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Museum Calls On San Diegans to Record Nature Observations As Part of Global Competition

March 27, 2018

The Nat hosts local effort to win the third annual City Nature Challenge—a competition among more than 60 participating cities around the globe to document wildlife

SAN DIEGO, CA—With the concept of participatory science gaining traction globally, the San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat) is spearheading a local effort to encourage San Diegans to opt outside and partake in the 2018 City Nature Challenge. The event is a multi-city competition to see which city can record the most observations of their local flora and fauna over a 4-day period.

City Nature Challenge: San Diego, which begins Friday, April, 27 at 12 AM PT and ends Monday, April 30 at 11:59 PM PT, calls upon fans of nature and science, and people of all ages and science backgrounds, to observe and submit pictures of plants, animals, and fungi using the free iNaturalist app.

“Southern California is one of only 35 global biodiversity hotspots, areas that host highly diverse flora and fauna, and San Diego County is an extremely diverse part of it,” said Lauren Marino Perez, citizen science manager at the San Diego Natural History Museum. “Our hope is that by hosting City Nature Challenge for San Diego, we can not only show the world that we are a leader in biodiversity, but also that we also have the most nature-loving and environmentally-conscious residents, and that we’re proud of the abundance and diversity of life that exists in this region.”

Tallied results will be announced one week later on Friday, May 4 by organizing institutions, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences.

Residents can participate on their own or get involved in one of the many events or programs offered by The Nat and partner organizations throughout the 4-day competition.

  • Balboa Park BioBlitz| The Nat | Friday, April 27, 2 PM to Saturday, April 28, 2 PM (24 hours)
    • iNaturalist Trainings and Scientist Interactions | The Nat | Saturday, April 28, 11 AM-3 PM 

Leading up to the City Nature Challenge, there are several opportunities for people to learn more about how to use the iNaturalist app to make observations. The San Diego Public Library will host iNaturalist Trainings throughout the month of April (schedule below), and Mission Trails Regional Park will host one on Saturday, April 7 at 10 AM.

Additionally, The Nat will be hosting programs all month long to get people excited about contributing to science (note: Citizen Science Day falls on April 14).

Nature & Me Storytime: Earth Day | Thursday, April 12, 10:15 AM

Come enjoy an imaginative journey into nature through dynamic readings about the environment. Storytime is held every second Thursday of the month. Open to all ages with a parent (recommended for ages 1-5 with an adult). Included with paid admission and free for members.

Citizen Science Family Day | Saturday, April 14, 11 AM-3 PM

Become a citizen scientist and uncover nature’s wonders as we investigate the worlds of paleontology, herpetology, entomology, ornithology, mammalogy, and botany. Participate in activities and crafts that celebrate our natural world. Included with paid admission and free for members.

Nat Talk: Nature and You: Crowdsourced Science | Tuesday, April 17, 7 PM

Our scientists study the distribution of plants and animals throughout Southern California and the Baja California Peninsula. Thanks to modern technology, citizen scientists can now help fill gaps in their knowledge. Ticketed event, discounts available for members.

For more information, please visit or access our online press kit.

About the San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat)
The San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat) is the second oldest scientific institution in California and the third oldest west of the Mississippi. Founded in 1874 by a small group of citizen scientists, the Museum’s mission is to interpret the natural world through research, education, and exhibits; to promote understanding of the evolution and diversity of Southern California and the peninsula of Baja California, Mexico; and to inspire in all a respect for nature and the environment. The Museum is located at 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 in Balboa Park and is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. For more information, call 877.946.7797 or visit To stay up to date on Museum news, follow The Nat on Instagram and Twitter and join the discussion on Facebook


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