Welcome to the NHMLA SuperProject

The 2018 SuperProject is now seeking participants who live in southern Los Angeles to join this exciting FREE project.


As a SuperProject participant, you will:

• CONTRIBUTE to NHMLA’s research by learning how to collect scientific data in your neighborhood while learning more than you ever imagined about your local wildlife

• CONNECT with an amazing group of community scientists & NHMLA researchers through SuperProject events and social media

• RECEIVE special invitations to field trips and meet-ups throughout the year

• LEARN observation and photography skills with the help of NHMLA experts

• ATTEND fun “thank you” events for SuperProject participants and their families

Participants enjoyed a night hike with Museum scientists, dinner, and a raffle at one of the SuperProject 2017 events.  photo: Deniz Durman

What is the SuperProject?

The SuperProject is a one year long FREE program run by the Urban Nature Research Center (UNRC) at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. It is the world's largest urban biodiversity survey. NHMLA scientists partner with and teach participants to make nature observations using smartphones in their own neighborhoods to better understand nature in Los Angeles. It is now in its third year.

A Big Idea

A few years ago, scientists at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County were struggling to learn more about nature in L.A. Because Los Angeles County is spread over an enormous geographical region, with heavily urbanized areas that are mostly private property, it was impossible for a small team of NHMLA scientists to survey all of it on their own. This densely populated city is a major hub of transportation and industry, with new plants and animals arriving daily. L.A.'s Mediterranean climate is agreeable to many species of plants and animals, allowing them to survive and thrive in their new home. How could scientists possibly get an accurate picture of which species are living in L.A.?

UNRC scientists knew that there were many significant nature observations to be made in Los Angeles, but how could they find them? Then they had an exciting idea: if they joined forces with local residents who were willing to survey their own neighborhoods at regular intervals, it would become possible to gain a much deeper understanding of nature in Los Angeles. In 2016, they trained the first group of SuperProject participants and designed an easy way for them to report their findings.

UNRC scientist, Miguel Ordeñana surprised SuperProject 2017 participants with information about bats he had detected in their yard.  photo: Maiz Connolly

It Worked!

Using their own smartphones and cameras that could automatically record the date, time, and precise location of their observations, the SuperProject participants submitted photos of nature in their own neighborhoods twice a month for one year. Their observations were then used by Museum scientists as data points to answer real scientific questions.

By using technology, access, and local knowledge, the SuperProject participants became invaluable to the study of nature in L.A. The Museum scientists sucessfully expanded the SuperProject in 2017, and are making it even bigger in 2018.

This exciting new form of crowdsourcing data has forever changed the way we study nature in big cities.

Many SuperProject participants reported that they had gained a deeper appreciation of wildlife and were surprised by their local biodiversity. Previous SuperProject participants have helped collect new speciesdiscover new records, and map fascinating location data. They have inspired us with their finds and coauthored scientific publications based on their discoveries. We hope you are interested in joining this exciting community!

How can you participate?

SuperProject 2018 requires a little bit of your time each month for one year, starting in September of 2018.

You must live inside the 2018 study area to participate. This year's study area is in southern Los Angeles, south of the 10 Freeway, between I-405/Hawthorne Blvd. and the 710 to the beach. Here is a map of the 2018 study area:

You will need access to a smartphone or GPS-enabled camera and the internet to share your observations. We will teach you how to do it during a three-hour long training session at the Natural History Museum (free admission to the Museum included.) Training sessions will be offered in late July, late August, and early September.

We encourage people of all ages to join the SuperProject!

At your training session, we will teach you how to conduct the three types of simple surveys included in the SuperProject:

     Core Site. This might be a backyard, the grounds of an apartment complex, or a garden at your school. This is a site you will survey once every month from September 2018 through August 2019.

     Neighborhood. Once a month, you will take a 15-30 minute walk through the neighborhood around your core site and record your observations.

     Parks/open spaces. You will conduct at least three surveys of parks or open spaces in your neighborhood over the year.

If you are ready to join SuperProject 2018, click the link below:


Nature is everywhere. You can help us find it!  photo: Sara Cristina Medina

E-mail unrc@nhm.org with any questions.