City Nature Challenge Returns for 2021

Over the last year we’ve had the chance to explore our local areas like never before and now the people of Bristol and Bath are being asked to share what they have discovered in the annual City Nature Challenge.

The Challenge is a global event in which people are invited to take pictures of wildlife in their local communities to help scientists and conservationists build up a picture of the nature that is flourishing in urban areas.

It’s free to take part and open to everyone, whether you are an expert, a seasoned City Nature Challenge participant or getting involved for the first time.

All you have to do to join in is download the iNaturalist app, take a photograph of nature in your local area, whether that’s a tree, plant or insect or animal, and upload.

You don’t even need to know the name of what you are photographing as the app will guide you through some simple questions.  A network of experts will review and update the information so you can log back in later and learn more about what has been spotted in your local area.

This year 400 cities will be taking part in the four-day challenge, all competing to see which can record the most observations of urban wildlife.

Last year individuals and groups in Bristol and Bath made more than 8,897 observations during the Challenge including a young grey seal that took advantage of the quiet of lockdown to explore upriver as far as Netham Park, and exotic looking Wall Lizards in the Avon Gorge.

The information collected on iNaturalist is available to individuals, organisations and businesses across the world and used for a huge variety of purposes including supporting conversation projects, tracking how nature impacts on the health of communities and finding out how new developments are affecting the natural world.

Matt Postles, Deputy Chief Executive of The Natural History Consortium, which is organising the event in Bristol and Bath said: “The brilliant thing about the City Nature Challenge is that you can take part anywhere, whether it’s your local park, favourite green space, in your garden or on your balcony.

“And it’s something that everyone can get involved in – you don’t have to be an expert, just be out and about over the four days of the Challenge sharing what you see.  It’s an opportunity to contribute to a really important global study, as well as helping to support work taking place locally.  The more we know the more we can to do support the natural world and make sure it thrives and survives alongside urban development.

“Although there is an element of competition in the Challenge, with each city keen to win the accolade of recording the most observations, it’s also about collaboration, with everyone working together for a common aim – to map as much of the natural world as possible. We’re hoping to have a record number of people take part this year – sharing all they have learned about their local areas over the past year.”

To find out more about getting involved: