Join nature lovers across the capital region in celebrating local species and ecosystems by participating in the 2023 City Nature Challenge. Over a four day period, April 28 through May 1, photograph and document local biodiversity in the capital region using the free iNaturalist website or app, and help to build a record of the nature that surrounds us. More than 400 cities around the world will be participating in the City Nature Challenge this year, as a global celebration of biodiversity in and around urban areas.
Participating in City Nature Challenge in the capital region is easy:
- Create an account using the free iNaturalist app (AppStore or Google Play) or website.
- Head online to join the Greater Victoria City Nature Challenge project for a chance to win prizes and receive project updates.
- Join the hunt! Search for local nature in your backyard, neighbourhood, or favourite park or beach between April 28 and May 1. Observations of wild native plants, animals, fungi, insects, tracks, or even scat are all welcome.
- Use a digital camera or smart phone to capture your sightings, and upload to iNaturalist.
- Identify your findings as best you can and have people from the iNaturalist community help confirm your identifications.
Help us inventory the local landscape and track biodiversity. The City Nature Challenge is a way for citizens to help collect data on the wild species living in and around our cities, which helps local governments and scientists to better protect local biodiversity. You can make a difference by taking photos of the plants and wildlife in your backyard, local park and city, and reporting them using iNaturalist.
Biodiversity at your doorstep
Your home’s yard, garden, or even balcony have the potential to provide essential habitat for plants and animals throughout the capital region. No matter what their size, natural spaces that you create near your home can increase biodiversity and support healthy ecosystems. Take time to sit quietly outside of your house, and observe the nature that you see. When you start looking for it, biodiversity is all around us. Here are some key places to look:
Dense, diverse vegetation: Areas of dense and diverse vegetation give wildlife plenty of shelter. Wildlife may use these areas to find food, hide from predators, raise young, or take refuge from the elements.
Pollinator-friendly plants: These plants attract pollinators like butterflies, bees and hummingbirds by providing energy-rich nectar and pollen. Showy cultivated plants are sometimes sterile and are of little use to pollinators. Native or heirloom plant varieties will attract the most pollinators.
Leaf, stick and rock piles: Messy areas of your yard may be the most biodiverse! Many creatures enjoy the shelter of unraked leaves, stick or rock piles, and groups of rocks.
Water sources: All living things need water for drinking and bathing. Birds also use water to bathe. Watch for wildlife and insects at birdbaths or even puddles after it rains.
Berries, nuts and sap: Food sources in your garden will attract wildlife. In particular, food found on native plants will provide the right nutrition for native wildlife.
Dried plants and seed heads: Dead trees and other dried or decaying plants can provide shelter for wildlife, as well as a food source. Seed heads left on plants can feed wildlife over the winter and add beauty to your garden off-season.
Find out more about how to boost biodiversity in your yard:
New to iNaturalist?
Check out the links below. Read or watch how to use the iNaturalist mobile app. Once you are familiar with the app you can read how to upload and identify on the iNaturalist webpage.
iNaturalist App Video:
iNaturalist Web Uploading :
iNaturalist Web Identifying:
Check out the City Nature Challenge website more details:
Biodiversity | CRD
Learn more about biodiversity in the Capital Regional District here.
Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary iNaturalist resources:
Get in touch with your questions / comments about iNaturalist or other biodiversity observations.