What SoCal Locals Saw During the Nature Challenge

A gray fox, seen in Diamond Bar, was one of the furry findings of the four-day event.

What to Know

  • City Nature Challenge
  • Worldwide event each spring
  • 19,423 observations were logged around LA in 2018

The important call to volunteer as an observer of the natural world, all to strengthen our collective scientific knowledge?

It's one that hundreds of Southern Californians heard, and answered, over the last weekend of April 2018.

For that's when the City Nature Challenge took place, a four-day event that was all about asking people around the globe to observe nature in their area and then submit photographs via the iNaturalist app.

The challenge, which was co-founded by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and the California Academy of Sciences in 2016, flowered in some 68 cities around the planet this year, with 17,329 people pitching in, snapping pictures, and sharing what they found, all to provide "... scientists, educators, urban planners, and policymakers insight into the biodiversity or urban locales around the world."

As for LA's placement in the rankings?

Our city came in ninth, with 19,423 "records logged" by some 855 participants (that number put us at fifth place, in the participants category).

As for species observed? Los Angeles ranked sixth, clocking in an impressive 2,356 (and that sizable sum covers animals, plants, and fungi).

The Natural History Museum shared these numbers on Wednesday, May 9, as well as some notable regional finds.

A gray fox was seen in Diamond Bar, while a coastal patch-nosed snake, a "... coastal subspecies (that) is listed as a Species of Special Concern in California due to the loss of much of its habitat to urbanization," was spied at the Stough Canyon Nature Center in Burbank.

Feline fans, take note: A mountain lion was recorded in Topanga, one that "... seems to be a young juvenile, which is a good indication that the population is reproducing," says a museum representative.

And an observer in the foothills came across a pair of San Gabriel chestnut snails, a species only found in our area. 

Participants in Tulsa, Kuala Lumpur, and San Diego all joined in the 2018 event, as well as nature-loving people in dozens of other cities. 

Want to learn more? See more? Snail your way to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles or iNaturalist now, and keep next springtime in mind, and the 2019 City Nature Challenge.

It's fun, it's important, and you may just see a gray fox or a snail duo, trekking along. So cool, but even cooler? You can help science by letting science know.

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