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Boston Area City Nature Challenge needs YOU!

This spring, people of all ages are invited to join the Boston Area City Nature Challenge, immerse themselves in nature and observe the plants and animals right in their own communities. Your help is needed in this, the 8th annual worldwide effort, to document the incredible biodiversity of our planet.

The City Nature Challenge (CNC) is an international cooperative science project with over 400 cities worldwide committed to exploring and recording various plants, animals, fungi and even microorganisms in their area using the free iNaturalist app. From Friday, April 28 to Monday, May 1, participants can make observations with the app, with identifications happening from Tuesday, May 2 to Sunday, May 7. Final results will be announced on Monday, May 8.

“Nature is in our backyards, not only out in the woods or at the beach,” said CNC Boston Coordinator and naturalist Rob Stevenson. “Everything from dandelions to robins and crab-apple trees have important roles in local ecosystems.”

This year’s event builds on previous years’ global collaboration with more than 50,000 people around the world estimated to participate. All contributions, large or small are helpful. The goal is to surpass the 1,593,366 observations that were contributed last year. For the Boston Area to make its contribution, we need to surpass our local observations of 21,827 from last year.

The Boston Area CNC is open to anyone who would like to participate, and is an opportunity for the community to collaborate with one another, scientists, and conservation organizations through observations recorded right in their own backyards and towns – all with just a few simple taps on their smartphone. All of the species recorded in the Boston Area CNC will help create a more accurate picture of the variety of wildlife in greater Boston, focusing within the I-495 corridor and out to Stellwagen Bank. Any observation in the greater Boston area made between April 28 and May 1 will count for the challenge. Whether an observer has five minutes or several hours to spare, every bit makes a difference.

“It’s fun to look carefully and to discover new species in our own neighborhoods. Anyone can do that, and we encourage people to join us in the City Nature Challenge as one way to get started,” said John Anderson, Zoo New England’s Director of Education.

The Boston Area CNC is being organized by a steering committee comprised of Brandeis University, Bridgewater State University, Discovery Museum, Earthwise Aware, MassBays National Estuary Partnership, Mass Audubon, National Park Service, Suffolk University, University of Massachusetts Boston, and Zoo New England.

In addition to the steering committee, there are numerous partner organizations in the Boston area. To get involved and learn more about this collaborative effort, visit