City Nature Challenge 2024

close up of small yellow flowers in bloom; a child climbs a tree in background

Residents are invited to participate in the four-day City Nature Challenge from Friday, April 26 to Monday, April 29. This will be Peterborough's second year participating in the challenge!

On Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27, the City of Peterborough is hosting a community event in Ecology Park, 1899 Ashburnham Dr. with guided hikes and children's activities. The event is part of the City Nature Challenge, a global competition to record nature sightings in communities from around the world. The City is partnering with the Peterborough Field Naturalists (PFN) who will help participants record wildlife observations using the iNaturalist app. All of the observations will be confirmed and tallied as part of Peterborough's official submission to the City Nature Challenge. Winning communities for the highest number of wildlife observations, total species observed, and number of participants will be announced in May.

What is a Bio-Blitz?

A bio-blitz is a communal citizen-science effort to record as many species as possible within a designated location and time period. These events provide valuable information which can help researchers understand local biodiversity and assists in identifying population changes over time. Unfortunately, many wildlife populations are in decline with habitat loss being the most significant hazard impacting Ontario species. This event will connect people to nature through active participation in identifying local species in Peterborough.

How to participate

screen of smartphone with iNaturalist app open to a map of Jackson Park
Join us at Ecology Park on Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help identify local wildlife. Base camp will be set up near the GreenUP Ecology Park Pavilion, just off the Trans Canada Trail. Start there to connect with a guided walk and to check out our resources.

To assist with recording wildlife observations during the bio-blitz, the iNaturalist app will be used to upload sightings of species spotted through the use of a unique Peterborough project event page. Before arriving, please download the app to your mobile device. To learn more about iNaturalist, check out Using the iNaturalist App below.

The global competition is taking place from April 26 to April 29. During this time, anyone can upload nature sightings to the iNaturalist project event page as long as the observations are within the Peterborough city-boundary.

Guided Walks

Guided walks are planned for both Friday and Saturday. Local experts will lead tours of Ecology Park, Beavermead Park, and Farmcrest Park to identify plants and animals and provide background to the area's natural history. 

The meeting location for all walks is the GreenUP Ecology Park Pavilion.

Walk and Talk About Pollinators with Steve Paul and Vicky Papuga: Friday, April 26 at 11:30 a.m.

Join Steve Paul, PFN Director and founder of Pollinator Trails Initiative, and Vicky Papuga, CWF Rights-of-Way Pollinator Habitat Coordinator, for a walk and talk about the importance of collaboration and community support for pollinators and biodiversity. Ecology Park will be showcased as a native plant nursery with demonstration gardens that people can tour and engage with.

The natural & cultural history of Little Lake, the Otonabee River, & Meade Creek – with Otonabee Conservation: Friday, April 26 at 1 p.m.

Join staff from Otonabee Conservation for a walking tour along the shoreline of Meade Creek and Little Lake. Learn about local species of flora and fauna that inhabit the area, along with the natural and cultural history of Little Lake, the Otonabee River and Meade Creek. 
Children's Activity Hub with Susan Chow: Saturday, April 27
Children of all ages are welcome to join in the fun at the nature activity hub, located in the GreenUP Ecology Park Pavilion, where you can make your own tunnel binocular book or aquatic critters to take home. We will also have friendly naturalists on site to show you tricks to identify animal skulls, flowers, and fish. Every half hour we'll play some fun ecology games to warm you up and put a big smile on your face. See you there!
Meet the Trees of GreenUP Ecology Park with Vern Bastable: Saturday, April 27 at 11:30 a.m.

Do you know the Kentucky Coffee Tree? How about a Hop Tree? What about the Musclewood?

Join our tree walk and get introduced to some of the great trees that inhabit the Peterborough area and find out a little bit about what makes them tick and why you might need one in your yard. Learn to see some of the trees you already know in a new light and get an introduction to some of the rarer species growing in our neighbourhoods. An informative tree talk, and a great spring walk!

Discovering Nature in Early Spring with Drew Monkman: Saturday, April 27 at 1 p.m.
Join local nature writer and naturalist Drew Monkman for a general nature walk through Ecology and Beavermead Parks. Drew will point out some of the trees, birds and maybe even frogs and insects that make this area one of the best nature-viewing destinations in Peterborough. If you have binoculars, bring them along.

Using the iNaturalist App

  1. Install the iNaturalist app (available for both Apple and Android) and create an account.
  2. Take photos with detailed observations added to the project page via the app or posted later to your home computer.
  3. Learn more about how to make impactful observations by reading the iNaturalist resources and by watching the Peterborough Public Library's iNaturalist how-to video.
  4. Add your observations to the Peterborough project by searching City Nature Challenge 2024 Peterborough.


Tips for using the iNaturalist app
  1. Open the app and tap the Observe button from the My Observations tab.
  2. Add one or more photos as evidence.
  3. Choose what you saw from list of suggestions.
  4. Time and date should be added automatically; if not, add when you made the observation.
  5. Select observation location from the map.
  6. Add to the project page: City Nature Challenge 2024: Peterborough.
  7. Save your observation.
Tips for uploading images to the iNaturalist website
  1. Open iNaturalist in your web browser.
  2. Start by clicking the green Upload button from the header when you are logged in. From the upload page, begin by dragging in one or more photos. Each photo will create an 'observation card' that you can edit before submitting. You can also use the 'Add' button in the upper left to create observation cards without photos or the 'More Import options' menu to upload a CSV or import from external sites.
  3. Choose what you saw from the suggestions or by searching for a name. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, leave it blank or use some placeholder text. If you entered a scientific name that's not recognized, click ‘Search external name providers’ to first import the organism from elsewhere. 
  4. Use the calendar to enter when you observed the organism.
  5. Add observation to the project page: City Nature Challenge 2024: Peterborough.
  6. Submit your observation.
Tips for making iNaturalist observations

Follow these tips provided by iNaturalist:

  1. Cropping photos helps with identifying the subject. 
  2. Include as much contextual information as you can such as habitat, weather, and behaviour. 
  3. If unsure of the species for your observation, keep the identification broad which will allow evaluators to correct it. 
  4. Add the observation to the Peterborough project page to be counted toward the City Nature Challenge.
  5. Have fun!