News | 22 April 2021
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Capital to beat around the bush for global nature challenge

The global City Nature Challenge will turn Pōneke/Wellington into a giant nature playground, and its citizens into scientists as it embarks on a four-day bioblitz.

Image of gardener taking photo of plant for City Nature Challenge

City Nature Challenge 2021 will see over 250 cities around the world search, report, and log any sightings of wild plants, creatures, or organisms, living or dead, on the land, up the mountains, and in the sea – and around our backyards.

Locals know our city harbours incredible species because they encounter them daily. This is a great opportunity to showcase Pōneke/Wellington as a nature rich city on the world stage, and to discover our own natural capital while we’re at it, says Urban Ecology Manager, Daniela Biaggio.


“The City Nature Challenge is a fun, friendly competition that encourages people to discover and document the biodiversity of our urban spaces through the iNaturalist App. The aim is to find out which city can spot the greatest number of wild species, find the most diversity of species, and engage the most observers.

“Combining technology with nature is also a great way to get young people engaged and active, and this challenge will see devices become a tool in documenting any finds, which will then provide valuable information to the scientific world.

“We have many scientists collecting data on our natural environment throughout the city, however the complexity and richness of our natural environment requires much more information than any group of experts could gather. The engagement of our communities in knowing and understanding our natural environment is essential if we are to be true guardians of its treasures.

“There’s also an added incentive of prizes on offer for those who take part,” adds Daniela.

It’s easy to take part, just sign up to the iNaturalist app, take photos of wild species, and the app will identify it, and keep count of the entries – the area with the most observations at the end of four days wins.

Wellington City Council is committed to protecting, restoring and making sure everyone can enjoy the natural environment around us, but it’s a team effort, says Open Space and Parks Manager Myfanwy Emeny.

“At the end of this four-day challenge, the real winner will be all of us, being able to get out and about and enjoy the amazing natural spaces we are lucky enough to have on our backdoor.”

All (and only) observations made starting 12am Friday 30 April NZ local time and up to 11.59pm Monday 3 May will count for the City Nature Challenge.