City Nature Challenge 2018: New York City's Journal

August 28, 2018

Next Year's CNC Dates Set!

Just a quick note: I'm excited to report that the dates for the 2019 City Nature Challenge have been set! It will be Friday, April 26 through Monday, April 29. Mark your calendars!

The project page is up, but there's not a lot there yet. Follow it now for updates.

Posted on August 28, 2018 03:23 PM by klodonnell klodonnell | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 22, 2018

Event Survey

Hi all!

I love seeing the IDs still coming in for CNC! If you attended any of our free events around the city during the CNC, would you mind taking 2-3 minutes to fill out this survey about that event? Thanks! Here's the link:

Posted on May 22, 2018 08:39 PM by klodonnell klodonnell | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 08, 2018

NYC Results - Boroughs By the Numbers

First NYC results post: San Fransisco Sweeps the CNC
Second NYC results post: More results and NYC Highlights!
Full results: Results Announcement from the City Nature Challenge

Do you have a favorite borough? Interested in how it did? I did some data exploration over the weekend and found some more results to report! Note: All data were pulled on the evening of Saturday (May 5), so some of the totals may have changed by the time you are reading this.


Manhattan sweeps all three categories!

Manhattan - 9362
Bronx - 4241
Queens - 2980
Brooklyn - 2427
Staten Island - 1270

Manhattan - 896
Bronx - 495
Brooklyn - 465
Queens - 431
Staten Island - 288

Manhattan - 241
Brooklyn - 146
Queens - 124
Bronx - 85
Staten Island - 22


Very similar species in the top 5 across all the boroughs except Staten Island.

Garlic Mustard (109 observations)
Yellow Trout Lily (86)
Common Dandelion (84)
Red Deadnettle (83)
Common Mugwort (76)

Common Mugwort (46)
Common Dandelion (38)
Red Deadnettle (26)
Common Blue Violet (26)
Shepherd's-Purse (25)

Common Dandelion (196)
Common Mugwort (117)
Common Blue Violet (104)
Garlic Mustard (97)
Common Ivy (86)

Common Dandelion (68)
Common Mugwort (63)
Japanese Knotweed (57)
Garlic Mustard (51)
Red Deadnettle (47)

Staten Island
Canada Mayflower (40)
Eastern Skunk Cabbage (38)
Northern Spicebush (33)
Sweet Birch (27)
American Beech (23)


The American Robin was the most commonly spotted animal in every borough!

American Robin (51 observations)
Eastern Gray Squirrel (20)
Pigeon (19)
Red-winged Blackbird (14)
Mallard (13)

American Robin (34)
Pigeon (22)
Canada Goose (21)
Eastern Gray Squirrel (18)
House Sparrow (16)

American Robin (101)
Eastern Gray Squirrel (82)
Pigeon (78)
House Sparrow (64)
European Starling (49)

American Robin (46)
Red-winged Blackbird (26)
Pigeon (23)
Mallard (20)
European Starling (20)

Staten Island
American Robin (8)
Eastern Tent Caterpillar (8)
Hard Clam (7)
Canada Goose (5)
Soft-shelled Clam (5)


Bronx has the greatest improvement in the number of species found compared to the CNC last year!

Bronx - 181% increase in the number of species found
Queens - 165%
Manhattan - 164%
Brooklyn - 136%
Staten Island - 33%

Posted on May 08, 2018 07:49 PM by klodonnell klodonnell | 2 comments | Leave a comment

May 05, 2018

More results and NYC highlights!

First NYC journal post: San Fransisco Sweeps the CNC
Full results: Results Announcement from the City Nature Challenge

As I mentioned in the previous post, San Fransisco won in all three categories (observations, species, and observers). However, I did a little crunching of the data, and found a place where NYC comes out on top! We had the HIGHEST observation density of all 69 cities - 27.9 observations per square kilometer! This result is more than twice the observation density of the next highest city! Great job, NYC observers!

Additionally, we were in the Top 10 for:

  • increase in number of people using iNaturalist (ranked 9th)
  • number of verifiable observations (6th)
  • number of Research Grade observations (10th)

Compared to last year's City Nature Challenge, NYC was most improved of the sixteen 2017 cities! We had 5.8 times the number of observations this year compared to last year! We also had 3.5 times the number of observers compared to last year's CNC and that doesn't count all the kids helping their parents make observations that I saw at the events! It was so great to see so many people out there appreciating the nature of our city!

Special thanks to our top observers:
@danielatha - 2,041 observations (WOW! Third highest in ALL cities!)
@irag - 851
@klodonnell - 754
@dskacc - 599
@craghorne - 551
@plnthunter22 - 492
@kenchaya - 478
@srall - 471
@dottiew - 455
@toastmastdi - 455

And to our top species finders:
@craghorne - 311 species
@danielatha - 198
@irag - 182
@srall - 182
@kenchaya - 159
@julietan - 143
@plnthunter22 - 142
@ariolimax - 131
@bronxzooedu - 131
@dottiew - 128

And to our top identifiers:
@srall - 4,842 IDs (WOW! Second highest across all cities!)
@susanhewitt - 1,413
@tusee - 969
@stamlerm - 734
@wayne_fidler - 597
@sadawolk - 586
@klodonnell - 534
@grrrly - 486
@zihaowang - 419
@elevine - 402

And an EXTRA special thanks to the Macaulay student volunteers and event hosts and leaders throughout the city. We definitely could not have achieved such great results without you!

What were your favorite parts of the CNC this year? Leave them in the comments below. I can't wait for next year!

Posted on May 05, 2018 02:15 AM by klodonnell klodonnell | 12 comments | Leave a comment

May 04, 2018

Results are in! San Fransisco sweeps all three categories! NYC is still the best, though :)

Hi NYC observers!

The results are all in and San Fransisco has won the City Nature Challenge for most observations, species, and participants:

There will be a few more detailed results next week and I will keep you posted.

Regardless of who "won," NYC did an AMAZING job this year! We came in 7th out of 69 cities for the number of observations with about 22K! As of this writing (not our 9am pulled results), we've had about a 5-fold increase in our number of CNC observations, a doubling of species, and a tripling of the number of observers over our results from last year. WOW!!! Our top observer, @danielatha, and our top identifier, @srall, were both in the top three across all the cities!

Posted on May 04, 2018 08:25 PM by klodonnell klodonnell | 1 comment | Leave a comment

May 03, 2018

Last Push for IDs!! Upload any remaining observations!!

Hey NYC identifiers!

You’ve all been doing a great job helping us get our species numbers up! The leaderboard is a little off due to the nature of the data crunching that has to happen to get to that number. Keep plugging away! We have about 24 hours until our totals are locked in at 9am Friday.

Everyone: If you or someone you know has photos still living on the phone, make sure you upload them before this deadline! DC is just 500 ahead of us. Maybe we can find 500 stragglers? Let’s do this!

Thanks to all! Results announced tomorrow at noon!

Posted on May 03, 2018 01:08 PM by klodonnell klodonnell | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 01, 2018

Day Four - I <3 NY

There are still 1.5 hours left in the City Nature Challenge in case anyone's out making night time observations, but we just broke 20,000 observations and I am SO PROUD of the great observing you all have been doing! We're in fourth place right now, just above DC!

I know I still have quite a few observations waiting to be uploaded on my phone. If you're in the same boat, the deadline for getting them up on iNaturalist is 9am on Friday. Of course, the sooner you get them up, the sooner the community can help us increase our species list by adding IDs. I can't wait to see what you all discovered!

Let us know what you're favorite observation was in the comments below!

Posted on May 01, 2018 02:39 AM by klodonnell klodonnell | 4 comments | Leave a comment

April 30, 2018


You've outdone yourselves, NYC. We started out in 6th place for observations this morning, but pulled back up to 4th place because we added over 5000 OBSERVATIONS today! We have one more day to go and I think we can get all of our numbers up! Our top observer, @danielatha, will be leading walks all day in Fort Washington and Inwood Hill Parks. For details, visit:

Fun fact: Not one of us has observed a rat in NYC yet. I've been looking every time I get on the subway, but I haven't spotted one.

As always, put your day's highlights in the comments.

Posted on April 30, 2018 02:14 AM by klodonnell klodonnell | 3 comments | Leave a comment

April 29, 2018

Day Two! WOW!

NYC! Some time earlier today, we exceeded last year's five day CNC results! I don't even know what to say. You are all doing a great job!

We're currently in four place for number of observations. We're ranked a little lower in number of species and number of participants, but with two more days, I think we can get those numbers up, too!

Borough Rankings:
Manhattan - 524 species (3,303 observations)
Bronx - 337 (2,722)
Queens - 292 (1,432)
Brooklyn - 291 (1,064)
Staten Island - 64 (107)

There were lots of great events today, including two BioBlitzes: Forest Park (results: and Gowanus Canal (results:

Tomorrow, we have events in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. Check them out here:

As always, I'd love to hear what your personal highlights were. Find anything unusual or notable? Let us know in the comments below!

Posted on April 29, 2018 02:23 AM by klodonnell klodonnell | 5 comments | Leave a comment

April 28, 2018

Great first day!

With results still rolling in, NYC has had a great first day of the City Nature Challenge! Thanks to everyone who went out in the damp and chilly weather!

Some highlights:

1) @danielatha and @khamme were our first observers, out just after midnight! Great job!

2) In the spirit of friendly competition between the boroughs, here are the current taxa totals:
Manhattan is in the lead with 336 taxa, followed by the Bronx (183), Queens (95), Brooklyn (57), and Staten Island (23). There will be TWO BioBlitzes tomorrow (in Queens and Brooklyn), so Manhattan and the Bronx had better watch out!

4) Last year's NYC CNC totals after FIVE days were: 3,866 Observations / 699 Species / 162 Observers. Right now, at the end of ONE day, we are already at 2,825 Observations / 448 Species / 126 Observers. THIS IS AMAZING! GREAT JOB EVERYONE!

3) Personal highlights: Did anyone find anything they were particularly excited about today? Leave your personal highlights in the comments below. They can be anything you want to point out: new species for you, rare finds, or whatever you like!

Posted on April 28, 2018 02:16 AM by klodonnell klodonnell | 0 comments | Leave a comment