City Nature Challenge

City Nature Challenge

2019 City Nature Challenge

We have dates for the 2019 City Nature Challenge:  April 26 - 29, 2019.  

Join the Omaha-Metro Area in competing against more than 60 cities across the globe for the title of "the world's most biodiverse city" during this unique experience.

As a community, we will explore the great outdoors in search of as many plant and animal species as we can spot and using mobile devices, record our findings.

Learn how your organization can be a part of this important community event.  An informational meeting will take place on January 19, 2019 at the Zoo's Robert B. Daugherty Education Center (3701 South 10th Street, Omaha, NE  68107).  Join us to learn more about iNaturalist and about some of the great events that were held last year and brainstorm new ideas for this year.  

Click here to Sign up to Attend



2018 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 excluded from the challenge and do not count as observations.

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.

Sign-Up for an Email Reminder

Sign up now for email reminders before, after, and everywhere in-between! To help remind ourselves about the upcoming challenge, we have started an email list of participants, students, families, individuals, schools, businesses, etc. We will start emailing reminders on Wednesday, 4/25/18, with daily reminders after that to excite and encourage your participation. One final email will be sent out in May to let you know how we did. We can’t do this without you, so please sign-up today!

Send me reminders!

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 is now 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 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.

What other cities are participating?

More than 60 cities worldwide will be competing to see who can make the most observations of nature, find the most species and engage the most people.

Can we search for plants and animals on Zoo grounds?

Absolutely! However, Zoo animals are excluded from the challenge and do not count as observations. Everything else 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.

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



Participant Toolkit

Whether you're a participant looking to go about the city in search of wildlife or are an organization wanting to host a City Nature Challenge-based event or simply encourage the community to visit your location in search of unique species, here are some helpful resources to get you started.

If you have any questions or are an organization interested in hosting a City Nature Challenge-based event, please contact Pamela Eby in the Education Department at (402) 738-2049 or The Zoo can help promote your City Nature Challenge event by adding it to this webpage.

About iNaturalist

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

City Nature Challenge Grants

2018 USFS BioBlitz Grant  - The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), with major funding support from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), is offering a little over $17,000 through mini-grants to facilitate BioBlitz activities. Awarded grantees will be expected to facilitate the development of educational and conservation activities on local Forest Service lands, other partner public lands, local and municipal public lands or on lands within urban communities.

Learn More

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 2018 Flyer

City Nature Challenge 2018 Post Card

iNaturalist Logo

iNaturalist short Logo

City Nature Challenge 2018 Logo