City Nature Challenge

A boy and woman look at a specimen they've found outside


There is nature all around us, even in our cities! Knowing what species are in our city and where they are helps us study and protect them, but the ONLY way to do that is by all of us – scientists, land managers, and the community – working together to find and document the nature in our area. By participating in the City Nature Challenge, not only do you learn more about your local nature, but you can also make your city a better place – for you and other species!

The City Nature Challenge makes documenting your local nature fun by creating an international, bioblitz-style competition. Cities across the globe are in a contest against each other to see who can make the most observations of nature, who can find the most species, and who can engage the most people.

How to participate

The observation window for the 2021 City Nature Challenge is April 30 - May 3. You can participate in the Minneapolis-St. Paul City Nature Challenge by submitting observations to iNaturalist from anywhere in the 13-county metro area, even your backyard! Observations made during the challenge dates and within the metro area will automatically be added to the competition.

Webinars and Facebook LIVE events will help you get involved!

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for a variety of Facebook LIVE events throughout the week! 

Open Houses: Got questions? Not sure where to start? Problems making iNaturalist observations? Drop in to our Zoom rooms to chat with others and get tips and troubleshooting guidance from project organizers. 

April 26, 2021, 12 noon - 1:00 pm

April 26, 2021, 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Identification Parties: Anyone anywhere can participate by helping to identify the species in photos submitted by others. This part of the City Nature Challenge takes place May 4-9 and is most easily done on the iNaturalist website at Get tips on using the iNaturalist identification search tools and work alongside others in our hosted social hours dedicated to this purpose. You'll LEARN stuff and it's FUN!

May 5, 2021  Identification Happy Hour, 4:30-6:00 pm

May 7, 2021   Identification Lunch Hour, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

Using iNaturalist

Visit or download the app from the AppStore or Google Play. Create an account and start making observations! Watch the videos below to learn how to take great photos, make observations, and add identifications to the species you observe.

13-county Twin Cities Metro Area includes:

  • Anoka
  • Carver
  • Chisago
  • Dakota
  • Hennepin
  • Isanti
  • Le Sueur
  • Mille Lacs
  • Ramsey
  • Scott
  • Sherburne
  • Washington
  • Wright
  • St. Croix, WI
  • Pierce, WI

How to take better photos for iNaturalist

How to add observations in iNaturalist

How to use the identification feature