How many species can you find? Wellington joins the global 2022 iNaturalist City Nature Challenge

How many species can you find? Wellington joins the global 2022 iNaturalist City Nature Challenge

This year Wellington is competing against over 400 cities worldwide, and five other New Zealand cities in the iNaturalist City Nature Challenge. The aim of this friendly bioblitz-style competition is to record as many species as possible in the four days from 29 April to 2 May. With our fabulous array of forest and marine reserves, we hope Wellington can show the rest of the country, and the world, what a biologically diverse city we live in. Research Scientist Lara Shepherd writes about ways to take part.

iNaturalist is a worldwide community science platform that allows you to connect with nature. By sharing your wildlife photos, you’ll receive expert help with identifying species and be able to keep track of all the species you’ve seen. Your photos can also assist scientists with conservation monitoring and research, and even lead to the discovery of new species!

Five people standing in a rockpool looking down into the water
Scientists from Te Papa, NIWA, and Victoria University of Wellington explore rockpools at Moa Point during the 2021 City Nature Challenge. Photo by Lara Shepherd

How to participate in the City Nature Challenge

The easiest way to contribute is to download the free iNaturalist app from the App Store or Google Play. Or you can load photos directly to the iNaturalist website. With both methods, you will need to create a user account.

Instructions for making an observation using the app and website are available here. This is a handy video on how to use the app on your mobile phone.

Two people crouched in a rockpool - one is taking a photo of something in the water
Te Papa scientists recording an observation during the 2021 City Nature Challenge. Photo by Lara Shepherd

All observations recorded within the Wellington City Council boundary during the Challenge will automatically be added to Wellington’s tally. You’ll be able to see Wellington’s results here, and the results of the other participating cities here.

Not based in Wellington? There are five other New Zealand cities that have also signed up for the challenge.

Young and older children using magnifying glasses to inspect a cliff wall
You never know what you might find if you take a closer look. Photo by Abbie Dorrington, Te Papa

Events during the City Nature Challenge

The great thing about the City Nature Challenge is that you can join in without even leaving your own backyard! But if you do want to venture further afield, or want some help using the app, there are a number of free events you can attend before and during the Challenge:

  • Bush City Bioblitz – observe and discover plants and critters in Bush City with Te Papa’s Natural History experts
  • WCC is organising three Junior Nature days aimed at kids during the school holidays in the lead up to the challenge

You could also use this opportunity to explore some of Wellington’s fantastic reserves and green spaces.

A man in a sunhat talkes to five children on a wooden bridge surrounded by trees
Exploring Bush City. Photo by Abbie Dorrington, Te Papa (162348)

What happens after the City Nature Challenge?

From 3–8 May, experts will be busy identifying the species in your observations. On 9 May the final results will be announced. Last year Wellington recorded over 1300 species but Christchurch found over 1600! Can we beat them this year?

Check out some of our more interesting discoveries during last year’s City Nature Challenge: Highlights from Wellington’s City Nature Challenge 2021.


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