City Nature Challenge

International event encouraging people around the world to find and document wildlife in their local area, 26th-29th April 2024.

Join us for City Nature Challenge 2024

The City Nature Challenge is back for 2024! The Brighton & Eastern Downs region – including the whole of The Living Coast – will be participating in the global City Nature Challenge again this year.

Join us in this exciting, worldwide citizen science event by discovering and recording as much wildlife across our region as possible.

To get involved all you need to do is download the iNaturalist app to your smartphone and use it to record wildlife in the Brighton & Eastern Downs Region during the event recording weekend 26-29 April 2024.

Watch the video to find out more about the challenge

Why get involved?

There is nature all around us, on the coast, on the downs and even in our cities! Knowing what species are in our urban and surrounding 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 the nature on our doorstep. Participating in the City Nature Challenge can help us all not only learn more about our local nature, but also help make our Brighton & Eastern Downs a better place – for us and other species. 

Photo by Liz Finlayson/Vervate The Living Coast, the Brighton & Lewes Downs UNESCO Biosphere Region includes land and sea from Shoreham to Newhaven. Castle Hill Nature Reserve Newhaven

Where can I see my observations and those recorded by others?

During the event, as soon as you upload any observation to iNaturalist, it will automatically be added to the Brighton and Eastern Downs’ City Nature Challenge project. You will also be able to monitor our progress compared to other UK city regions, and visit the worldwide City Nature Challenge project page to compare our results with other cities worldwide!

Learning how to use iNaturalist 

If iNaturalist is a new app for you then don’t worry, there is plenty of help available to make sure you can make the best records of all the wildlife you spot.

Visit this page for a simple overview of how to use iNaturalist  

Or you can watch these videos that give more detailed information:

Video – how to make observations with your phone 

Video – how to upload photos from your camera 

Video – how to take better photos for iNaturalist 

Video – how to add photos or sound to your observation

Video – how to use iNaturalists Identify page

City Nature Challenge map

Map of the Brighton & Eastern Downs City Nature Challenge region. View an interactive version of this map. The Brighton & Eastern Downs region covers 800km2 and spans from the River Arun in the west to the eastern edge of the South Downs National Park, and includes the whole of The Living Coast.

This will be the fourth year that Brighton & the Eastern Downs region has participated in the City Nature Challenge and each year more and more people are taking part. Last year Brighton & Eastern Downs ranked 6th in the UK for observations.

Everyone and anyone is welcome to get involved and help record and identify the wildlife you see in the region. Whilst the main event to record our local wildlife will take place 26-29 April, you can also get involved by helping identify the records made between 30 April – 5 May.

Photo by Liz Finlayson/Vervate The Living Coast, the Brighton & Lewes Downs UNESCO Biosphere Region includes land and sea from Shoreham to Newhaven. An orchid grows n chalk grassland in East Brighton

Anyone can do it!

Experienced naturalist or curious beginner, everyone can create their own adventure and discover the wildlife on their doorstep, within the Brighton & Eastern Downs.

  • Search your local park, garden, school ground, nature reserve, beach – there are endless possibilities!
  • Observations can be made of wildlife on land, in freshwater, or in the sea!
  • We encourage you to only upload wild and non-captive sightings. Please, no photos of people, pets, or potted plants!
  • You don’t have to be an expert, as the free iNaturalist app will give you some handy suggestions of what it thinks you’ve seen and the iNaturalist online community will help you to learn more about the wildlife around you.
school visit to beach to explore home

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.

City nature challenge 2022 how to banner

This year we will be joining over 400 other city regions world wide – 22 are in the UK. Results will be announced on 6 May! We’d love to hear about your City Nature Challenge activities and findings. Share your experiences and photos using the hashtag #CNCBrightonDowns.

For further information on the City Nature Challenge 2023 please have a look at the Frequently Asked Questions page.

We will be sharing City Nature Challenge events via our What’s On Pages.

Locally, City Nature Challenge is organised by University of Brighton, University of Sussex, The Living Coast and 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.

You can contact the local organising team on:

The Living Coast by Bike

Project objectives

  1. To connect people to their local nature and to each other, 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?

  • The Brighton & Eastern Downs 2023 results showed a 50% increase in community participation.
  • Nearly 7000 local observations were made by 350 observers.
  • Most observed species in 2023 were Ground Ivy and Red Deadnettle.

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