City Nature Challenge

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City Nature Challenge Header with green background and dates of April 26-29The City Nature Challenge (CNC) is a friendly competition between cities all over the world to see which one can observe the most nature over four days. By participating, you’ll not only get out and see some great urban nature, you’ll help scientists collect data on the biodiversity of our region - and help Blacksburg win! 

 INaturalist_logo with green bird

Download iNaturalist
Add the free app for Android and iPhone to your mobile device and sign up for the project: City Nature Challenge 2019: Blacksburg, VA

How to use iNaturalist (PDF)

 magnifying glass icon showing bug Find Wildlife
It can be any plant, animal, fungi, slime mold, or any other evidence of life (scat, fur, tracks, shells, carcasses!) found in the Town of Blacksburg limits.
 Smartphone with rabbit in picture icon Take Pictures of What You Find
Be sure to note the location of the organism or evidence of life.
 picture icon of deer Share Your Observations
By uploading your findings to iNaturalist.


If you are new to citizen science and would like to learn more about our local wildlife you can join us at one of several free events where experts from Virginia Tech will be on site to assist with plant and animal identification!


All events are rain or shine so wear appropriate shoes and clothing. Facilities are not available at all locations so please plan accordingly. Please create an iNaturalist account and check out the tutorial below prior to the event if you plan on submitting your observations for the City Nature Challenge.


How to Make an Observation on iNaturalist using our Mobile App from iNaturalist on Vimeo.


Friday, April 26

Bird Survey: 7:30-9 a.m. at the VT Duck Pond. Meet in the Wright House parking lot. Join us as we discover the vast variety of bird diversity that Blacksburg has to offer. Learn more about our local residents as well as the seasonal migrating birds that are passing through. Please bring binoculars if you have them.

Insect Survey: 2:30-4 p.m. at Heritage Park. Meet in the upper parking lot on Glade Road. There are over 20,000 insect species in Virginia! Come out to Heritage Park and see how many of them you can find and identify.

Stream Life Survey: 4-5:30 p.m. at Tom’s Creek in Heritage Park. Meet in the lower parking lot on Meadowbrook Road. Tom’s Creek is full of aquatic life including a diversity of fish, amphibians and invertebrates. Have you ever heard of a Blue Headed Chub or a Stone Roller? Join us and learn about the amazing ecology under the water’s surface. Please wear waders or clothing and shoes that you don’t mind getting wet.

Moth Lighting: 8-9:30 p.m. at SEEDS – Blacksburg Nature Center at the historic Price House at 107 Wharton St., SE. It’s no secret – moths love light! Join us as we light up the Price Nature Center and learn about the moths and other nocturnal insects that make Blacksburg their home. Participants may want to bring a headlamp or flash light.


Saturday, April 27

Amphibian Survey: 7-8:30 p.m. at Heritage Park. Meet in the lower parking lot on Meadowbrook Road. Heritage Park includes a variety of upland and wetland habitats that attract many different reptiles and amphibians. In fact, the Southern Appalachian Mountains have more salamander biodiversity than anywhere else on Earth! Please bring a headlamp or flash light and wear shoes and clothing that you don’t mind getting wet and dirty.


Sunday, April 28

Plant Survey: 9-10:30 a.m. at Wong Park. Meet in the Bennett House office parking lot at 303 Wilson Ave. Anyone can spot a pretty flower, but have you ever wondered what all of those other grasses and plants are that make up a meadow? Join us as we take a closer look at the variety of plants that Wong Park has to offer.


Monday, April 29

Millipede Survey: 2:30-4 p.m. at the VT Duck Pond. Meet in the Wright House parking lot. What’s in a name? That which we call a millipede by any other name would smell as sweet. Our region has a surprising millipede diversity and endemism including a new species being described from the campus of Virginia Tech! Come out and learn about a species you never knew existed.

Plant Survey: 5-6:30 p.m. at Stadium Woods. Meet at the Flag Pole at the North East corner of Stadium Woods, just behind the Washington Street tennis courts (37.223817, -80.416208). If old growth forest is rare, then urban old growth forest is extremely rare. Stadium woods is an 11.5-acre tract of old growth forest that includes dozens of trees over 300 years old. Come out and learn more about this primeval forest community!

Logo of California Academy of Sciences

Download the City Nature Challenge Flyer (PDF)

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