City Nature Challenge 2020

We are pleased to be helping to organize the City Nature Challenge (CNC) for a third year here on Maui. The CNC has been a friendly, global challenge among cities to see who has the most biodiversity. Started between Los Angeles and California, it  went international last year and continues to add cities across the globe. This year, due to the current pandemic situation, the event will not be a competition, but rather a way to bring our community together to share and experience nature.

This year the observing portion of the event will run from April 24-27, 2020. You may also contribute identifications or verifications to project observations any time between April 29 and May 4.  So, even if you can’t help observe things on Maui, you can still participate in the verify and identify aspects!

We are organizing virtual events on the Meetup platform that you can sign up for updates on here:

or connect via the iNaturalist app to the Maui CNC2020 project here:

Get started at any time on your own by downloading the iNaturalist app on you smartphone or computer (visit

We are posting updates on our blog and to our social media accounts:


Instagram: @mauinui_natural_history

Twitter: @MauiNuiNatHist


Because many of us will be making multiple observations at home, it is understandable that you may not wish to share specific location data.  Changing the geoprivacy setting to “obscured” will create a buffer an approximately 10 KM sq. buffer around an observation. That is you will know the observation was made in Kihei or Wailuku, but can not pinpoint it further.  You need to set this per observation, but note that if you forget, you can go back and change the setting afterwards.

Note that setting geoprivacy to private means your data is not actually shared with anyone.  It also will not be included on in the CNC.

A kid friendly alternative to iNaturalist is the “Seek” app, an iNaturalist product that obscures location by default. (Which incidentally has really cool computer vision capabilities for identifications.)

Below is a short overview of what the CNC is all about – it’s an opportunity to help advance science by taking pictures of living things and post them on your phone or on the iNaturalist website.

How easy is it to use iNaturalist to record you observations? Super easy! The video below will show you how that works on a phone in less than 90 seconds! (Using a computer, scroll down to the next video!)

And here is how it works on a computer: