City Nature Challenge Stay-at-Home Scavenger Hunt!

The City Nature Challenge starts in one week and even though we're all staying home here in NYC, that doesn't mean we can't still participate! Below we have a Scavenger Hunt for all the things you can try to find from home. Let's appreciate the nature we can see and hear from our windows while we stay safely inside and physically distant from other people. Remember that all the cities are working together this year towards one global result and that no single city is going to be declared the winner. There is no need to drive up our observation numbers through the roof!

Stay-at-Home Scavenger Hunt

Look inside your house for:
-- an insect or spider. Bathrooms are great places to look. Also, try to think about places you might forget about when you clean like under the sink or up on the ceiling. Look in your light fixtures, too. Check out this awesome guide to indoor insects from the Never Home Alone project: Common Insects and Other Arthropods Found in Homes
-- a mold on old bread or fruit (no judgement, it happens to us all)
-- a pest (gnats, scales, etc.) on a house plant (Remember that house plants themselves (and also pets) are generally not appropriate to post on iNaturalist. If you do, you must mark them as captive/cultivated.)

Then, look out your window and find some of these:
-- a bird flyover
-- an animal noise to record (bird calls, squirrels, raccoons)
-- a street tree
-- an animal in a street tree
-- a visitor to a nearby fire escape or roof
-- something growing or living on your window sill
-- an insect that visits your window at night (leave your light on and see what lands on your closed window)
-- a visitor that comes to retrieve a nut or seeds that you leave outside on your window ledge (It should go without saying, but please don't allow wildlife inside)

Thanks to @srall, @javiehweg, and @aberkov for helping to brainstorm this list! If anyone has more suggestions, leave them in the comments here and I'll edit this post! Thanks!

Any observations you make need to happen between April 24-27. If you are concerned about geoprivacy with all of your observations happening where you live, remember that you can change your observation geoprivacy settings from "open" to "obscured" so that the observation appears in a box that covers a large area rather than as one pinpointed to your address.

There is one other way you can participate in the City Nature Challenge from the safety of your home - help us identify observations! Between April 27 and May 4 at 9am, the whole iNaturalist community is working hard to help add and confirm IDs to get the species numbers up for the Challenge. We'll be having a Virtual ID Party via Zoom on April 29 at 5pm. Please sign up at this Eventbrite RSVP link .

We know there are still people going out into our parks and we ask you to please be aware of NYC guidelines banning gatherings of any size and requiring social distancing of at least 6 ft from others. You should also wear some form of face covering if you go out (more info from the Department of Health here). The Department of Health also recommends the following if you are trying to manage your stress by going outside: "If you are not sick, go outside and get exercise, but remember to practice good hygiene and physical distancing. Walking, running, and bicycling are good examples of activities that do not require close contact with others or shared equipment." Source: April 4, 2020 Coronavirus Factsheet. If you do go outside and want to make an iNaturalist observation, please just take the photo and do the rest of the uploading at home. This way you won't be as distracted by entering information into the app and can remain aware of your surroundings and any people that might be approaching. Please stay safe out there.

Posted by klodonnell klodonnell, April 17, 2020 19:59



In my apartment the best place to find insects is in the bathroom: beetles, centipedes, spiders, flies, once I even found a damselfly in the bathtub. Maybe this is in your guide...

Posted by aberkov about 1 year ago (Flag)

Thanks, Amy! I'll add your suggestion to the list. I know I've seen a few spiders in my bathroom :-)

Posted by klodonnell about 1 year ago (Flag)

Just wanted to say that very often, if you look carefully enough you probably can find a couple of small dead insects on one of other of your windowsills. Like maybe a carpet beetle.

A jar of organic dried grains or pulses in your kitchen may contain tiny moths or beetles.

Posted by susanhewitt about 1 year ago (Flag)

So also the CNC active observation 4-day weekend begins at midnight on the morning of 24th, and ends at midnight on the night of 27th. That's correct, right?

Posted by susanhewitt about 1 year ago (Flag)

Yes, @susanhewitt, for observations to count they need to have been made (so photos taken) between 12am April 24 and 11:59pm April 27. They can be uploaded anytime between 12am April 24 and 9am May 4. Results will be announced around 3pm on May 4.

CNC Observation Phase: Friday, April 24 - Monday, April 27
CNC Identification Phase: ends 9am May 4

Posted by klodonnell about 1 year ago (Flag)

Great, thanks Kelly, it's good to know the exact times.

Posted by susanhewitt about 1 year ago (Flag)

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