City Nature Challenge
City Nature Challenge
Started in 2016 as a competition between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the City Nature Challenge (CNC) has grown into an international event, motivating people around the world to find and document wildlife in their cities. Run by the Community Science teams at the California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the CNC is an annual four-day global bioblitz at the end of April, where cities are in a collaboration-meets-friendly-competition to see not only what can be accomplished when we all work toward a common goal, but also which city can gather the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people in the event.
In the UK, we have been taking part since 2018 with Bristol leading the way. The term ‘city’ has also evolved over this period and includes wide urban areas eg Birmingham and the Black Country; the North East as well as City of Nottingham and Gloucester. The Natural History Consortium are leading on co-ordinating the UK’s involvement. Take a look at their website for information and resources.
What happened in 2023?
The City Nature Challenge in 2023 was once again a collaborative event with 482 cities from 46 countries taking part. In the UK, 22 urban areas took on the challenge. You can see the cities that took part on the City Nature Challenge UK Leaderboard. The leaderboard also includes observations made across the UK, so not in the CNC participating areas.
Observations that are included are those made between Friday 28 April and Monday 1 May 2023. When collating the results the figures were taken as at 9 am, local time, on Monday 8 May in each respective country. The week following the event was to allow time for observations to be added to iNaturalist and the community to identify observations to the highest level possible at that time.
The UK tally* for the UK cities registered for the City Nature Challenge is as follows:
Total Observations: 78,854
Total Species Recorded: 3,797
Number of Observers: 2,610
(*The tally is declared straight after the CNC weekend and whilst the numbers will change as observations are added after the date and more species are identified, this is the official reported figure for observations, species and observers.)
Worldwide, the most commonly recorded species was Mallard. Garlic Mustard, Common Daisy and Herb Robert topped our tally.
Blackbird, Mallard, Robin and Wood Pigeon topped our bird list. The 7-Spot Ladybird, Garden Snail and Common Carder Bee were also commonly observed. The Orange-Tip was the most observed butterfly.
To view the results in depth and see the current, up to date numbers, the UK City Nature Challenge species list is available on iNaturalistUK.
You can view the collective results from across the world on the Global Leaderboard 2023.
Do you want to take part in 2024?
The next City Nature Challenge will take place between 26 April – 29 April 2024. Complete the sign up form which can be found on the City Nature Challenge participate page to register your interest. Please email the Natural History Consortium team at firstname.lastname@example.org to let them know you are signing up. They may be able to link you up with other people or groups who want to take part in your local area.
They can also offer help and advice on what’s involved.