Trumpeter Swans. Photo © Ryan Mackett

City Nature Challenge (CNC) 2022

Please join the world’s largest bio blitz! The City Nature Challenge, Thunder Bay District (CNC 2022)

You might ask what is the City Nature Challenge?  Think of it as the world’s largest bio blitz. The competition started as a friendly challenge between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2016. The competition has grown explosively around the world, with 419 cities involved and over 1.2 million observations taken last year. 

For four days, beginning April 29th and ending on May 2nd we are challenging the people in our district to identify as many living things as they can using the app iNaturalist. The images you take with your camera or cellphone will be reviewed by scientists and naturalists from the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists, and by nature lovers from around the world. Simply by snapping a picture with your phone, tablet or camera you can use the ai (artificial intelligence) built into iNaturalist to create an observation. It is that easy!

Please keep it wild! Your observations should be of native species. If you happen to take a picture of a garden plant just activate the “captive / cultivated” button on iNaturalist. You can use iNaturalist anywhere you happen to be out in nature. Your observations will appear on the project website below alongside those of fellow nature enthusiasts beginning on April 29th at 12:01 am on the project website here:

Your contributions will be counted and they might be “research grade” after review by science lovers. The observations don’t disappear on May 2nd. All the data collected will count towards our TBFN biodiversity project on iNaturalist found here:

City Nature Challenge Events: 

The Lakehead Region Conservation Authority has events planned at the following four conservation sites

April 29th LRCA Staff @ Cascades Conservation Area from 1 pm to 4 pm.  Making observations & helping citizens to use the app.

April 30th LRCA Staff @ Mission Marsh Conservation Area from 9 am to 12 noon with TBFN Birders & Wildlife Biologists, Mushkiki Health & Wellness Youth & cultural advisors will be there to help the public using the app.

May 2nd  LRCA Staff with TBFN Birders & Wildlife Biologists working with classes @ Mission Marsh from 9 am to 12 noon. 

May 2nd  LRCA Staff at Mills Block Forest from 1 pm to 4 pm. Making observations & helping citizens to use the app.

Earthcare Thunder Bay has set up projects at some of your favourite gardens and parks: The Centennial Botanical Conservatory, Adelaide Butterfly Garden, LPH Greenspace, and Brent Park. These events are taking part in the challenge on all four days. Facebook posts and posters onsite will help explain how to take part. You can view results for Ear

For more information, or if you have any questions, contact Gene Kent, TBFN Outreach Coordinator at or call (807) 355-5679.

CNC 2022 May Update (Click to expand)

The The City Nature Challenge for the Thunder Bay District has been a great success in its first year. With many observations taken by local camera buffs still waiting for upload, the key successes have included 677 Observations taken with 233 Species identified or progressing due to 1146 Identifications by naturalist commentators. These statistics are as of May the 5thThe charts below indicate the classes / kingdoms of living creatures observed. Birds and plants were the most common observations and the April 30-May 2nd bioblitz period coincided with major migrations of waterfowl, raptors and songbirds. Local naturalists and scientists are busy verifying observations until May the 9th when the final tally will be available. To see photos of the observations and which ones are moving towards research grade, check out our project page:City Nature Challenge 2022: Thunder Bay District, ON, Canada · iNaturalist

Thunder Bay Field Naturalists (TBFN) took part in two pre-planned events; the first was an iNaturalist event at Mission Marsh CA on April 29th with 40 young students from McKenzie School. The second was an open event on April 30th also at Mission Marsh; this iNaturalist and birding walk involved four  Lakehead Region Conservation Authority (LRCA) staff , leaders and youth from Mushkiki Programs and several birders from TBFN. The mouth of the McKellar River teamed with waterfowl on that day.  A spotting scope was used to zoom in on many species near Mutton Island in the mouth of the river. Many of the young participants were amazed that they could zoom in to see the eyes of the ducks (hint- Golden Eye…)! Standout observations included: Turkey Vultures, Eagles doing a mating flight, American White Pelicans, Cormorants, as well as many, many Bufflehead, Merganser, Golden Eye and other duck species. The City Nature Challenge is also a “friendly” competition. So far the leaders are local biologist  and TBFN member Al Harris with 120 observations, and Jessie McFadden of the LRCA with 60 species identified!

The LRCA also held staff observation events at Mills Block Forest, Fisherman’s Park West, Cascades Conservation Area and Hazelwood Lake Conservation Areas. Staff were there to record species and to assist the public. A bank, a flight or a herd of Trumpeter Swans was viewed flying over Hazelwood Lake.

 TBFN will be running another iNaturalist event for high school students on May 9th at Mission Island and MIBO. Four secondary school biology and geography classes will visit McKellar Island Bird Observatory (MIBO) and Mission Island Marsh.  John Woodcock will welcome students to the McKellar Island Bird Observatory. CNC2022 was a great success and we want to keep engaging the public to create more observations. Nature surrounds us 365 days a year and just like another April Event on  “Earth Day” we want the people of Thunder Bay District to keep helping us to observe and conserve nature.