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A spicebush swallowtail butterfly nectars from a yellow flower

City Nature Challenge – April 26-29, 2024

Memphis needs you to help document our biodiversity! City Nature Challenge is a friendly international competition to see which cities can document the most wildlife in a single weekend. This year, you can help us put Memphis on the map. Join Overton Park Conservancy, Memphis Botanic Garden, T.O. Fuller State Park, University of Memphis – Meeman Biological Station, Memphis River Parks Partnership, and Wolf River Conservancy for a weekend of fun nature-focused events, or use iNaturalist to record wildlife observations on your own!

How it works:

Using the community scientist platform iNaturalist on either your phone or a computer, you’ll upload photos of any wildlife you see: plants, mushrooms, insects, and beyond. We’ve set up an iNaturalist project page that will capture all observations made in Shelby County between April 26-29. Be sure to join the project if you’d like to follow our progress in real time, but you don’t have to join for your observations to count. They’ll be automatically captured!

Then, between April 30 and May 5, a team of local naturalists will work to identify all these organisms, so we can see how rich our biodiversity is as a city. Note: you don’t need to know what you’re observing to share your observations–iNaturalist will make suggestions based on your photos, and the community will do the rest.

The results of the challenge will be announced on May 6, and we’ll see how Memphis ranked!

How to participate:

Start by downloading the free iNaturalist app from your app store, or bookmark if you prefer to use a computer. Any observations you submit between April 26 and 29 will count toward the challenge. Not sure how to use iNaturalist? Check out this Getting Started guide.

Our local partners have set up lots of ways for you to participate as part of a community! Check out the list of events below.

Friday, April 26

iNaturalist Training at Memphis Botanic Garden, 9:00 AM – noon (drop in at the top of the hour at 9, 10, 11, or 12)
Join MBG staff as they walk you through how to use iNaturalist to take photos, upload your observations, and submit them for identification. More details here.

Birds and Bugs at Shelby Farms Park, 4:00 – 5:30 PM
Join Overton Park Conservancy staff for a slow walk near the Shelby Farms Community Gardens to look for migratory birds and interesting insects. Meet on the gravel road that crosses Gardener Road west of Shelby Farms Park. This event is free with registration; sign up here. (Google Maps pin)

Saturday, April 27

Nature 101 Walks at Overton Park, 9:00 AM – noon
Overton Park Conservancy’s naturalist-led group walks will introduce you to birds, insects, fungi, plants, and mammals, and this month we’ll focus on recording what we see. Register here for one of the seven walks offered.

BioBlitz at Memphis Botanic Garden, 12:00 – 4:00 PM
Help MBG document plants and animals in their native Woodlands, participate in children’s activities to learn about native wildlife, and join native plant curator and horticulturist Anne Ballentine in the Pollinator Garden from 12-12:30 and 1-1:30 pm to discover what’s popping up in the garden! More details here.

Moth Party at T.O. Fuller State Park Interpretive Center, 8:00 – 9:30 PM
The T.O. Fuller rangers are breaking out the moth lights so we can add some after-dark critters to our challenge! This event is free with registration; sign up here. (Google Maps pin)

Sunday, April 28

BioBlitz and Nature Walk at Wolf River Greenway – Epping Way, hourly at 9:00 and 10:00 AM
Join the Wolf River Conservancy team at Epping Way to see what species call the river and lake area home. (Google Maps pin)

Cicadas, Butterflies, and Flowers at T.O. Fuller Wildlife Habitat Area, 12:00 – 3:00 PM
The focus is on insects and plants at this walk that launches from T.O. Fuller State Park’s Interpretive Center. (Google Maps pin)

Monday, April 29

Nature Walk with Harry Babb at the River Garden, 12:00 – 1:00 PM
Join native landscaper Harry Babb on a free guided nature walk to learn more about the flora and fauna at the riverfront. Meet at Fourth Cup (green container with Memphis River Parks logo) and enjoy a serene stroll around the park. (Google Maps pin)


Questions? Check out the FAQs in English and Spanish!

City Nature Challenge is organized by the Community Science Teams at the California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. 


City Nature Challenge local partner logos