With spring just around the corner, nature enthusiasts, scientists and curious minds alike gear up for an exhilarating event — the City Nature Challenge 2024.

This annual global event — born out of a collaboration between the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences — has now become a beacon of citizen science. The event unites communities around the world in a shared mission: to explore and document the biodiversity in their urban environments.

The City Nature Challenge is split into two distinct periods: the Observation Period, between April 26 and 29, 2024  and the Identification Period, between April 30 and May 5, 2024.

Like last year, Canada is poised to make a significant contribution to the City Nature Challenge 2024, with cities from coast to coast preparing to showcase the incredible natural diversity across Canada. From the rugged shores of British Columbia to the lush forests of Ontario, and the vibrant ecosystems of Quebec to the serene landscapes of the Maritimes, Canadians are eager to step outdoors and connect with the biodiversity that surrounds them.

What is the City Nature Challenge?

At its core, the City Nature Challenge is a friendly competition that encourages people to observe and record the plants, animals, fungi and other organisms they encounter in their everyday lives, using the free iNaturalist app. By harnessing the power of citizen science, the City Nature Challenge not only generates valuable data for researchers but also fosters a deeper appreciation and understanding of the natural world among participants.

In Canada, where the abundance of natural beauty is matched only by the diversity of its inhabitants, the City Nature Challenge serves as a tool for tracking biodiversity across the country. With ecosystems facing increasing pressures from climate change, habitat loss and pollution, it is more important than ever to understand and monitor biodiversity trends.

By participating in the City Nature Challenge, Canadians can contribute to ongoing research efforts aimed at conserving and protecting the nation’s natural heritage. Whether it’s identifying rare species, mapping invasive plants, or documenting seasonal migrations, every observation made during the City Nature Challenge provides valuable insights into the health and resilience of Canada’s ecosystems.

The City Nature Challenge is about more than just data collection; it’s about fostering a sense of stewardship and connection to the natural world. By engaging people of all ages and backgrounds in hands-on scientific exploration, the City Nature Challenge empowers individuals to become active participants in the conservation of their local environments.

In 2024, as Canada gears up for the City Nature Challenge, let’s embrace the opportunity to celebrate the rich tapestry of life that surrounds us. Whether you’re a seasoned naturalist or a curious beginner, there’s a place for you in the City Nature Challenge. So, grab your binoculars, lace up your hiking boots, open up your iNaturalist app, and join us as we embark on a journey to discover the wonders of Canada’s urban wilderness. All observations recorded using iNaturalist in participating cities automatically count towards the tally. Last year we collectively gathered nearly 75,000 observations. Let’s see what we can do in 2024!

Together, let’s show the world that when it comes to biodiversity, Canada is not just a vast wilderness; it’s also a thriving mosaic of life waiting to be explored. Join us for the City Nature Challenge 2024 and help us track biodiversity across Canada, one observation at a time.

Learn more at CityNatureChallenge.ca. Find out which cities are taking part by visiting the City Nature Challenge Canada iNaturalist project.