May 13, 2017


We did some amazing work in NYC! In just five days, we added 3792 new observations to our city's total, which was about a 28% increase over what had been added to NYC for the previous SEVEN YEARS. We had an almost ten-fold increase in the number of people using iNaturalist compared to the same five days as last year (third highest increase for the 16 cities) and a sixty-fold increase in the number of observations made for the same time.

New users and seasoned pros came together to enrich the list of NYC iNaturalist species. Together we added 163 new species to our list! Here's a little video I made of all the observations accumulating:

I want to give a special shout out to our top observers for unique taxa (taxa that no one else in the region found during the CNC). Here's the list:
@er1kksen (116 unique taxon contributions)
@zihaowang (42)
@susanhewitt (37)
@danielatha (23)
@klodonnell (21)
@elaphrornis (17)
@hcallahan (12)
@lisabrundage (9)
@lesecology (9)
@deborah30 (7)
@localecologist (7)

The City Nature Challenge lead to the busiest 5-day period on iNaturalist EVER! The combined 16 cities made 124,092 observations of 8557 species with a total of 4051 participants. That's so many people exploring the nature of their urban spaces! Woo hoo! Fun fact: There was only one species that all 16 cities had in common...the rock pigeon! If you want to see how all the cities ranked, visit this journal post from the main CNC project page:

Finally, I'd just like to remind you to take the survey mentioned in the previous journal post. This feedback will help the organizers plan for next year!

See you all on iNaturalist!

Posted on May 13, 2017 02:29 by klodonnell klodonnell | 2 comments | Leave a comment

April 28, 2017

Quick survey about the City Nature Challenge

City Nature Challenge participants! Thanks so much for your energy and enthusiasm for the City Nature Challenge this year – it was incredible to see so many people excited to document their local nature.

Please help us make the City Nature Challenge even better next year!

If you took part in the City Nature Challenge – whether you made 1 observation or 1000 – we’re hoping you’ll fill out this short (only 5 questions!) survey to let us know about your experience. All input is important and appreciated!

Link to survey:

Thanks in advance!
Alison Young & Lila Higgins, City Nature Challenge coordinators
(California Academy of Sciences & Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County)

Posted on April 28, 2017 00:30 by kestrel kestrel | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 20, 2017

Suggesting IDs and Observation highlights

Wow! What a great 5 days of being out observing nature!

I hope everyone found something exciting. I think my favorite observations were the spring ephemerals. I also found an Italian wall lizard, which was something I had not personally observed before! I'd love to hear what you all were most excited by. California Academy of Science would also like to know. If you have any particular observation that you think was remarkable, let me know! CAS is asking us to make a list so they can highlight them in their results press release.

The other thing we could use help with is identifications. There are quite a few unknowns that could be added to. I'll be working my way through them in the next two days, but any help is greatly appreciated! Special thanks to our top identifiers @tsn @susanhewitt @zihaowang @mickley @xyz @elaphrornis @curiousbynature @john8 @psweet. If anyone really wants to help with this task, let me know and I'll change your status in the project to 'curator'.

Thank you everyone!

Posted on April 20, 2017 01:25 by klodonnell klodonnell | 17 comments | Leave a comment

April 18, 2017


Today is the last day of the City Nature Challenge. I hope everyone has been having a great time outside in this beautiful weather! I know I have!

D.C. is currently beating us by about 500 observations. Let's rally today and get ahead of them! We have until midnight tonight.

Posted on April 18, 2017 17:42 by klodonnell klodonnell | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 16, 2017

Let's Keep Going!

NYC Nature lovers! Thank you for your excellent observations these past two days! Three more days to go! Let's keep up the good work!

Today was National Citizen Science Day and we had four events around the city at Greenbelt Nature Center, Central Park, Van Cortlandt Park, and the Lower East Side Ecology Center. Thank you to the Macaulay students who helped out at these events! There's still one more event on Tuesday at Washington Square Park hosted by @wspecoprojects (see the previous journal post for details).

It was also Native Plant Day. I saw some great native plants posted! Let's get more spring ephemerals in!

Extra thanks to our top 10 observers so far: @lisabrundage @susanhewitt @qingh @er1kksen @lisabg @elaphrornis @margot713 @kevparsonsproject and @plantago and @gquioan (tied)

It looks like it's going to be a gorgeous day tomorrow! Can't wait to see what we discover!

Posted on April 16, 2017 02:20 by klodonnell klodonnell | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 27, 2017


You don't need to attend an event to participate in the City Nature Challenge, but if you want to make some friends while you observe, check out these events! Click "More" for full descriptions.

Friday, April 14 - Discovery Walk for Families in Central Park (Manhattan)
Saturday, April 15 - Discovery Walk for Families in Central Park (Manhattan)
Saturday, April 15 - Info Table at Greenbelt Nature Center (Staten Island)
Saturday, April 15 - Info Table at Van Cortlandt Park Nature Center (Bronx)
Saturday, April 15 - Lower East Side Ecology Center CNC event (Manhattan)
Tuesday, April 18 - Washington Square Park CNC event (Manhattan)

Discovery Walks for Families in Central Park
Date: Friday, April 14 and Saturday, April 15
Time: 10am-11:30am
Host: Central Park Conservancy
Location: In Central Park. April 14 meet at Belvedere Castle (mid-Park @ 79th St. April 15 meet at Chess and Checkers House (mid-Park @ 64th St)
Description: Why do birds flock to Central Park every spring and fall? We’ll find out as we explore Central Park’s woodlands, and learn the basics of bird identification along the way! Bring your family for a guided walk and discover why Central Park is a sanctuary for plants, animals, and humans alike. Learn about the architecture, landscapes, and ecosystems of the Park through hands-on exploration using Discovery Kits – rugged backpacks filled with kid-friendly binoculars, field guides, and hand lenses. Pre-registration required as space is limited. Families with children ages 5+ only; no groups, please. Please arrive at walk location 15 minutes before the start of the Discovery Walk to allow time for check in and to pick up Discovery Kits.

If you can’t make these walks, we encourage you to take the self guided tours of the Ramble and North Woods. Please remember to be respectful of the Park and stay on the trails while you make your observations.

CNC Info Table at Greenbelt Nature Center, Staten Island
Date: Saturday, April 15, 2017
Time: 11am-2pm
Host:Greenbelt Nature Center
Location: 700 Rockland Ave, Staten Island
Description: The Greenbelt is a 2800 acre oasis of natural areas, featuring nearly 35 miles of hiking trails, nestled in the heart of Staten Island. The Greenbelt Nature Center, which opened in June 2004, is a gateway to the Greenbelt, offering trail maps, guided hikes, public programs, class trips, events, and private parties, serving over 20,000 people a year. Jessica R. Kratz is the coordinator of the Greenbelt Nature Center and loves to introduce visitors to the wonders of the forest, particularly the amphibians that appear near our vernal pools each spring. The CNC info table will be operating to help any visitors with questions about how to use iNaturalist to participate in the City Nature Challenge.

CNC Info Table at Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx
Date: Saturday, April 15, 2017
Time: 10am-12:30pm
Host:Greenbelt Nature Center
Location: Van Cortlandt Park Nature Center, 246th Street and Broadway, right next to the House Museum
Description: The Info Table will be at the Van Cortlandt Park Nature Center which "serves as an in–park community center for public education, recreational activities, and environmental studies. The centers serve as starting points for walking tours and workshop sites for educational programs for the whole family." The CNC info table will be operating to help any visitors with questions about how to use iNaturalist to participate in the City Nature Challenge.

At the same time, join the Stewardship Team in a forest restoration project! You MUST register for the forest restoration, space is limited. Sign up here:

Registration is not necessary for visiting the Info Table. Come by to learn about iNaturalist and the City Nature Challenge.

New York City Nature Challenge at the Lower East Side Ecology Center
Date: Saturday, April 15, 2017
Time: 11am-2pm
Host: Lower East Side Ecology Center
Location: Fireboat House in East River Park, East River Promenade at Grand Street (Manhattan)
Description: Join the Lower East Side Ecology Center educators on April 15th to explore East River Park, record all plants and animals we find on land and in the river, and help NYC win the City Nature Challenge! You will also have the opportunity to learn about other citizen science projects in which you can be involved and get hands-on with the animals and specimens in our Environmental Learning Center. This event is free and open to the public. Learn more and RSVP at

City Nature Challenge NYC at Washington Square Park
Date: Tuesday, April 18
Time: 9am-11am
Host: WSP Eco Projects
Location: Washington Square Park, meet at the Garibaldi Statue (east of the WSP fountain)
Description: WSP Eco Projects is wild about the fauna, flora, and fungi of Washington Square Park. Document our biodiverse park and help NYC win City Nature Challenge 2017. There will be a Macaulay staff person to assist with using the iNaturalist app to photograph and upload your nature photos. When you are done creature counting, talk with Georgia (cofounder & director) about our wildlife survey (the park is a birding hotspot), Eco Map, the hidden stream (aka Minetta Brook), or play nature bingo.


Posted on March 27, 2017 17:05 by klodonnell klodonnell | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 24, 2017

Guides for Getting Started

Participation is pretty simple.

1 - Download the free iNaturalist app and make an account.

2 - Go outside. No need to try to find someplace away from people. There's nature to observe everywhere!

3 - Make an observation using the iNaturalist app.

4 - Share that observation to the iNaturalist community.

Here's a quick video about how to make an observation:
For more info, check out this guide from iNaturalist:

Posted on March 24, 2017 15:10 by klodonnell klodonnell | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 21, 2017

National Leaderboards

We love all of the cities participating in this year's City Nature Challenge, but we will beat you in this friendly competition. We're in the city that never sleeps, so that gives us more time to observe nocturnal critters!

Follow our progress during the CNC compared to the other 15 cities participating at this website:

Posted on March 21, 2017 18:45 by klodonnell klodonnell | 3 comments | Leave a comment

February 28, 2017

Welcome to the City Nature Challenge 2017: New York City project page!

The City Nature Challenge is ON for NYC! Join us from April 14-18 to catalog as many species as we can find in all five boroughs of NYC. Much more information to come, but for now, here's a great overview of NYC's biodiversity:

Posted on February 28, 2017 20:14 by klodonnell klodonnell | 5 comments | Leave a comment