Observe Wildlife Anywhere

Photograph plants, animals, and other organisms on your own or as part of a BioBlitz. Use the iNaturalist app or iNaturalist.org to upload your observations and add them to a global database of biodiversity to support local to global research projects. 

Photograph of ants carrying leaves on the forest floor.

Collect Leaves

Take a walk and collect fallen leaves from different trees around the city. Bring them back home and see if you can identify the type of tree from the leaf. Use a site like iNaturalist to help with the identification.

 

Picture of the opening ceremony of BioBlitz 2016 in Washington, D.C.

Conduct a BioBlitz

Build awareness of biodiversity by gathering your school community on campus for a BioBlitz event, to explore and collect data on the diversity of animals, plants, and other organisms in a place. Use the iNaturalist app to load photos and help identify species while contributing data for scientific research.

Photo of garlic mustard.

Volunteer for a Park Invasive Species Removal

A great way to learn about plants in your city is to volunteer for invasive species removal. Invasive species can harm native plants and animals. Search for an organization in your city through the USDA’s National Invasive Species Information Center.

 

Photograph of an urban landscape.

Compare Urban Habitats

An urban landscape can vary greatly even in the same city. There might be some places in your city that only have tall buildings and other places where there are houses with lawns or small backyards. There might be other areas that are wooded. Pick two locations in your city that are very different from one another. Go to each spot at the same time every day with your notebook and camera. Observe your surroundings, and take a lot of notes and pictures of what you see. How do these two areas compare? Does one area have more plants? What are the different animals and plants that you notice? What are the characteristics of the two different places that might affect the living things that you notice?

 

Photograph of a city garden.

Volunteer at a Community Garden

Volunteer at a community garden and help plant veggies, fruit, and flowers. This is a great way to interact with nature because not only are you working with plants, but you also get to dig in the dirt! Are there any worms or other bugs crawling around in the garden? Learn more at the American Community Gardening Association.

Photograph of an insect on a plotted plant.

Flowerpot Neighborhood Tour

Go around your neighborhood and take pictures of the flowers people have planted on their stoops or are hanging from their windows. Don’t pick the flowers! Do you notice any bees or butterflies or other insects floating around near the planters? Are certain flowers more unique or rare than others?

Underwater photo of a manatee.

Visit a Wildlife Refuge

Yes, there are wildlife refuges in cities! The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has an online tool to find the refuges closest to you, and many are accessible via public transportation. You can visit on your own or maybe even join a ranger-led activity.

 

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