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Press Release

City Nature Challenge Returns to Atlanta April 30-May 2, 2021

Fernbank Museum will lead the charge in Atlanta for the third consecutive year

ATLANTA, April 5, 2021–Fernbank announces an opportunity to participate in a worldwide nature exploration from their homes, local green spaces, and from Fernbank Forest, as part of the City Nature Challenge. From Friday, April 30 through Monday, May 3, smartphone users will be able to use the iNaturalist app to get up, get out and start documenting the environment around them through their phone’s camera while embracing the healing power of nature.

Organized globally by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, the City Nature Challenge is a free, yearly international event motivating people to step into the outdoors and make observations of nature. Participants simply use the iNaturalist app to take photos of plants, trees, animals and other organisms they come across.

"City Nature Challenge is the perfect outdoor activity for springtime in Atlanta.” said Eli Dickerson, Fernbank’s ecologist. “As citizen scientists, residents of all ages in metro-Atlanta can help provide real data on what is living in our city, simply by taking photos and uploading them to the free iNaturalist app. Over the four-day challenge in Atlanta we hope to crest 10,000 total observation and 1,500 different species for the first time ever.”

Because the City Nature Challenge is designed as an individual, crowd-sourced study, one can easily participate while maintaining a social distance.  Photos taken using the app are geo-tagged and applied to Atlanta’s documentation count. Knowing what species are in our city and where they are helps scientists' study these species and lead conservation efforts in our region.

Another way to participate safely from home is to identify and verify observations, which helps upgrade the data to “research grade.” Research- grade observations occur when two or more other iNaturalist users verify the species identification through iNaturalist. Identification will take place from Tuesday, May 4-Sunday, May 9, 2021.

For those who want to make observations from Fernbank Forest, rangers will be available to share best practices and suggest great locations for discovering a diversity of organisms.

In addition to Fernbank, partner organizations in Atlanta include the Amphibian Foundation, Park Pride, Trees Atlanta, Olmstead Linear Park Alliance and the Chattahoochee Nature Center.

In 2020, over 250 cities participated globally participated in the CNC.  In total, Atlanta accounted for 7,215 observations, had 754 individual participants who documented 1,392 unique species. In 2021, there are 431 cities participating worldwide.

Participation in the City Nature Challenge is free. Fernbank Forest is free for members and included with general admission for non-members. To learn more, visit and


Media Inquiries:

Tyler Thornton, Public Relations Specialist


About Fernbank

Fernbank, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, is one of the most popular and iconic cultural destinations in Atlanta. A collection of experiences rooted in science, nature and human culture, the attraction includes a natural history museum, giant screen 3D theater and 75 acres of nature adventures that include the largest urban old-growth Piedmont Forest in the United States. Visit for more information and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.