City Nature Challenge

City Nature Challenge

City Nature Challenge 2020

April 24 - 27, 2020

Join Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium as we unite forces across Omaha to identify and count plants and animals that live among us. This is our chance to get to know the plants, animals and fungi that are in our backyards, our parks, and our neighborhoods to better understand how our lives affect the ecology around us. 

For the past three years, Omahans have cataloged the wildlife in our city in April during the event called City Nature Challenge. The City Nature Challenge is an annual, global, community science competition to document urban biodiversity. The challenge is a BioBlitz that engages residents and visitors to find and document plants, animals, and other organisms living in urban areas (Wikipedia). Last year over 160 cities from all over the world counted species over the four-day event with Cape Town, South Africa taking home top honors for most biodiversity. 

This year we are doing things a little different. COVID-19 has provided us with a new CHALLENGE - staying safe and healthy! So, we've banded together with other cities across the world and this year we are no longer competing but teaming up to "embrace the healing power of nature and encourage the collaborative aspect of the CNC. This will allow people to safely document biodiversity in whatever way they can, even from the safety of their own homes if necessary." We encourage all of you to follow Nebraska public health guidelines provided by our local government health officials, as they are changing in real-time. Individual safety and public health are our utmost priority.  

You can still make a difference by signing up on iNaturalist and helping to document Omaha Metro diversity on April 24, 25, 26 and 27. Sign up today and we will be sending out regular journal posts to remind you of our exciting event as well as activities and what our Special Partners, throughout the Metro, are doing to help spread this fun and exciting experience. 

iNaturalist Sign-Up


City Nature Challenge 2020:Omaha Metro Partners






Participating is easy! All you have to do...

Find Wildlife

It can be any plant, animal, fungi, slime mold or other evidence of life, such as scat, fur, tracks, shells and carcasses, found in your participating city.

*Zoo animals are included but must be marked as "Cultivated".

*Pets and potted plants can be included but must be marked as "Cultivated". 

*Recently planted flowers or trees can be included but must be marked as "Cultivated". 

*Flowers or Trees that have rebloomed or grown during their second season are considered "Wild". 


Take a Picture of What You Find

Be sure to note the location of the plant or critter.

Share Your Observations

By uploading your findings through iNaturalist or your city's chosen platform.

Download the free iNaturalist app on Apple's App Store or Google Play for Android.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the City Nature Challenge?

Invented by citizen science staff at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and California Academy of Sciences. The City Nature Challenge is an international effort for people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. It’s a bioblitz-style competition where cities are in a contest against each other to see who can make the most observations of nature, who can find the most species, and who can engage the most people.

How it got started?

Started in 2016 for the first-ever Citizen Science Day, the citizen science teams at NHMLA and CAS dreamed up the City Nature Challenge as a fun way to capitalize on their home cities’ friendly rivalry and hold a citizen science event around urban biodiversity. The first City Nature Challenge was an eight-day competition between Los Angeles and San Francisco, engaging residents and visitors in documenting nature to better understand urban biodiversity. Over 20,000 observations were made by more than 1000 people in a one-week period, cataloging approximately 1600 species in each location, including new records for both areas. During the 2016 CNC, we heard so much excitement and interest from people in other cities that we decided we couldn’t keep to the fun just to ourselves. In 2017 the City Nature Challenge went national, and in 2018, the CNC becamne an international event!

Why participate in the City Nature Challenge?

There is nature all around us, even in our cities! Knowing what species are in our city and where they are helps us study and protect them, but the ONLY way to do that is by all of us - scientists, land managers, and the community - working together to find and document the nature in our area. By participating in the City Nature Challenge, not only do you learn more about your local nature, but you can also make your city a better place - for you and other species!

Who can participate in the challenge?

Anyone and everyone can participate! The Omaha-Metro Area is participating and will be using the iNaturalist app, free to download on Apple's App Store and Google Play for Android, to track and record its findings.

To see if a city is participating near you, visit

Where can I spot wildlife in the Omaha-Metro?

Anywhere nature can be found. In your backyard, a park, on your walk to school or work or even at your favorite attraction, such as the Zoo. 

Please note: Zoo animals can be included but must be marked as "Cultivated" in the observations. This will be the case when visiting other attractions and wildlife organizations. Plants and animals that are part of an exhibit are "Cultivated". 

What other cities are participating?

More than 160 cities worldwide will be competing to see who can make the most observations of nature, find the most species and engage the most people.


Click for a Complete List of Cities Participating

Can we search for plants and animals on Zoo grounds?

Absolutely! Zoo animals are included and should be marked as "Cultivated". Wildlife located on Zoo grounds is fair game.

Please also note: While the citywide event is free, an Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium membership or paid Zoo admission is required to enter grounds.  However, this year the Zoo will be closed due to Covid-19.  Please plan on joining us next year for CNC 2021: Omaha Metro. 

For this year we want you to do a community event and document what is in your neighborhood, your backyard, your streetcorner.  Let's really find out what Omaha is all about!

What species can I spot on or around Zoo grounds?

Many! See below for a list of species you might find.

Please note: Zoo animals are excluded from the challenge and do not count as observations. This will be the case when visiting other attractions and wildlife organizations. Plants and animals that are part of an exhibit are excluded and do not count as observations


  • American toad
  • Painted turtle
  • Plains leopard frog
  • Cope's gray tree frog
  • Woodhouse toad


  • Roly poly
  • Earthworms
  • Ants
  • Mosquitos
  • Box elder bugs
  • Ticks
  • Caddisfly
  • Lady bird beetle
  • Click beetle
  • Lacewing
  • Eastern velvet ant (cow killer)


  • Burr oak
  • Sycamores
  • Kentucky coffee trees
  • Eastern redbuds


  • Cardinal
  • American robin
  • Mallard
  • Canada goose
  • Belted kingfisher
  • Starling
  • Sparrow
  • Mourning dove
  • Green heron
  • Wood duck
  • Cooper's hawk
  • Chickadee
  • Blue jay
  • Crow
  • Carolina wren
  • House wren
  • Hairy woodpecker
  • Downy woodpecker
  • Red-fronted woodpecker
  • Rarely pilated woodpecker
  • Ruby-throated hummingbird
  • Harris sparrow
  • Chipping sparrow
  • Indigo bunting
  • Goldfinch
  • Bald eagle
  • Turkey vulture
  • Red-tailed hawk
  • Common yellow throat
  • Yellow-rumpled warbler
  • Tennessee warbler
  • Wild turkey
  • Red wing blackbird
  • Catbird
  • Grackle
  • Baltimore oriole
  • Rose-breasted grosbeak
  • Scarlet tanager




What is iNaturalist?

One of the world's most popular nature apps, iNaturalist helps you identify the plants and animals around you. Get connected with a community of over 400,000 scientists and naturalists who can help you learn more about nature! What's more, by recording and sharing your observations, you'll create research quality data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature.

How to Create Your Own Account?

  • Visit
  • Download the app from the AppStore or Google Play
  • Sign in
  • Start sharing your observations
  • Get feedback from actual scientists, experts, and other naturalists

For Organizations

Free Resources

Educator's Toolkit

Welcome Omaha-Metro Educators! The City Nature Challenge is a great way to explore life science concepts, apply science skills in the field and connect students with a global community of biodiversity observers. Here, you can access the international education toolkit and find free local resources to prepare your students to participate in the City Nature Challenge for the Omaha-Metro Area.

Access Toolkit

Looking to Host Your Own Event in the Omaha-Metro Area?
Here are some free materials for you to use to promote your efforts.

City Nature Challenge 2020 Flyer

City Nature Challenge 2020 Post Card

iNaturalist Logo

iNaturalist short Logo