- Author: Sarah Angulo
The City Nature Challenge encourages people to explore their urban nature, connect with local advocacy organizations and other iNaturalist users, and learn how to participate in community biodiversity science. From its first competition between the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County in 2016, it quickly has grown to include more than 350 cities around the world. The search for nature over a period of 4 days each spring inspires over 50,000 people to tune in to the nature in their backyards thousands of miles apart.
Within California, a global biodiversity hotspot, we encourage certified naturalists and stewards to use the iNaturalist skills gained in the program to safely participate. Using our growing UC California Naturalist Certified Naturalists project, which certified naturalists can join, we are able to better track the contributions of individual naturalists. Once a certified naturalists joins the project, observations made in California over all time are counted (email Sarah Angulo, firstname.lastname@example.org with questions). An amazing 10,500+ species have been documented by certified naturalists who have so far joined the project, who make up just a fraction of the 4,000 certified to date. Naturalists are making a huge contribution to science through these observations.
California had 7 cities participate in the City Nature Challenge 2021: 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 7 cities. Of these 93,000+ observations made in the state, California Naturalists in the top 20 observers for each city contributed 12%! Within the top 20 users,
Los Angeles County: Laura Schare (Catalina Island Conservancy) #1, Amy Jaecker-Jones (Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum) #8, Kat Halsey (Pasadena City College) #11, and Ron Matsumoto (Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum) #17 made 9% of their city's total observations.
Sacramento Region: Lauren Glevanik (UC Davis) #2, Cliff Hawley (Effie Yeaw Nature Center) #3, Hailey Adler (UC Davis) #4, Mary Hanson (Tuleyome) #5, Laci Gerhart (UC Davis) #6, Sarah Angulo (Sierra Streams Institute/UCANR) #8, Roxanne Moger (Tuleyome) #12, Charlie Russell (Tuleyome) #15, Linda Estes (Effie Yeaw Nature Center) #17, and Sabine Angulo (American River Conservancy) #21 made 35% of their city's observations.
Inland Empire: Colin Barrows (UC Riverside Palm Desert) #1, Joye Cantrell (UCR Palm Desert) #5, Susan Forgrave (UCR Palm Desert) #6, Sendy Hernandez Orellana (UCR Palm Desert) #7, Elizabeth Ogren Erickson (UCR Palm Desert) #12 made 24% of their city's observations.
Mendocino County: Asa Spade (Hopland REC) #1, Brook Gamble (UCANR) #2, Shane Hanofee (Sierra Streams Institute) #3, Lori Dudzik (Hopland REC) #4, and Hannah Bird (Hopland REC) #14 made 42% of their city's observations.
The impact of our naturalists is even greater than just the few who are in the top 20 observers for their city. Even for naturalists who contributed one observation or identification this year, every documentation of our state's unique biodiversity is important. Thank you for each one of you who took a moment to contribute this year, especially given the difficulties we each face.