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2021 City Nature Challenge Runs Through May 3

Ready, set, snap! Connect with fellow nature lovers from around the world in the 2021 City Nature Challenge, a worldwide bioblitz held April 30-May 3 that encourages participants to get outside and celebrate their region’s biodiversity by taking photos of the plants and animals found in their communities and uploading them to iNaturalist.

Already an iNaturalist user? Join the 2021 City Nature Challenge: Western NC Project

How to Participate
Watch the following video featuring the NC Arboretum’s Director of Education Jonathan Marchal to learn how to get involved in this year’s challenge, including a demonstration of how to make an observation in iNaturalist.

1) Download iNaturalist, a free mobile application on your iPhone or Android device.

2) From April 30-May 3, get outside in your backyard or a nearby natural area (while practicing social distancing) and take pictures of wildlife, including plants and animals (no pets, please!).

3) Upload your photos to iNaturalist and tell your friends to join in on the fun!
**Children 12 & under can submit their photos via

4) BONUS: Help identify organisms on iNaturalist during the Challenge’s “identifying” stage from May 4- 9. Follow our progress and see other participant’s observations by joining the 2021 City Nature Challenge: Western NC project on iNaturalist.

Public online and in-person programming will be available during the challenge. Learn more at for online programs and in-person programming near you.

Earn Badges
For adults looking for an extra challenge this spring, the Arboretum is offering the North Carolina BioBlitz patch. To earn the patch, participants will need to create a free iNaturalist account; attend the free Intro to City Nature Challenge & iNaturalist course or stream it after the fact; make at least 40 nature observations during the City Nature Challenge; and help identify 10 or more observations made by others during the Challenge’s “identifying” stage (May 4 – 9). Students in the Arboretum’s Blue Ridge Naturalist and Blue Ridge Eco-Gardener certificate programs can earn 3 credit hours towards their Criteria 2 requirements by completing the steps necessary to earn their patch and will be asked to provide documentation of their observations and identifications in the form of screenshots. Candidates pursuing a North Carolina Environmental Education Certification can also receive these credits. Please contact Michelle Pearce, Teacher Education Coordinator, at with any questions.

Earn Prizes
The top observers of the most overall observations and the most species will be selected to win a Naturalist Prize Package. Prizes total over $1,000 in value and include:

• Memberships and day passes to The North Carolina Arboretum and Chimney Rock State Park;
• Naturalist gear including a Mountainsmith messenger bags, Vortex binoculars, and field guides; and
• Gift cards to Compleat Naturalist, Wild Birds Unlimited of Asheville and B.B. Barns Garden, Gift and Landscape Company.

For Kids and Families
This year, as part of the City Nature Challenge, the Arboretum’s ecoEXPLORE program will once again offer a special BioBlitz Bonus Badge to children in grades K-8 who submit 20 or more observations of wild organisms between April 23 and May 9.

The 2021 City Nature Challenge and Mountain Science Expo are supported in part by our education partners: North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation; Duke Energy Foundation; The Ecology Wildlife Foundation; Biltmore Farms Hotels; Southeastern Container Inc.; The Laurel of Asheville; Wild Birds Unlimited Asheville; B.B. Barns Garden, Gift & Landscape Company; and The Compleat Naturalist.


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