Center for Community & Citizen Science Blog

Blog entry

An Overview of the City Nature Challenge

Alexandria Tillet Miller

What is the City Nature Challenge?

The City Nature Challenge is a collaborative international bioblitz that started in 2016 as a competition between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The objective for the challenge is to motivate people in their surrounding area to get outside and document wildlife and general biodiversity. In 2017, the City Nature Challenge went national, and one year later, became a world-wide event.

Blog entry

Invasive Tamarisk Removal: A youth-led project

Mireya Bejarano

This post was authored by Mireya Bejarano, an undergraduate student studying Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at the University of California, Davis. She has been working with the Center for Community and Citizen Science as a research assistant since 2020. She is interested in the positive impacts that citizen science and conservation can have on each other when combined. She plans to pursue a career in conservation post graduation. Her favorite bird native to California is the Loggerhead Shrike.

Blog entry

Special Issue on CCS in Cooperative Extension

Student and Teacher gardening

We’re proud to announce a new special issue of California Agriculture exploring the many ways that community and citizen science (CCS) are playing a role in cooperative extension. Ryan Meyer, Sabrina Drill, and Chris Jadallah served as guest editors of this collection, which spans a wide range of topics while illustrating the many different ways that CCS is used by extension professionals to advance their work.

Blog entry

How to teach an experiential field course online

This post was developed by Laci Gerhart-Barley, Christopher Jadallah, Sarah Angulo, and Greg Ira, who have recently published a paper about their work adapting an experiential field course (with significant citizen science components) to an online setting during Covid-19. You can access the paper, published in Ecology and Evolution, here

Blog entry Written by Peggy Harte, MEd

Using Environmental Literacy as the Through Line, All Standards All Students: A Focus on Equity and Access

Environmental Literacy, Environmental Principles & Concepts, Next Generation Science Standards, Incremental Infusion

Student participating in classroom activity

Using Environmental Literacy as the Through Line, All Standards All Students: A Focus on Equity and Access


Environmental Literacy, Environmental Principles & Concepts, Next Generation Science Standards, Incremental Infusion


Resources for Citizen Science Project Planning

Manual Full

We are excited to share three resources use in developing or evolving citizen science projects. These documents were developed as part of our work with the Open Rivers Fund, a program of the Resources Legacy Fund, which is supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. While their focus is on dam removal and watershed restoration, much of this material could be useful for a wide range of contexts and problem areas related to conservation and natural resource management.


Our Specific Commitments to Anti-Racism

July, 2020

Last month (June, 2020), the Center for Community and Citizen Science issued a statement committing to take action against racism in the work that we do. As promised in that statement, we have been working on more specific commitments, listed below, which will guide us in the months and years ahead. We intend for this touchstone document to evolve as we learn and grow, and hope that it may be useful to our community of collaborators and beyond.


Did Covid-19 make the “City Nature Challenge” less green?

For his capstone project in the Wild Davis course, taught by CCS Faculty Fellow Laci Gerhart, Nicholas Monty explored spatial shifts in City Nature Challenge observation patterns between 2019 and 2020, using remote sensing measurements of relative “greenness.” We’re happy to share his fascinating approach here. Thank you Nicholas!


Working Toward Racial Justice

June 11, 2020

We at the Center for Community and Citizen Science are horrified and saddened by the most recent iterations of anti-Blackness and systemic racism in our society, our communities, and our institutions. While the events of recent weeks have laid bare their consequences, these systems have always existed in the United States. The murders of George Floyd, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are only recent examples, among countless others, of Black people suffering under a centuries-old system of white supremacy.


This Friday: 2020 City Nature Challenge!

     “This year we want to celebrate life where life is challenged.” 
                                                                                                - Jaime González


City Nature Challenge & COVID-19

The global challenge… fought locally

2020’s City Nature Challenge has been modified to keep organizers and participants safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than the typical competition, this year’s CNC is focusing on collaboration and spending restorative time in nature. You can still document biodiversity safely, although it may require some extra creativity or staying in your home.

The 2020 City Nature Challenge takes place in two parts —

  • April 24 – 27: Taking pictures of wild plants and animals.
  • April 28 – May 3: Identifying what was found.

Outside Wonder Lab

Engaging in citizen science at home

Schools may be closed, but the citizen science fun can continue! For example our CCS Innovator Fellow, Peggy Harte has initiated the Outside Wonder Lab Project to help families learn about their backyards and nearby open spaces while practicing responsible social distancing.

Join your county’s Outside Wonder Lab Project (all listed here) on iNaturalist to discover the creatures that have been sharing your space. Take the first step by going out into your yard, then start observing. Using iNaturalist you can capture pictures of your observations, identify the species you have discovered, and share your findings. Even if we are all physically apart, this project provides an opportunity to learn from each other while contributing to a global database that scientists can use to better understand and protect nature. In the past few days, our Yolo County community has sighted Western Fence Lizards, Sierran treefrogs, American Avocets, and over 2000 other species!


New Video: Gardens & Citizen Science Project in Woodland Elementary Schools

The Center for Community and Citizen Science is happy to share this new video, produced by our partner Yolo County Office of Education, describing our collective work on citizen science in school gardens. The video introduces our ongoing Gardens & Citizen Science Project, and profiles the work teachers are doing to implement citizen science school gardens, in Woodland, California! Check out the video here.

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