March 7, 2021


Participating in CNC YYC is easy as creating a free iNaturalist account, taking some photos of urban organisms, and uploading them to learn what it is you found! There are two main ways you can participate in CNC YYC: Making Observations and Making Identifications.

Making Observations

The first way to participate is by posting your observations made within Calgary April 24-27. This can be done at one of the many events or just go exploring on your own. The deadline to post all of your observations is midnight May 3.

Guide to Making Observations:

  1. Create an iNaturalist account by downloading the app on your phone or by signing up online.
  2. Take photos of anything wild living within Calgary April 24-27.
  3. Take multiple photos to provide better clues for identification. Video Tutorial: Making Great Observations.
  4. Mark the Location of your observation by using location services on your phone, or make a note/ reference photo you can refer to later on (Ex. street sign or park entrance).
  5. Look for nature everywhere! This can be in your backyard, local park, nearby alleyway, school yard, bugs in your house, roadside, ANYWHERE!
  6. Upload your photo on the app or on your desktop. iNaturalist will suggest which organism you have discovered. Do your best to determine what it is, even if that means just using a placeholder such as “plant” or “bird”.
  7. If you take a picture of a domesticated animal or cultivated plant, mark it as “captive/cultivated”.
  8. Check to make sure the location is correct. If you are concerned for the well being of the organism you can mark the location as “obscured” .
  9. Discuss with other naturalists as they confirm your observations!

All of the observations made within Calgary’s city boundaries are automatically included in the CNC YYC project. We are aiming to make at least 10000 observations. Make as many as you can over the four days of competition (April 24-27). Post them as soon as you can so people can begin to ID them.

Making Identifications

If you are not able to get out to one of our events or make any observations on your own, you can still participate by creating an account and helping to identify organisms people have uploaded within Calgary. Identifying species will help us to increase our participant and species numbers.

The most convenient way to make multiple IDs is to use the Identify function on a desktop. Type in “City of Calgary” under location and all of the most recent observations will be posted. You can also search for particular species within that area by typing the name into the species search field.

If you are using the mobile app and would like to make IDs, you can access the CNC YYC observations in two ways.

  1. Find the Explore tab and search for City of Calgary. All of the most recent observations will come up and you can begin to identify things by clicking on the observations.
  2. Search for the CNC YYC Project. Go to Projects and look for
    City Nature Challenge 2020: Calgary Metropolitan Region

How To Make an Identification

To make an identification, simply click on an observation made during CNC YYC. Go to the “Activity Section” where you can “Suggest ID“. Click this to a view a list of suggestions or begin to type the name of what the species name is. Sometimes the common names vary so be sure to click the correct species name.

Generalized IDs

Sometimes people post photos that are listed as unknown. This means that the person did not attempt to identify it. Other times the image is of poor quality and the observation cannot be classified as a particular organism. Even if you aren’t an expert, you can still help in the ID process by making generalized IDs. Here is an example: Let’s say there is a photo of a bird photographed in Calgary that looks like a crow or a raven but you can’t decide which it is. Rather than make a species ID, you can simply type “Birds” or “Crows and Ravens” so that others (often experts) will be able to find and help ID the observation.

If you would like to see all of the observations and species observed during CNC YYC, visit and join the iNaturalist project page.