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For Immediate Release

City Nature Challenge Returns to Atlanta April 24-27, 2020
Fernbank Museum Will Lead the Charge in Atlanta

ATLANTA, April 13, 2020–Fernbank announces an opportunity to participate in a worldwide nature exploration from their homes as part of the City Nature Challenge. From Friday, April 24 through Monday, April 27, 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. Although it is no longer considered a competition among cities in 2020, the City Nature Challenge still encourages safe, individual participation that challenges everyone to explore with a keen eye to discover plants, trees, mammals, insects, birds and the other flora and fauna of their immediate surroundings. Fernbank is leading the charge locally for the second consecutive year, motivating Atlantans to participate from home while maintaining social distancing practices.

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 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.

“The City Nature Challenge provides a healing escape from many of today’s stressful circumstances, encouraging both individual and family exploration that connects participants to the natural world that is thriving all around them,” said Eli Dickerson, Fernbank’s ecologist, “Nature has been proven to reduce stress and improve mood, and when combined with a fun exploration of the new and awakening life that is bustling during the spring, we all can experience that the greatest show truly ‘is’ earth.”

Because the City Nature Challenge is designed as an individual crowd-sourced study, one can easily participate while following social distancing guidelines.  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 and protect them.

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.

In addition to Fernbank, partner organizations in Atlanta include the Amphibian Foundation, Dekalb County Parks and Recreation, Frazer Center, Park Pride and Clayton County Water Authority’s Newman Wetlands.

In 2019, 159 cities globally participated in the CNC. Atlanta was one of 100 first-time participant cities. In total, Atlanta accounted for 8,920 observations, had 423 individual participants and documented 1,483 unique species. These totals placed Atlanta in the top 20% of all cities and in the top 15% of all first-time participant cities. In 2020, there are 250 cities participating worldwide.

City Nature Challenge is part of Fernbank’s Museum at Home programming, which includes videos and other resources that deliver Fernbank’s unique programs and experiences to the community in their homes.

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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.