We know COVID-19 is affecting many of our CNC cities, some much more than others. After much thinking, we have decided to keep the CNC event scheduled for April 24-27 (observations) and April 28-May 3 (identifications). However, we will be making some significant modifications:

This year’s City Nature Challenge is no longer a competition.

We want to embrace the collaborative aspect of the CNC this year and the healing power of nature to allow people to document their local biodiversity in whatever way they can.

It is imperative that you follow the regulations of your governments and the organizations where you work.

We have left it up to local organizers if they need to cancel the CNC in their city this year. We support any changes our organizers need to make and hope those that cannot participate this year will join us again in 2021!

As a participant, it is up to you how much or how little you take part! Do only what feels safe for you & your family and is in accordance with all your local regulations.

Visit our CNC & COVID-19 FAQ page.

For cities continuing to participate in CNC 2020:

  • It is imperative that you follow the guidelines/recommendations of your local governments & institutions (i.e., limit or cancel events if needed)
  • Do what’s best for you & your community

Alternatives to in-person events

Check out this guide we've put together: Exploring Nature In and Around Your Home for the City Nature Challenge


  • What can people find in their houses? What can they see through their windows?
  • Focus on identifications! Can your city go through ALL the observations (not just CNC!) that have already been made in your area but aren’t research grade yet?
  • During April 28 - May 3, hold virtual ID parties!

    In Backyards:

  • Encourage people to put up moth lights or put down cover boards at their houses to help bring nature to them!
  • What are the wild plants growing in your backyard?
  • What insects or other creatures are using the cultivated plants in your backyard as habitat or a food source?

Outside of your home and backyard (if allowed):

  • Practice social distancing wherever you go.
  • Promote people going outside and making observations on their own/with a small group of their family & friends, instead of joining big events.
  • Think about making observations along sidewalks, pavements, roads, or in residential areas if local parks are too crowded for social distancing. Always be mindful of traffic.

If you’re allowed to hold CNC events:

  • Keep them outside! Luckily this is what the CNC is all about, but if you were planning an indoor portion of an event, forgo it and keep the whole event outside
  • Limit registration
  • Practice social distancing (it's best if people stay 2-3m apart)
  • Don’t have shared, unwrapped food available - encourage people to bring & eat their own food
  • Have places available where people can wash their hands and/or have hand sanitizer
  • Don’t pass around binoculars, phones, guidebooks, etc. - everyone should keep their gear to themselves

Stay safe, hang in there, and we can't wait to see what you find - in your houses, in your backyards, along sidewalks, in parks - and know that people all around the world are joining you in documenting nature in whatever way they can during these unprecedented times.

Our thoughts are with all of you,
Alison Young (@kestrel) - California Academy of Sciences and Lila Higgins (@lhiggins) - Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Posted on March 17, 2020 07:58 PM by kestrel kestrel


I’m glad to see these added precautions and looking forward on going on a hike by myself or just a few others in order to maintain social distancing recommendations.

Posted by observerjosh about 4 years ago

Yes, we can do this. I think we will all do well working within these limitations.

Posted by susanhewitt about 4 years ago

Thanks for your kind words @jaquiring and @susanhewitt!!!

Posted by lhiggins about 4 years ago

Is it possible still to create a project for this event?
City Nature Challenge 2020: Lisboa
We would be very happy to join even if at home!
Thank you

Posted by frederico about 4 years ago

LLELA (Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area) is reopening tomorrow. No groups larger than 5 and everyone must wear a mask. I can deal with that and after 4 weeks self-quarantined I'm more than ready to head out.

Thanks you iNaturalist team! You've made a huge difference in the world and my life in particular! Luv y'all to the moon and back!

Posted by mchlfx about 4 years ago

What is it? I see this reference to City Nature Challenge. It was a contest before?

Posted by leafybye about 4 years ago

hi there,
I didn't have sufficient time to post all my obs for the City Challenge 2020 in the prescribed time period so I'm adding the obs to iNat now but I see they are all being apparently added to the bioblitz projects even though the completion date is long passed. eg Is this what should be happening.

Posted by tuli almost 4 years ago

@tuli - Yes, the way collections projects work on iNat is that any observation that meets the "rules" of the project are automatically added. So it doesn't matter when they're uploaded, if they were made between April 24-27 in a CNC city boundary, they'll get added to the project! It's totally fine, we pulled the official "results" on May 4 and we know that all the project numbers will continue to change through time.

Posted by kestrel almost 4 years ago

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