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Nebraska City Nature Challenge

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What is the City Nature Challenge?

The City Nature Challenge (CNC) is a global event to find and document urban wildlife. It kicks off with a four day observation period. This is the time to find, take pictures, and upload your observations. This observation period is followed by an identification period, where the observations are identified.

Participating in the City Nature Challenge is easy:

  1. Download the free iNaturalist app to your smartphone.
  2. Find wildlife! It can be any wild plant, animal, fungi, or any other evidence of life, such as scat, fur or tracks, found in your neighborhood, home, yard. You can even document it through your windows. You might be surprised by how many insects thrive in the nooks and crannies around you.
  3. Take pictures of what you find and upload to iNaturalist. Check out this video for more information about how to use iNaturalist.
  4. Learn more as your observations are identified and help others identify their observations. Nobody knows everything, but we all know something! Helping others identify their observations is a great way to provide support.

Why participate?

There is nature all around us, even in our cities! Knowing what species are in our urban areas 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 nature in our area. By participating in the CNC, not only do you learn more about your local nature, but you can also make your city a better place — for you and our wild neighbors!

When is the 2022 City Nature Challenge?

April 29 – May 2: Upload wildlife observations to iNaturalist
May 3- May 8: Help identify observations via iNaturalist

Observations of all types of plants, fish, and wildlife and signs are highly encouraged any time during the City Nature Challenge.

Speaker Series

Do you want to learn about what animals, plants, and fungi you might discover during the CNC? Are you interested in participating, but not sure how? Join us every Tuesday in April from 7:00- 8:00 PM CST for our Nebraska CNC Speaker Series! The goal of this series is to explore plants and animals in Nebraska and get community scientists (like you!) involved in the 2022 City Nature Challenge.

These events are free, but registration is required. Visit our Nebraska Wildlife Education Facebook Page for event details and links to register!

ID Parties

Need assistance identifying your observations or eager to learn how to identify local wildlife? We’re here to help! Grab your lunch and join us virtually from 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM CST for our informal ID parties.

These events are free, but registration is required. Visit our Nebraska Wildlife Education Facebook Page for event details and links to register!

Where is the 2022 City Nature Challenge happening in Nebraska?

Omaha Metro

Contact: Caitlin Leary
Email: caitlin.leary@omahazoo.com
Phone: 402-738-2092

Check out City Nature Challenge 2022: Omaha Metro project on iNaturalist

Statewide

If you don’t live in a participating location, you can join the City Nature Challenge 2022: Global Project on iNaturalist to make your observations count!

How are observations counted?

All observations made in a participating city and uploaded to iNaturalist during the observation period of the challenge will automatically be counted towards that city’s total; you do not have to join the project for your observations to count, as long as you are within a participating cities boundaries.

If you don’t live in a participating city, you can join the Global City Nature Challenge Project on iNaturalist. This project allows anyone, from anywhere to participate in the event- but you have to join the project for your observations to count!

History of the City Nature Challenge

The CNC was started in 2016 by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and California Academy of Sciences. The first CNC was an eight-day competition between Los Angeles and San Francisco, engaging residents and visitors to document nature in order to better understand urban biodiversity. In 2017 the CNC went national, and in 2018, the CNC became an international event. The event has continued to grow each year. In 2021, more than 400 cities across 44 countries participated, contributing over 1 million observations to iNaturalist!

Thank you to our event sponsors

The City Nature Challenge across Nebraska wouldn’t be possible without our partners in conservation.

Omaha

  • Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
  • Heron Haven Wetland Sanctuary
  • Omaha Public Library
  • City of Omaha Parks, Recreation, and Public Property
  • Community Scientists of Nebraska Network
  • Omaha STEM Ecosystem
  • Keep Omaha Beautiful
  • Mulhall’s
  • Nebraska Wildlife Rehab
  • Fontenelle Forest

Lincoln

  • Pioneers Park Nature Center
  • Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center
  • Lincoln Parks and Recreation
  • UNL Department of Entomology
  • Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County
  • Nebraska Statewide Arboretum
  • Nebraska Forest Service
  • Lincoln Community Learning Centers
  • Friends of Wilderness Park
  • The Xerces Society
  • Lincoln City Libraries
  • University of Nebraska State Museum- Morrill Hall
  • Wachiska Audubon Society
  • Community Scientists of Nebraska Network
  • Nebraska Pollinator Monarch Initiative

Norfolk

  • Lower Elkhorn NRD
  • Norfolk Visitors Bureau

North Platte

  • North Platte Visitors Center
  • Mid-Plains Community College
  • North Platte Public Library

Scottsbluff

  • City of Scottsbluff
  • City of Gering

Global

  • Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
  • Nebraska Environmental Trust
  • Natural Legacy Project

Questions?

Contact Alie Mayes at alie.mayes@nebraska.gov.