Exciting News!

The 2021 City Nature Challenge in Philly is here!

by Melissa Romero on April 27, 2021

Calling all nature lovers: The 6th annual City Nature Challenge kicks off from April 30-May 3!

This global event calls on citizen scientists of all ages and education backgrounds to observe and submit pictures of wild plants, animals, and fungi using the free mobile app iNaturalist.

This year, we encourage you to explore all of the wildlife and beautiful habitats that Fairmount Park has to offer and contribute to our 2021 Project Page.

Read on for more information on how you can participate and contribute to the City Nature Challenge.

What is the City Nature Challenge?

The City Nature Challenge is an international effort for people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. Cities compete with 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.

Why should I participate? 

There is nature all around us, even in Philly! Knowing what species are in our city and where they are helps us study and protect them and the only way to do that is by all of us – scientists, land managers, and the community – working together to find and document nature in Philly. 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!

PLUS: The person who makes the most total observations during the challenge wins an annual membership to the Conservancy at the $100 level!

I’m in! How do I participate?

For both budding and veteran citizen scientists, participating is easy: 

  1. Download the iNaturalist app onto your smartphone.
  2. Find any wild thing. It can be any wild plant, animal, fungi, or any other evidence of life ( fur, tracks, shells, scat, etc.) found in Philly – including your own backyard!
  3. Take pictures or video of what you find using the iNaturalist app.
  4. Learn more as your observations get identified.*
  5. Contribute to Fairmount Park Conservancy’s Project Page.

*And please note – all you have to do is snap a photo – a professional will help you identify your observation through the app! 

Where can I find wildlife in Fairmount Park?

There are so many spots to document wildlife in the city’s largest park. Our top 4 recommendations include: 

  1. Lansdowne Glen: This is a short and sweet trail that loops around the Lansdowne Creek on the grounds of the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center in West Fairmount Park. Featuring slightly rolling hills, you’ll meander through the recently restored forest and likely spot a variety of birds and other wildlife along the way. The iconic Pavilion in the Trees treehouse makes for a great birding spot.
  2. Trolley Trail: The 4.5-mile Trolley Trail travels the route of the former Fairmount Park Trolley line that operated through Fairmount Park from 1896 to 1946. As you make your way along the trail, you’ll encounter plenty of plants, trees, and animals.
  3. Concourse Lake: Concourse Lake in West Fairmount Park is a 14-acre Philadelphia Native Plant Park that features 142 native trees of 24 various species and 503 shrubs of 24 different species. It is a top birding spot in the park!
  4. Boxers’ Trail: The Boxers’ Trail is a 3.8-mile trail with wooded and paved paths that winds through East Fairmount Park, along Randolph Creek. You’re bound to see lots of birds along the way!

Consult our Fairmount Park Digital Guide for trail maps and more information on these locations. 

For more information, please visit Philly’s official City Nature Challenge website. And be sure to follow along on social media: 

Instagram: @CityNaturePhilly
Twitter: @PhillyCNC
Facebook: @PhillyCNC