Barrett community encouraged to take a break, get outside and commune with nature for the City Nature Challenge

Home / News and Events / News / Barrett community encouraged to take a break, get outside and commune with nature for the City Nature Challenge
April 28, 2021

Nature is all around – in the largest cities and the smallest towns, across the world and outside our back doors. 

This week is your chance to take notice of the nature around you and document it for the City Nature Challenge. 

Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University will participate in the CNC for the first time this year. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni are encouraged to take a break, get outside in the open air and sunshine, and document the nature in and around the Phoenix metropolitan area.

The City Nature Challenge (CNC) is an international effort for people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. The CNC is being held April 30-May 3. 

The CNC is organized on a global scale by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences. Local organizers include Metro Phoenix EcoFlora, Educating Children Outdoors, and Chandler Community Services.


It’s a bio blitz-style competition in which cities compete against each other to see who can make the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people by taking photos and uploading them onto a special online database called iNaturalist. 

Barrett’s involvement in the CNC came about through the Justice and Equity Honors Network, a partnership between Barrett and the Macauley Honors College at City University of New York. 

Students from Macauley have participated in the CNC in past years. Dr. Olga Davis, associate dean at Barrett at the ASU Downtown campus, who leads the JEHN at Barrett, saw the CNC as a way to bring both honors communities together to examine nature and environmental justice issues in a unique and interesting way. 

Davis said the CNC is a vehicle to understand that what we see in nature is an indication of what is happening in our society and focus discussions on environmental justice and equity issues, such as unequal distribution of nature within cities resulting in the lack of green spaces in low-income and minority communities.

Shea Alevy, Barrett assistant director of student services, said data from the CNC not only helps scientists better understand biodiversity in participating areas but also could help shape the environmental policy debate and funding decisions. 

Getting outside to observe their environs is especially important for students because “seeing biodiversity first hand is a great introduction into how location can impact a community’s access to greenspaces, clean air, fresh food, and more. As we dive deeper into the topic of environmental justice/racism, we begin to understand how a community’s lack of biodiversity can negatively impact the overall mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing of its inhabitants,” Alevy said.

Here's how to join the CNC:

Step One: Download the iNaturalist app to your smartphone or visit the iNaturalist website at

Step Two: Create an account using your email to set up an iNaturalist username and password

Step Three: Join both the Barrett and ASU projects through the mobile app or on the web

Mobile App: Tap More then click Projects and search for “Barrett, The Honors College 2021 City Nature Challenge” and “ASU 2021 City Nature Challenge.” Tap Join.

Website: Type the project names above and click Join at the top right of the banner

Find the projects at:

Barrett, The Honors College 2021 City Nature Challenge

ASU 2021 City Nature Challenge

Step Four: Make observations and share what you’ve found on iNaturalist.

Capture or upload photos of plants, animals and insects, then share observations.

Once you have joined the projects, observations are automatically included in our projects.

Find Barrett Honors College’s CNC discussion board here

Sign up for CNC swag here.