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CNC Group Photo

Third Annual City Nature Challenge Recap

Release Date: 2024-05-10

By: Tatiana Roque & Ashley Chi

The City of Long Beach Office of Climate Action & Sustainability held its third annual City Nature Challenge (CNC) event at Willow Springs Park on Saturday, April 27th, 2024. Created by the Natural History Museum, the City Nature Challenge has become a global initiative, motivating people around the world to find and document wildlife in their cities as community scientists. The goal of CNC is to encourage community members to explore nature and record observations on an app called iNaturalist. According to the Natural History Museum, this year’s City Nature Challenge brought the highest number of participants worldwide, with a total of 2,436,844 observations

City Nature Challenge 2024 Results

Willow Springs Park is a native habitat restoration site located in Long Beach, California. Home to a diversity of native species, over 100 community members explored the park, documenting over 80 observations on iNaturalist. Willow Springs Park currently has over 1,400 observations and 383 species recorded on iNaturalist thanks to all the community scientists who have made observations over the years. Some of the different species found at the park include California brittlebush, mulefat, coyote bush, western fence lizard, Anna’s hummingbird, and desert cottontail.

California BrittlebushCoyote Bush

The Office’s aim for this annual event is to increase curiosity and engagement through nature-based activities. It is an opportunity to empower communities by connecting to the land and local habitat and engaging in community science. This year the Office was joined by 14 community partners and organizations who offered the following activities activities to encourage parkgoers to engage with the environment around them:

  • The Long Beach Public Library hosted a story time and provided free wildlife educational materials.
  • The Conservation Corps of Long Beach showcased various wildlife artifacts, including a bat display, for visitors to interact with.
  • The Friends of Willow Springs handed out mini bouquets of mustard and crown daisy, explaining the characteristics of the nonnative—or visiting—plants and their role as invasive species at Willow Springs.
  • Jorge Ochoa, Long Beach City College Horticulture professor, led folks on an adventurous nature walk with a bug catcher, sharing his knowledge about local flora and fauna.
  • Ground Education shared their love for connecting nature spaces and education by bringing newly born chicks and teaching guests how to hold them properly.
LBCC horticulture professor Jorge Ochoa using a bug catcher to teach nature walk participants about plant and bug species.Three City Nature Challenge participants holding baby chicks

“My favorite part of the City Nature Challenge was that I learned something new about California,” Nia Pascual, a new Willow Springs Park visitor, said. “I’ve lived in the state my entire life, so it was eye-opening to experience an event that highlights the diversity of native plants within the state.”

This event would not have been as successful without all of our participants. The Office of Climate Action & Sustainability would like to thank all those who joined us for a day filled with exploration, discovery, and inspiration in the heart of nature at Willow Springs Park. We all play a role as community scientists, and sharing our observations helps promote the conservation of native habitat which is essential to the well-being of Long Beach residents.

CNC participant with passport activity booklet and flower bouquetCNC Nature Walk participants make observations using a bug catcher

Parent and two children play with a butterfly wing costume at City Nature Challenge

Stay tuned for more events in the future by signing up for our newsletter and following us on social media (@lbsustainability on Instagram and Facebook). Enjoy another chance to explore Willow Springs by joining the Office’s California Climate Action Corps Fellows on a Willow Springs Park nature walk on Saturday, May 18th.

Thank you to our amazing community partners who joined us in making this a joyful event: 

Aquarium Teen Climate Council | Long Beach Bee Keepers | Long Beach Community Compost | California Climate Action Corps | Conservation Corps of Long Beach | Friends of Willow Springs Park | Future LB, Pacific Gateway | Ground Education | Long Beach City College Horticulture | Long Beach Recycles | Long Beach Public Library | Long Beach Utilities | Puente Latino Association | Sowing Seeds Of Change