Educators

Getting Started

The best part about the City Nature Challenge is that you can participate from anywhere, including school grounds! The City Nature Challenge utilizes the community to upload observations of wildlife in and around urban areas, so pictures of small bugs or the weeds that grow in the cracks of concrete are just as appreciated and valuable as any other observations. Students will have the unique opportunity to explore nature and learn about local biodiversity. As the observations uploaded onto the iNaturalist app can be used for scientific research, the City Nature Challenge also allows educators to introduce students to the importance of citizen science.

To help you get started, we have guides to using iNaturalist, a variety of engaging activities and additional links and resources. If you are located within or near the Sacramento area, we may even be able to provide you with a physical resource kit!

Using iNaturalist

What is iNaturalist?

iNaturalist is the platform used by the City Nature Challenge to track the progress of the event. iNaturalist users can upload photo or sound observations of wildlife, which can then be identified with the help of the iNaturalist community. You can create an account online, or install the app on Google Play or App Store. Visit the iNaturalist website to learn more.

iNaturalist with Students

For students 13 and older

  • Option 1 (Recommended): Have students install the iNaturalist app and create their own accounts. Create a Project in iNaturalist and invite your students to join the project. This will allow you to monitor your students’ activity and identify their observations. This option lets students see their observations get identified by the iNaturalist community and will give students the option to continue using iNaturalist after the City Nature Challenge. 
  • Option 2: Create a class iNaturalist account and have students login to the class account with their devices. iNaturalist does not have a limit on how many devices an account can be logged in on at the same time. We recommend this option as it allows you to monitor the photos being uploaded and help identify your students’ observations. 
  • Option 3: Have your students only take photos, and then upload their photos later on iNaturalist. We find that this method is less engaging as students are unable to work with the identification process of making observations. 

For students under the age of 13 (*Under iNaturalist policy, students under the age of 13 cannot create their own iNaturalist accounts.)

  • Option 1 (Recommended): Create a class iNaturalist account and have students login to the class account with their devices. iNaturalist does not have a limit on how many devices an account can be logged in on at the same time. We recommend this option as it allows you to monitor the photos being uploaded and help identify your students’ observations. 
  • Option 2: Have your students only take photos, and then upload their photos later on iNaturalist. We find that this method can be less engaging if the students are unable to work with the identification process of making observations.

Guides

Activities

Before the Bioblitz


During the Bioblitz


After the Bioblitz