Results of City Nature Challenge

The Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis) was the most observed species in Los Angeles County during the four-day City Nature Challenge. (photo by Patricia Lombard)

The City Nature Challenge results are in. More than 1,555 Angelenos participated in the four-day challenge to document our local biodiversity, earning second place for the number of people who participated, according to the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County, one of the founding institutions of the event.

The winning city was Cape Town, South Africa, with the most observations and the most species.  Meanwhile, the San Francisco Bay Area tallied the most participants…and Los Angeles County came in second place.

Congratulations to LA and thanks to all the citizen scientists and Buzz readers whose observations have added to scientists’ knowledge of urban biodiversity.  Citizens in more than 150 cities across six continents competed in this 4th annual community science competition to log the most observations, the most species, and to engage the most people—together creating a valuable snapshot in time of urban biodiversity.

This year’s challenge tallied more than 950,000 observations (more than doubling last year’s count), including more than 1,100 rare, endangered, or threatened species.  The contest also engaged more than 35,000 observers (more than doubling last year’s count); and recorded close to 32,000 species (more than doubling last year’s count) worldwide.

“It is amazing what we can do when we band together. We worked with 26 partner orgs in LA, and that’s one of the reasons we had so many participants,” said Lila Higgins, co-founder of the City Nature Challenge and Senior Community Science Manager at NHM and a St. Andrews Square resident.  “Our efforts resulted in 700 new City Nature Challenge participants in the L.A. area, and public awareness around the challenge may lead to thousands of Angelenos now considering themselves community scientists!”

The Hancock Park Garden Club was one of those local partners adding to the iNaturalist database. Powered by the California Academy of Sciences and National Geographic, the app recorded the largest influx of observations in its history during the four-day challenge.

Los Angeles County Results:

  • 1,555 observers (2nd place globally)
  • Contributors averaged 22 observations
  • 761 people made identifications in iNaturalist (3rd place globally)
  • 3,249 species documented (4th place globally)
  • 34,125 observations submitted to iNaturalist (9th place globally)
  • Most observed species: western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis)

View all L.A County iNaturalist results here.

Los Angeles County highlights

  • Red-faced Warbler. This sighting is the first for L.A. County since 2005, and also the first for the entire state of California since 2014.

  • Nanday Parakeet. This introduced parrot species is one of the only species doing well in natural areas, specifically the Santa Monica Mountains. Photos from this sighting shows a male courting a female and their mating.

  • Hemphill’s Westernslug. This slug is one of possibly two or three native slugs in Los Angeles County, and its conservation status isn’t known and hasn’t been truly assessed.

  • Gopher snake. This snake, a non-venomous and very docile species, was seen in a nice, sheltered corner above public restroom stalls.

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About Patricia Lombard

Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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