City Nature Challenge

International event encouraging people around the world to find and document wildlife in their cities.

Video intro to 2020 challenge by Dr Rachel White at Brighton University

The City Nature Challenge is an international event, encouraging people around the world to find and document wildlife in their cities and surrounding regions as citizen scientists and utilising the iNaturalist app.

Started in 2016 as a competition between San Francisco and Los Angeles, it is now an annual and global 4 day BioBlitz that takes place 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.

The Brighton region first participated in City Nature Challenge in 2020, expanding our boundary to include the whole of the Eastern South Downs in 2021 to enable more people to participate locally, particularly during the Covid lockdowns.

Locally, City Nature Challenge is organised by University of Brighton, University of Sussex and The Living Coast, with support from the South Downs National Park. The UK event is co-ordinated by The Natural History Consortium, and the global event is co-ordinated by the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles and California Academy of Sciences. Everyone and anyone is welcome to get involved and help record and identify the wildlife you see in the region.

Purple wild Knapweed wildflowers in Brighton

Hairy porcelain crab. Image by Maureen Berg

Project objectives

  1. To connect people to their local nature and to each other through nature, particularly, but not exclusively in urban areas, and to have fun.
  2. Collect biodiversity data which in turn is then available to scientists and conservation practitioners. This has local, national and even international importance and use.
  3. Increase the number of biological recorders globally. So, to grow the number of volunteer/citizen scientists documenting biodiversity.

What’s been achieved?

  • In 2021 we had over 300 people taking part who recorded an amazing 6103 observations of 1,122 species, contributing to nearly 1.3 million observations globally.
  • Our most observed plant was Ground Ivy, and most observed animal was the blackbird.
  • In 2021 we observed the most species in the UK and were in the top 50 for species observations globally!

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