Join us in a fun nature observation weekend!

Celebrate Earth Day 2020 by joining City Nature Challenge 2020! Woodland Park Zoo and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium are thrilled to help mobilize people across the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area (all of Snohomish, King and Pierce counties) to join the City Nature Challenge – a nature observation event using the iNaturalist app. Not familiar with the app? Not to worry, it’s super user-friendly.


City Nature Challenge runs from Friday, April 24 – Monday, April 27, 2020

Help the Seattle-Tacoma Metropolitan Area (including Everett, Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma and any place within Snohomish, King and Pierce counties!) show the world how biodiverse our region is by making observations of local species during City Nature Challenge!

Find out more on the Seattle-Tacoma Metropolitan City Nature Challenge 2020 iNaturalist project page.

The City Nature Challenge will take place in two parts
April 24 - 27 - Observe! Take and upload pictures of wild plants and animals
April 28 - May 4 - Identify! Help identify what was found

You can support this effort by being an observer, helping others identify their observations, or better yet - both!

Please keep an eye on your local and federal health recommendations to help you decide how you want to participate. We encourage everyone to find and document what lives in our own homes, out our windows, on our windowsills and in our backyards, if not in our broader neighborhoods and cities. This can be done by yourself or with your family. You can also participate "online only" by looking through and helping to identify other people's observations! 

To be an observer:

  1. Download the free iNaturalist app to your Android or iPhone (lots of helpful how-to videos on the iNaturalist website)
  2. Join the 2020 City Nature Challenge: Seattle-Tacoma Metropolitan Area iNaturalist project
  3. Take photos of wild plants, animals and fungi in the Seattle Metro Area
    • This can be inside your house, in your backyard, out your window or in your neighborhood. Please no photos of pets or cultivated plants, but see what "wild" species you can find nearby!
  4. Upload your photos to iNaturalist - from your mobile device or via your computer

To help identify observations:

    1. Download the free iNaturalist app to your Android or iPhone
    2. Join the 2020 City Nature Challenge: Seattle-Tacoma Metropolitan Area iNaturalist project
    3. Identify observations to species level. Try searching iNaturalist for observations without identifications or for observations that still need to get down to species

Education Toolkit

Are you a teacher or an educator? Here's a toolkit just for you!

Learn more




Observing Nearby Nature in the Seattle-Tacoma Area (webinar)
April 17, 10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. 

Are you interested in participating in City Nature Challenge 2020? Do you want to help motivate other people to participate? What questions do you have about participating in City Nature Challenge in light of current public health guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Please join us for a web-based City Nature Challenge orientation and discussion – we invite those of you who work as informal/nature educators, as classroom teachers, in land stewardship, as naturalists and anyone who is interested in City Nature Challenge to attend!

In this web-based meeting, using Zoom, Woodland Park Zoo staff will lead you through an introduction to the online biodiversity observation tool, iNaturalist. We will share tips for making and documenting observations of the many wild birds, bugs and plants that call our area home. You will also learn how to help your family, friends and others in your community participate in City Nature Challenge. We will provide time for discussion about how to participate, and how to help others participate, in City Nature Challenge safely in light of our current global health situation. Let’s see how much nature we can observe, in a way that is safe for our health, in the greater Seattle area in one weekend!

Questions? Email


City Nature Challenge is co-organized by San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

The zoo is temporarily closed following state recommendations to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
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