City Nature Challenge - St. Louis

Join with others in the St. Louis Region by participating in the annual City Nature Challenge. The 2020 Challenge dates have not yet been announced.

Calling all nature enthusiasts, citizen scientists and ecology experts:

In the Spring of 2020, please plan to join the City of St. Louis and others in the St. Louis Metropolitan Region in the 2020 City Nature Challenge.

The St. Louis Region had a very strong showing in both the 2018 and 2019 City Nature Challenge. The competition is open to cities around the world -- each striving to observe as many species of wild plants, birds and animals as possible during the City Nature Challenge period. 

In addition to being a lot of fun and a wonderful educational opportunity, the City of St. Louis uses the City Nature Challenge as a way to help build the City’s Urban Biodiversity Inventory through citizen science observations (see below for information about how to use the free iNaturalist app in this regard). 

Walking by a Lake

Observe & Track Species with the iNaturalist App 

City Nature Challenge Resources

  • The City of St. Louis and its partners at the Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri Department of Conservation and Saint Louis Zoo have developed Springtime FIELD ID Reference Photos to help people know what species of flora and fauna tend to be active in St. Louis habitats. 
  • Additional information and details are included in a City Nature Challenge-St. Louis Participant Guide, developed by the Missouri Botanical Garden.
  • The Garden has also developed two educational resources for the City Nature Challenge-St. Louis: an Educator Guide to support classroom citizen science efforts and a Scout Leader Guide to support informal educational programs.

How to Participate During the Challenge

Eagle on a perchThe City Nature Challenge-St. Louis regional team encourages people to make observations at a time and location that is most convenient to you during the 4 day species observation period. A suggested first step is to download the free iNaturalist App at www.iNaturalist.org, as it is the easiest way to participate (check the Participant Guide for additional methods). 

Groups are encouraged to host free public events to support the City Nature Challenge or the species identification phase.

If you would like to look for species that have a strong chance of being observed during the City Nature Challenge period, considering using the FIELD ID sheets at home, work or in places like City Parks.

Above & Beyond: Building the City's Urban Biodiversity Inventory

If you are interested in noting the presence or absence of surrogate species (those species that are thought to be good indicators of high quality urban biodiversity), please contact Catherine Werner, Sustainability Director, at WernerC@StLouis-mo.gov for details and supporting software. 

  • Monitoring Locations: This map shows six urban biodiversity Monitoring Locations in the City of St. Louis.
  • Surrogate Species: The City of St. Louis has worked with ecology experts to develop an urban biodiversity Surrogate Species list for three key urban habitats: aquatic/wetland, prairie, and woodland/forest. Noting the presence (or absence) of surrogate species can be useful in assessing the quality of urban biodiversity areas.

2019 City Nature Challenge Events

Friday, April 26th: Saint Louis University welcomed those interested in joining a City Nature Challenge outing to search for pollinators and other species on campus.

Saturday, April 27th: Saint Louis Zoo Herpetarium invited visitors to learn about frogs and celebrate Save the Frog Day from 1:00-3:00 pm.

Saturday & Sunday, April 27th and 28th: Forest Park Forever offered short (20 minute) guided nature walks on both Saturday and Sunday, to coincide with the St. Louis Earth Day Festival. 

Monday, April 29th: Saint Louis University welcomed those interested in joining a City Nature Challenge morning outing. Meet at the SLU Clocktower at 10:00 am to search for pollinators and other species on campus.

Tuesday, April 30th: City Nature Challenge Species ID party at the Saint Louis Zoo Living World. 

Related City Nature Challenge Resources

St. Louis Region's City Nature Challenge Flyer

St. Louis Region's City Nature Challenge Leaderboard site

City of St. Louis Surrogate Species List

City of St. Louis Urban Biodiversity Monitoring Location Map

Top 10 Tips for Observing Wildlife in the St. Louis Region

City Nature Challenge Field ID Species Guides for St. Louis - Spring Species

STL City Nature Challenge - Educator Guide

STL City Nature Challenge - Participant Guide

STL City Nature Challenge - Scout Leader Guide

Global City Nature Challenge website

iNaturalist app and site

Past Events Materials

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