For the first time, the Memphis metro area will be participating in the global City Nature Challenge event! Started in 2016 as a competition between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the City Nature Challenge (CNC) has grown into an international event, motivating people around the world to find and document wildlife in and around their cities, using biodiversity recording apps and platforms like iNaturalist.
The CNC is an annual four-day global urban BioBlitz, where cities engage in a collaboration-meets-friendly-competition to see which city can gather the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people in the event. In 2021, over 400 cities participated, with more than 52,000 people making over 1.2 million observations of nature in the four days of the challenge. The 2022 City Nature Challenge (April 29 – May 2) is gearing up to be the biggest one yet!
The Memphis metro area encompasses Shelby, Fayette, and Tipton Counties in Tennessee; Crittenden County in Arkansas; and DeSoto, Marshall, Tate, and Tunica Counties in Mississippi.
How does it work?
To participate, you just need to take a few simple steps:
- Download the free iNaturalist app from your phone’s app store
- Take photos of wildlife–plants, insects, mushrooms, animals–anywhere within the Memphis metro area between Friday, April 29 and Monday, May 2
- Upload those photos into the iNaturalist app
- (If you prefer to use a non-phone camera, just log in on the iNaturalist website and submit your photos directly from your computer. Your login will be the same on the phone and desktop versions.)
- If you’d like to see how we’re doing in real-time, visit the Memphis City Nature Challenge page!
Need a hand?
Overton Park Conservancy will have some iNaturalist (and wildlife) experts available on Friday, April 29 from 2:00 – 4:00PM at the Old Forest entrance near Rainbow Lake Playground and Overton Bark. Drop in during that timeframe and we’ll give you a quick lesson on using the app to make quality observations.
iNaturalist also has tutorials for how to use the app on your operating system of choice. We encourage you to check those out, along with the City Nature Challenge FAQs, to get the most out of the event.
Important: you do not have to know the names of the wildlife you’re observing to be able to add them to the app! The app will make ID suggestions based on your location and your photos, but you can simply upload your observations and iNat’s friendly community will do their best to help identify them. But if you would like to learn more about common species in Overton Park and around town, we encourage you to check out our field guides.
Goals of the City Nature Challenge:
- Connect people in urban/metro areas to their local nature
- Connect people to each other: build community in person and online around local nature
- Collect urban biodiversity data available to use for science, management, and conservation
- Grow volunteer biodiversity documentation globally
- Have fun through some friendly competition and global collaboration!
We hope you’ll join us in helping put Memphis on the map as part of the 2022 City Nature Challenge!