February 03, 2020

Feb. 10. 12 - 3 pm. CNC Meet-up! Join us to learn more. Explore Possibilities! @ Franklin Park Zoo

Hello City Nature Challenge Community!

Have you let us know that you’re joining in the 2020 City Nature Challenge? Still have some questions? Interested but not sure if it is a right fit? Planning on participating but haven’t registered as a collaborating organization for 2020? Don’t worry, there is still time… and in the meantime, why don’t your join us next week to explore the possibilities?

Whether you’ve already signed up or are still considering your options, we hope you’ll join us -- the CNC Boston steering committee -- at our first-ever City Nature Challenge Meet-up on February 10 from 12 - 3 pm at the Franklin Park Zoo! It’s free, and there will be snacks, and it will be a great chance to get together with others interested in supporting the CNC to engage our community in citizen science and documenting biodiversity in our area.

Use this google form to let us know your coming! In the form, you’ll also be able to indicate if you are a returning organization, or joining for the first-time. We’re also asking a couple of questions to find out what type of training or collaborations you might be interested in.

During the CNC Meet-up you’ll have an opportunity to participate in ‘How to iNat workshops’ for both new and advanced users, share ideas for how to engage your community, learn about Data Quests, and have all of your questions about the CNC answered. We look forward to connecting!

This year the CNC will have about 200 cities participating in this global effort to document urban biodiversity. The 2020 CNC: Boston Area will now include within the I-495 corridor, out to Stellwagen Bank, and include Cape Cod and islands. You and your organization can help boost Boston to the top of the leaderboard by making observations from April 24 - 27 and/or helping to identify observations from April 28 - May 3, 2020. Check out our website to learn more! You can also view our ‘Welcome Webinar’ from Jan. 13 on the CNC YouTube Channel. You’ll see it is divided into three parts: part 1 covers an overview of the CNC (including how to get involved), part 2 covers iNaturalist essentials, and part 3 is an open Q & A.

Thanks, we look forward to seeing you soon!

The CNC Steering Committee

Boston Area City Nature Challenge Steering Committee:
Aimee Bonanno, New England Aquarium and New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative
Colleen Hitchcock, Brandeis University
Claire O’Neill, Earthwise Aware
Eliza Forman and John Anderson, Zoo New England
Peter Burn, Suffolk University
Pam DiBona, MassBays National Estuary Partnership
Stan Rullman, Kim Arlen, and Mark Chandler, Earthwatch Institute
Rob Stevenson, University of Massachusetts Boston

Posted on February 03, 2020 13:00 by hitchco hitchco | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 24, 2018

Continued Involvement

Amazing job to everyone who participated in the City Nature Challenge 2018: Boston Area! Together, 307 people have collected 688 bees, butterfly, and moth observations in our region. Thanks to your hard work, we reached our goal of having over 37% of the observations being invertebrates. See more of the Challenge results at:

Even though the City Nature Challenge has concluded for 2018, the Early Flyers data quest is still going. This is a continuous data collection project, meaning your observations will contribute to an important research throughout the year. Let's keep up the momentum and observe even more occurrences of our beautiful and ecologically vital bees, butterflies, and moths!

Posted on May 24, 2018 14:49 by zoefoster zoefoster | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 30, 2018

The Final Push!

Though the weather was spotty yesterday with some passing rainstorms, CNC participants were still out BioBlitzing! Even with the rain, participants made 3,264 observations of 617 species!

Yesterday was very interesting in that only Common Eastern Bumble Bees were observed in the 9 observations. Fun fact: This bumble bee is very adaptable and can, therefore, live in country, suburbs and even urban cities! No wonder we saw them observed in Boston and all the way out to Sharon, MA!

Of the observations made yesterday, 8 out of 9 have already reached research grade! All in the course of 24 hours or less! Keep up the good work City Nature Challenge participants!

For the last day of the City Nature Challenge, keep an eye out for those 5 species of Early Flyers that haven’t been spotted yet: Pug Moths, Canadian Tiger Swallowtails, Half-Wings, Red Admirals, and American Ladies.

Now for some general City Nature Challenge updates: Boston is currently in 9th place, less than a thousand observations behind Houston. So don’t the let the dreary weather today keep us down. Keep observing and keep posting! Also, don’t forget to keep identifying observations May 1st to the 3rd!

Keep up the good work, everyone! Let’s make sure Boston stays in the top 10 of this competition!


Posted on April 30, 2018 15:38 by kdiaman kdiaman | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 29, 2018

Flying High, Early Flyers!

Yesterday's simply stunning weather made it an absolutely amazing day for Early Flyer observations. In a single day, the number of sightings for this Data Quest tripled from what it was on Friday. Thank you all so much for all of your hard work!

Of the 10 Early Flyer species, 5 have been spotted so far. We're halfway there!

Here are some very special shout-outs to the observers who recorded the first of each species yesterday:
@mmulqueen for the first Bumble Bee and the yesterday's first Early Flyer observation
@fluxus for the first and only Mourning Cloak yesterday
@marc_albert for the first Eastern Tent Caterpillar
and @leashell for the first Gypsy Moth

Thank you also to @leashell and @leashellshusband for submitting the most Early Flyer observations yesterday.

Today is starting out a bit gray and a little rainy in some areas, but be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more Early Flyers. We're still missing Pug Moths, Canadian Tiger Swallowtails, Half-Wings, Red Admirals, and American Ladies.

In overall Boston City Nature Challenge news, we're in eighth place in terms of observations, but out of all the cities in the world, we have the third highest number of observers! Awesome work everybody!

We still have today and tomorrow to uphold and improve our rankings, so go out there and keep submitting those photos!

Posted on April 29, 2018 13:38 by h_stewart h_stewart | 1 comment | Leave a comment

April 28, 2018

First Day Results: keep the observations coming!

Yesterday morning was the ideal weather for snapping photographs of species and CNC participants around the Boston Area really took advantage. Around noon, the rain rolled in which may have slowed some contributions, but we say congratulations to the participants that persevered through some gloomy weather to make almost 3500 observations on the first day of the 2018 City Nature Challenge! Together, 137 identifiers observed 498 species ranging all the way from Plymouth to Newburyport. Boston is well on its way to a top position in the rankings!

And congratulations to the 4 participants that provided 5 observations to the Early Flyers Project throughout the course of the first day of the competition! Of the ten Early Flyer species, two of them were spotted throughout the Boston Area today.

The most frequently spotted Early Flyer was the Common Eastern Bumble Bee, with a total of 4 observations yesterday.

A special shout out goes to @ebaitchman for observing both a Common Eastern Bumble Bee and an Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth! That is two out of ten Early Flyer species detected in one day by one observer.

During the next couple of days, let us aim to find the remaining eight species around the Boston Area. Right now, the sun is shining in Boston, so there is a high chance that Early Flyers are out and about!

Great job everyone, and keep the observations coming!


Posted on April 28, 2018 15:05 by emiliarb emiliarb | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 19, 2018

Guided Observation Events

Are you having trouble making observations? Would you like to meet fellow nature enthusiasts? You should attend a guided observation event. Several researchers and organizations are hosting City Nature Challenge (CNC) walks and we want you to attend! You will work with other naturalists and citizen scientists to take quality observations and learn how to identify local species.

Wright Farm Spring Celebration

  • When: Saturday, April 28, 12:00pm-3:00pm
  • Where: 241 Grove Street, Lexington, MA
  • Description: Celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day at Lexington's newest Conservation property! This land hosts a variety of pollinators and native wildflowers. Join this event to learn about pollinators and native wildflowers from land rangers and nature experts.
Kids, Bugs, Art: Make a Bee!
  • When: Saturday, April 28, 1:30pm-3:30pm
  • Where: Magazine Beach, Cambridge, MA
  • Description: At this fun family event, you will learn about bumble bees and butterflies and apply what you learn to fun arts-and-crafts activities.

Learn more about these and other CNC events at:

Posted on April 19, 2018 14:16 by zoefoster zoefoster | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 12, 2018

Field Guide

Are you having trouble collecting bee, butterfly, and moth observations? Check out these materials! This field guide will teach you where to collect observations, how to properly photograph specimens, and how to identify these insect species. Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) biodiversity cards will provide interesting information about species traits, conservation status, as well as identification assistance.

Quest introduction: www.drive.google.com/file/d/1XNxsujYoIaDlt62vWl-j-xCthtJgv03J/view?usp=sharing
Field species guide: www.drive.google.com/file/d/1hQO9J9A0sJfACoRwr0RJMuGpes5M0S67/view?usp=sharing
EOL biodiversity cards: www.drive.google.com/file/d/1dl_8pBvvk-shhA-9HjJDZcqNwAYXO6iC/view?usp=sharing

Posted on April 12, 2018 17:59 by zoefoster zoefoster | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 15, 2018

National Learn About Butterflies Day

March 14th is recognized as National Learn About Butterflies Day! This holiday celebrates the transition from winter to spring and the beautiful lifeforms that emerge this time of year. With the recent snow storms in the Boston area, it is unlikely that you will observe butterflies, but you can still celebrate this day by learning about the importance they have in their natural ecosystems as well as in your own community.

Learn more about butterflies and how you can help us research them at:

Posted on March 15, 2018 15:28 by zoefoster zoefoster | 0 comments | Leave a comment