California Naturalists contribute to science during the 2020 City Nature Challenge

May 26, 2020
Considering our losses in the past few months, we really needed a win. And the win came from a somewhat unexpected place: nature. This spring, certified UC California Naturalists teamed up with fellow nature enthusiasts in their California neighborhoods to participate in the global City Nature Challenge. The event is a collaborative effort to collect observations of nature through photos and sound for the iNaturalist app and global biodiversity databases.
Within California, abiodiversityhotspot, we encouraged certified naturalists to participate safely this year by observing nature in and around their immediate home. Despite a global pandemic, thousands more people across the world participated compared to last year, and more species were documented: a huge win for science, nature and people.

Participation expanded to seven cities in California in the City Nature Challenge 2020: the Bay Area, Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Sacramento Region, Orange County, Inland Empire and Mendocino County. Certified California Naturalists contributed to the over 93,000 total observations made in the seven cities. Of these 93,000 observations made in the state, California Naturalists in the top 20 observers for each city contributed 10% of the total observations.

The impact of California Naturalists is greater than the individuals on their cities' respective leader boards. Even naturalists who contributed just one observation or identification this year helped document our state's unique biodiversity.

The California Naturalist leaderboard:

San Francisco Bay Area: Emily Gottlieb (PRNSA) #1, and Merav Vonshak (Grassroots Ecology) #4 made 3% of their city's total observations.

Los Angeles County: Ron Matsumoto (Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum) #4, Kat Halsey (Pasadena City College) #5, Kim Moore (USC Sea Grant) #8, Laura Schare (Catalina Island Conservancy) #11, Amy Jaecker-Jones (Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum) #13, Diego Tamayo (Riverside-Corona RCD) #16, and Brynna Campbell (Pasadena City College) #19 made 11% of their city's observations.

San Diego County: Alex Bairstow (Preserve Calavera) #5, Millie Basden (Preserve Calavera) #8, and Susan Heller (Preserve Calavera) #15 made 6% of their city's observations.

Sacramento Region: Lauren Glevanik (UC Davis) #2, Hailey Adler (UC Davis) #3, Laci Gerhart (UC Davis) #4, Mary Hanson (Tuleyome) #5, Roxanne Moger (Tuleyome) #6, Cliff Hawley (Effie Yeaw Nature Center) #9, Sarah Angulo (Sierra Streams Institute/UCANR) #10, Charlie Russell (Tuleyome) #11, Ingrid van Dijk (Effie Yeaw Nature Center) #16, and Shane Hanofee (Sierra Streams Institute) #17 made 27% of their city's observations.

Orange County: Devon Bradley (Sagehen Creek Field Station) #16 made 1% of their city's observations.

Inland Empire: Colin Barrows (UC Riverside Palm Desert) #1, Sendy Hernandez Orellana (UCR Palm Desert) #4, Elizabeth Ogren Erickson (UCR Palm Desert) #6, Scott Cummings (UCR Palm Desert) #10, Susan Shigenaga (UCR Palm Desert) #13, Kristin Cummings (UCR Palm Desert)#14, Carol Blaney (Riverside Metropolitan Museum) #16, and Spider Fawke (UCR Palm Desert) #18 made 24% of their city's observations.

Mendocino County: Asa Spade (Hopland REC) #1, Brook Gamble (UCANR) #4, Steven Prochter (Hopland REC) #6, Hannah Bird (Hopland REC) #10, Andrea Davis (Hopland REC) #11, Brianne Nelson (Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods) #15, Dave Barry (Pepperwood Preserve) #16, and Maureen Taylor (Hopland REC) #19 made 31% of their city's observations.

Learn more about the UC California Naturalist certification program and take a course near you:
See more photos taken by California Naturalists:

By Sarah Angulo
Author - Community Education Specialist 2 (Central & Sierra)
By Brook Gamble
Editor - Community Education Specialist 3 (NorCal)