water.
Directions will be provided upon registration.
Leader: Janet Novak,, and Anne Bekker,
Partner Org: DVOC, Philadelphia Botanical Club
Type: Guided Walk

Monday, May 3

Philadelphia County, PA

Young Naturalist’s City Nature Challenge

1.00 pm – 3:00 pm – On this final day of the City Nature Challenge, we will introduce our young naturalists to iNaturalist and observation skills, and then explore the ponds, forest, and meadow capturing photos of as many species as possible. Ages 6 & up. Drop-off optional.
Registration and masks are required.
Leader: Christina Moresi
Partner Org: Wissahickon Environmental Center PPR
Type: Guided Walk


Identification Events

Tuesday, May 4

Online Plant Identification Gathering

7.10 pm – Put your plant identification skills to use by identifying plants from their photographs in the citizen-scientist project iNaturalist. Over half the plants observed on iNaturalist in our region still lack confirmed IDs, so your identifications are much needed! During this event, you can identify plants while enjoying the company of others doing the same thing. By gathering on Zoom, we’ll be able to chat, share interesting plants we come across, and ask each other for opinions on tough-to-identify plants. At 7:10 PM, I’ll demonstrate how to identify plants on iNaturalist. Then at 7:30 PM, we’ll start identifying. Our focus will be the plants observed in the greater Philadelphia region during this year’s City Nature Challenge.
Organizer: Janet Novak,
Partner Org: Philadelphia Botanical Club
Registration: Sign up (free) at, and you’ll receive the link to the Zoom meeting.

Saturday, May 8

ID Party

7 – 10 pm – 
Partner Org: Philly CNC Organizing Committee
Registration: TBD


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