3 Apr 2024

Take part in the City Nature Challenge: share wildlife sightings from your school

Lucy Robinson
City Nature Challenge logo

Kickstart your Nature Park wildlife observations with this global challenge!

Friday 26 April – Monday 29 April 2024 

What will you and your pupils find living on your school or nursery site? Perhaps something rare, something unexpected or just a lot more life than you thought! Start building a list of the animals, plants and fungi living on your site by joining this global wildlife challenge.  

City Nature Challenge is an annual four-day community science event where people across the globe photograph wildlife and share their observations using a free app called iNaturalist. It’s a collaboration-meets-friendly-competition to see what can be accomplished when we all work towards a common goal. This year, 24 regions of the UK are taking on the challenge (but you don’t have to be in a participating city or region to take part – all observations count).

We are incorporating this event into the National Education Nature Park – it’s an easy way for you to kickstart your wildlife observations, adding sightings to the Nature Park map to show what’s living on your site. Understanding what’s living there now enables you to understand how your site currently supports wildlife and provides a baseline that you can compare to in future once you’ve made some changes to boost biodiversity.  

Don’t worry if you or your pupils aren’t confident identifying wildlife – when you take a photo, the iNaturalistUK app gives suggestions of what you might have seen, and an online community of friendly enthusiasts confirms or corrects your identification. 

It's the biggest community science event in the world, and you can be a part of it! Take part from Friday 26 April – Monday 29 April 2024:

How to take part

For your observations to be included on your Nature Park map, you must:

  1. Create an account on the iNaturalistUK website, with both the Display Name and Username starting ‘NENP_’, using a group (not personal) email e.g. [email protected].
  2. Set your wildlife data sharing license to CC0 (Account Settings / Content and Display).
  3. Tick the box to affiliate with the iNaturalistUK Network (Account Settings / Account). This means your observations can be of greatest benefit to UK nature study. 

Once you’ve completed these steps, you can download the iNaturalist app onto any devices you want to use, log in (all can log in to the same account you just created), and start snapping! Practice with the app yourself before leading your class or group activity. If you don’t want to use the app, you can upload photos to the iNaturalistUK website. 

Whilst the Challenge aims to make lots of wildlife observations, the emphasis is on quality over quantity. Moving slowly, taking care to get clear, in-focus photos, and taking time to discuss and share your photos as a group is the name of the game.  

Our resources will support you to structure a lesson or activity around the City Nature Challenge. You can also use the iNaturalist app or website to make observations at any time of year, to continue adding your sightings to the Nature Park map. 

City Nature Challenge was invented by community science staff, Lila Higgins at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and Alison Young and Rebecca Johnson at the California Academy of Sciences in the USA. 

City Nature Challenge organizer logo