Our Butterfly Pavilion and Nature Gardens are now open, and tickets are sold out for the season. The inside of the museum remains closed. Advanced timed-tickets are required for members and non-members. See NHMLAC's response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Woman using binoculars to observe nature

2020 City Nature Challenge

The City Nature Challenge is an international effort to document nature in cities that will be taking place from April 24 to 27, 2020. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made some modifications to the City Nature Challenge to help keep our organizers and participants safe.

Firstly, this year’s City Nature Challenge is no longer a competition.

Instead, we want to embrace the healing power of nature and encourage the collaborative aspect of the City Nature Challenge. This will allow people to safely document biodiversity in whatever way they can, even from the safety of their own homes. We urge all participants to carefully follow public health guidelines provided by our local governments, as they are changing in real-time. Individual safety and public health are our utmost priority. Please refer to our COVID-19 FAQ page for more information.

As a participant, it is up to you how much or how little you take part!

City Nature Challenge is about documenting nature where people live, especially in urban areas. In that spirit, here are some ideas for participation in or near your home.

Explore your home or yard

  • What can you find in your house?
  • What can you see through your windows?
  • What are the wild plants growing in your backyard? (weeds count!)
  • What insects or other creatures are using the cultivated plants in your backyard as habitat or a food source?
  • What observations can you make along the sidewalk in front of your house or apartment complex? (Always be mindful of traffic and safety.)
  • Check out more ideas for exploring nature in and around your home.

Explore your neighborhood

  • Take a walk and see what other organisms share your neighborhood. Make sure to practice social distancing by keeping space between people of at least 6 feet. Be considerate of others and cross the street, if necessary to maintain distance. (Always be mindful of traffic and safety.)
  • Look up to spot birds sitting in trees or on powerlines and telephone poles.
  • Look down to find insects, crawling on the pavement or underneath leaves.
  • What else might you find?
  • Visit your local park, if it remains open. Check both city and county restrictions on park use as it may vary across jurisdictions. Make sure to practice social distancing by keeping space between people of at least 6 feet. Look in the grass, on plants, under benches and tables, and up in the trees. How many different species will you find?

How to Participate

Download the iNaturalist app from the App Store or Google Play.

Step 1: Find wildlife - in or near your home - within the boundaries of L.A. County. 

Step 2: Take photos of WILD plants & animals.

Step 3: Share Your observations in the iNaturalist App. If they’re not wild, be sure to mark them as captive/cultivated!

Step 4: Help identify what everyone found from April 28 to May 3. 

iNaturalist How To Videos

Adding an Observation on a Mobile Device

Adding an Observation via the Web

How to Take Identifiable Photos

City Nature Challenge is brought to you by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and California Academy of Sciences. 

View the 2019 City Nature Challenge results.