FAQs

What is the City Nature Challenge?
The City Nature Challenge began as a nature-observation competition between the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County in 2016. Since then, the competition has expanded to nearly 70 cities worldwide! Participants use the iNaturalist app to photograph, catalogue, identify, and organize observations of wildlife in their area!

I love competition! How do we win?
The Challenge tracks multiple categories: total number of observations, total number of species identified, and total number of people participating on iNaturalist. For an example, see the 2018 Leaderboard. This year’s Challenge may also include new categories such as: number of new iNaturalist users, number of Research Grade observations, and relative increase in that region’s historical number of observations.

What areas are included in the Sacramento Region?
The following counties are included in our region. ANY observations posted to iNaturalist in these regions during the Challenge weekend (April 26-29th) will be counted towards our totals.

  • Yolo County
  • Sacramento County
  • Sutter County
  • Placer County
  • Nevada County
  • San Joaquin County
  • El Dorado County
  • Yuba County
  • Amador County

Wow, that is a really large area. Why is the Sacramento Region so big?
For several reasons. Projects like this are easiest to organize around political boundaries (for reasons related to data tracking and so people know if they are inside or outside the project boundaries). We wanted to include all of the Sacramento urban area and the shape of some of the eastern counties (example: Placer, El Dorado) commit us to rather large areas outside of urban Sacramento. We are actually excited about that fact because it gives us a wide variety of urban and natural ecosystems in which to work, and gives us a better chance at competing with some of the other large metro areas (*ahem* Bay Area *ahem*).

I am interested in volunteering at one of the Sacramento City Nature Challenge events. How do I get involved?
We have many exciting events scheduled and are definitely in the market for volunteers! For more details, fill out the form on our Get Involved! page, or send an email to sacramentocnc@gmail.com

I represent an organization that is interested in supporting the Sacramento City Nature Challenge events. How do I get involved?
We would love to work with you to organize an event, or support the Challenge in other ways! For more details, fill out the form on our Get Involved! page, or send an email to sacramentocnc@gmail.com

How do I use iNaturalist?
Download the iNaturalist app from the App Store or Google Play or go to iNaturalist.org and create a free account. Then you take pictures of wildlife, or evidence of wildlife – plants, animals, fungi, scat, tracks, shells, etc – and upload them to the iNaturalist app, which records your location and helps you identify the organism you photographed. Detailed directions for using iNaturalist can be found here. Also, check our calendar of events for iNaturalist training events in your area. Note that iNaturalist tracks wildlife – you should not include pictures of captive animals (pets, animals in zoos, etc) or cultivated plants (houseplants, gardens, landscaping, etc).

What if I don’t know what kind of plant or animal I photographed?
No problem! There are several ways to get help with identifying the wildlife you find. First, the iNaturalist app will suggest possible identifications when you upload a photo. You can click through more information about their suggestions to decide if that is what you found. After you upload an observation, other iNaturalist users can also suggest IDs or confirm your choice. Also, in the week following the Challenge (April 30-May 5), we will hold ID parties, which are public events where local wildlife experts can help you identify the wildlife you found during the Challenge. Check out our calendar of events for ID parties in your area. Note that you can upload an observation to iNaturalist with or without an identification and add or edit the ID later. For example, you can ID your observation simply as ‘spider’ or ‘butterfly’ and get help from the iNaturalist community or experts at an ID party and update your observation later with a more detailed identification.

I can’t go to any of the scheduled bioblitzes or other events – can I still participate in the Challenge?
Absolutely! The hosted events are just one option for getting involved! Any observations posted to iNaturalist in the Sacramento Region during the City Nature Challenge window (April 26th-29th) will count towards our totals.

I’ll be out of town that weekend – can I still participate in the Challenge wherever I am?
Yes, though your observations count towards the region in which you make them, so your observations will support another region and not count towards the Sacramento Region totals. That’s ok, though – we would love for you to get outside and make observations wherever you are! Check the City Nature Challenge website for a full list of participating regions.