City Nature Challenge 2018

City Nature Challenge 2018

April 27 – April 30, 2018

CONGRATS to the winner of the City Nature Challenge 2018…San Francisco Bay Area!

Worldwide nearly 70 cities participated in this year’s challenge, cataloging nearly half a million observations of over 18,000 taxa. San Francisco Bay Area led the pack with 41,795 observations of 3,211 taxa contributed by 1,532 people. View the leaderboard here.

In the Chicago Wilderness Region, we had:
*6,870 observations
*1,017 taxa (921 at species or below)
*353 observers
*256 identifiers
*16 public events, at least 2 private events

View all the Chicago Wilderness region observations and stats here:

Of our observations, 58% reached research grade, 34% still need identification, and 9% either didn’t have photos/audio or were captive/cultivated organisms (or something else made them casual grade). Over 64% of the species were plants (69% of observations) with birds following up at 13% of the species (15% of observations). The most observed species were all charismatic native woodland spring flora: mayapple, bloodroot, white troutlily, spring beauties, and bluebells.

Survey: If you participated in the City Nature Challenge 2018, please take this online survey:

CNC 2019: If you or your organization wants to take the reins for the CNC in the Chicago Wilderness region in 2019, please shoot a message to You can also sign up to get information from the international organizers for 2019 by providing an email address here.


Join the City Nature Challenge 2018: Chicago Wilderness Region! From April 27th through April 30th, 2018, over 60 urban regions worldwide will be competing to see who can make the most observations of nature, find the most species, and get the most people participating. Download the iNaturalist app and check out

How to Participate

1. Visit and download the iNaturalist app (App Store and Google Play)
2. Create an account and follow the City Nature Challenge 2018: Chicago Wilderness Region project
3. Between April 27th and April 30th, 2018, find and take pictures of wild plants, animals, fungi, slime molds, and other creatures. That includes the organisms themselves, living or dead, or any other evidence of life such as scat, fur, tracks, and shells! Our boundaries are defined by the “Chicago Wilderness region,” which includes most of northeastern Illinois and parts of northwest Indiana, southwest Michigan, and southeast Wisconsin (see map below).
4. Get feedback and identifications on your observations from actual scientists, experts, and other naturalists. No previous experience required.

Join an Event!

***all times below are local!***

DateEvent TitleAddressDescriptionMore Info
4/27/2018 - 4/30/2018On your own!Anywhere in the Chicago Wilderness RegionObserve nature anywhere in the Chicago Wilderness region on your own between 4/27 and 4/30 (96-hour period)! Just submit your observations with the iNaturalist app or website.Scroll up!
8AM to 10AM
Sand Ridge Nature Center Bird WalkIllinois, Cook County
15891 Paxton Ave, South Holland (map)
Great for migrating passerines as well as year-round woodland species like Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, and Barred Owl.Contact Andrew Aldrich with questions at 630-803-1590 (link)
8AM to 12PM
Lincoln Park Zoo Mini BioBlitzIllinois, Cook County
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N Clark St, Chicago (map)
Lincoln Park Zoo has more than just lions and lemurs. Come discover all of the wildlife the zoo has to offer in the first Lincoln Park Zoo BioBlitz! Participants will get to work with the Urban Wildlife Institute, Horticulture, and Learning teams to investigate and record the plants and animals throughout zoo grounds.RSVP on EventBrite
9AM to 12PM
City Nature Challenge at the Evanston Ecology CenterIllinois, Cook County
2024 McCormick Blvd, Evanston (map)
Drop-in nature walks through the Ladd Arboretum. Evanston Ecology Center staff will be available to help participants download and use the iNaturalist app and guide them to wildlife hotspots nearby.Evanston Ecology Center, 847-448-8256
10AM to 1PM
Bioblitz Warren WoodsMichigan, Berrien County
Warren Woods State Park (map)
Wander through Warren Woods shady beech-maple forests and find plants uncommon on the Illinois side, such as dwarf ginseng, long-spurred violet, and red elderberry.See or join the iNaturalist Project
10AM to 1 PM
City Nature Challenge Bioblitz at Somme WoodsIllinois, Cook County
Somme Woods, 1714 Dundee Rd, Northbrook (map)
Somme Woods in springtime! We will look for plants, fungi, creatures - and record them as part of the City Nature Challenge. Knowledgeable nature nerds, learners that know some local species, and beginners - all are welcome.Eriko Kojima,, 847-322-7420
10AM to 1 PM
Rainbow Beach Dunes BioblitzIllinois, Cook County, Rainbow Beach Dunes, Chicago (map, directions)Join friends, neighbors, and UChicago students for a dune bioblitz. Experts, novices, families,
10AM to 1PM
Outdoor Adventures: Following MigrationIllinois, Cook County Jurgenson Woods (map)Embrace your inner birder and help search for spring migrants. Learn why birds migrate, basic bird identification, and more. Enjoy bird hikes and bird themed games as well as artmaking projects. All ages welcome!Contact or 312-533-5729 (link)
7:30AM to 5PM
Columbus Park Bioblitz 2018Illinois, Cook County
Columbus Park, 5701 W Jackson Blvd, park near refectory
Join enthusiasts and experts on various "crews" to document nature at Columbus Park. Meet behind the Refectory at the appointed time:
7:30AM-9:00AM: Birds with the Gyllenhaal family
9:30AM-12:30PM: Plants, soil life, mushrooms, insects
1:00PM-3:00PM: Trees with Openlands Treekeepers
1:00PM-3:00PM: Aquatic life
Join the Columbus Park Bioblitz 2018 Project on iNaturalist and sign up for a bioblitz timeslot.
8AM to 1PM
Bioblitz of Sand Ridge and Burnham GreenwayIllinois, Cook County
15891 Paxton Ave, South Holland (map)
Meet at Sand Ridge Nature Center to join a bioblitz of Sand Ridge and Burnham Greenway sites.Edward Warden,
9AM to 12PM
Bioblitz Harms WoodsIllinois, Cook County
Harms Woods, meet in Glenview Woods parking lot (map)
Harms is one of the best spots for spring wildflower sightings in the region, as well as a great place to spot spring migratory birds, especially warblers.Join the iNaturalist Project; contact with questions
Spring Flora Hike at Camp Shaw-Waw-Nas-See (Morning)Illinois, Kankakee County
Camp Shaw, 6641N 6000W Road, Manteno (map)
Meet at pavillion near parking lot. Should be lots to see along Rock
City Nature Challenge Perry FarmIllinois, Kankakee County
Perry Farm Park, 459 N. Kennedy Drive, Bradley (map)
Meet by the exploration station. We should explore the prairie, the woods by the river and the dolomite cliffs. Log plants, birds, fungi, whatever you encounter!309-351-8813
1PM to 3PM
City Nature Challenge & Photo Scavenger Hunt at Gibson WoodsIndiana, Lake County
Gibson Woods, 6201 Parrish Ave, Hammond (map)
Log nature observations at Gibson Woods in Hammond, IN. Bring a camera or phone and pick up a scavenger hunt list at the Environmental Awareness Center (EAC) at Gibson Woods. Hit the trail and see what you can spy... catch it with your camera and bring your completed list back to the EAC for a small prize.219-844-3188 or
Spring Flora Hike at Camp Shaw-Waw-Nas-See (Afternoon)Illinois, Kankakee County
Camp Shaw, 6641N 6000W Road, Manteno (map)
Meet at pavillion near parking lot. Should be lots to see along Rock
4PM to 9PM
Night Hike at Bob Mann Woods/Salt Creek Nature PreserveIllinois, Cook County
801 N Edgewood Ave, La Grange Park (map)
Join Shedd Aquarium experts on a bioblitz of Bob Mann woods. We'll take a close up look at what lurks in Salt Creek and a rare opportunity to look for bats and owls after dark.Edward Warden,
7PM to 9PM
City Nature Challenge Observation Verification Night!Illinois, Cook County
near Cermak & Leavitt (must RSVP for address)
Gather with us to verify the gargantuan number of iNaturalist observations coming in! Bring a computer, any keys you may need, and a snack if you please. All are welcome regardless of skill level.
RSVP by emailing for the address.

Resources & Links

  1. City Nature Challenge website with international leaderboard
  2. iNaturalist Getting Started Guide
  3. City Nature Challenge 2018: Chicago Wilderness region iNaturalist project
  4. Join the CNC 2018 CW Region email list to stay in the loop and brainstorm ways to collaborate

Chicago Wilderness Region Partners

Habitat 2030       Shedd Aquarium        Chicago Ornithological Society        


Questions and comments can be directed toward cassi saari (Chicago region) or the international organizers.