City Nature Challenge – El Paso

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What is the CNC?

Started in 2016 for the first-ever Citizen Science Day, the citizen science teams at Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and California Academy of Sciences dreamed up the City Nature Challenge as a fun way to take advantage of their home cities’ friendly rivalry and hold a citizen science event around urban biodiversity. Since then, the City Nature Challenge (CNC) has grown into an international event, motivating people around the world to find and document plants and wildlife in their cities.

Join Texas Parks and Wildlife, Franklin Mountains State Park, Audubon Society, Green Hope Project, Frontera Land Alliance and many others in this fun BioBlitz challenge to represent the city of El Paso! Our goal is to document the most species during April 30 – May 3, 2021.

How can I participate?

Anyone can participate in the City Nature Challenge and making observations is easy using the iNaturalist app.

You can download the app on your phone from:

How it works:

The 2021 City Nature Challenge takes place in 2 parts:

April 30 – May 3: Taking pictures of plants and wildlife
May 4 – May 9: Finish uploading and identifying what was found


How to make observations using iNaturalist:

Instructions in Spanish:


For further, detailed instructions, visit our iNaturalist help page

Click here to see iNaturalist observations made in El Paso

Where can I participate?

Any observation made in El Paso county counts towards the challenge, however, here are some ideas of places to go to get you started.
Click on the map to explore the different pins.

Can’t make it to any of those places? No problem!!
Explore outside your house or neighborhood!

Share your experience on social media and don’t forget to use #EPCityNatureChallenge2021 and #CityNatureChallenge

What should I be looking for?

The El Paso region is full of life – you just have to look! Over the course of the four days (April 30 – May 3), you can participate by exploring the life in your backyard, in your local park, or on a field trip with your local naturalist group. Any observations made during this time will count for the challenge.

Wildlife is all around us, and even if you’re not an expert, you can certainly capture amazing
observations. Here are a few resources to help guide you in the identification process.



El Paso Desert – Common Chihuahuan Desert plants and wildlife
Centennial Museum Chihuahuan Desert Plant Database – plants of the Greater Chihuahuan Desert Region
Merlin App. – Bird Identification
El Paso/Trans-Pecos Audubon Society – Bird Checklists
Rio Bosque Educational Brochure Series – Insects, Birds, Reptiles, Mammals and Plants of the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park
Insect Identification – Texas Insects
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension – Southwest Bugs Showcase and Image Database
In the desert – Reptile Key and Images
UTEP Biodiversity Collections – Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles of the El Paso-Juarez Border Region

Live Events:

  • A 1.5 hour guided hike by Frontera Land Alliance at the Archeology Museum Desert Trail-Castner Range
  • A 2 hour tour at Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site
    • May 1, 2021
    • at 10:00am
    • $9 for 13 and older; $2 for 12 and younger
    • Masks Encouraged
    • Space is limited; Call (915) 857-1135 for reservation
  • Franklin Mountains State Park will host 1 hour hikes through the park
    • May 1, 2021
    • All day; every hour on the hour
    • Entrance fee is $5 per adult (13+)
    • Masks Encouraged
    • First come, first served – 10 participants per hike
    • Sign-up at the information booth at the Tom Mays Unit visitor center
  • A 2 hour guided hike of Knapp Land by Frontera Land Alliance

Teacher Resources

Though the pandemic does not allow us to engage in the CNC with groups of people like we have in past years, teachers and students alike can still partake in this fun and exciting learning opportunity!
Below are some resources, activities, and lessons plans to help teachers bring the CNC into their classrooms (in-person and virtually).


Educator guide for tips for facilitating, managing, and supporting student outdoor learning and exploration in schoolyards, nearby park, or other green space: HERE

Learn how to best use iNaturalist with students, which can be used in any formal or informal education setting: HERE

Integrate iNaturalist into your Curriculum/Education Program. Visit iNaturalist’s Educator Basecamp for short classroom and field activities and lessons for all ages! HERE



Earn Badges


Make 10 observations and earn this badge!!
~Save this badge once you’ve made 10 observations and post to your social media using #EPCityNatureChallenge2021






Make 25 observations and earn this badge!!
~Save this badge once you’ve made 25 observations and post to your social media using #EPCityNatureChallenge2021





Make 50 observations and earn this badge!!
~Save this badge once you’ve made 50 observations and post to your social media using #EPCityNatureChallenge2021




Covid-19 Related Information

We want to remind our participants that we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, therefore, we remind everyone to carefully follow public health guidelines provided by the city and county of El Paso, as they are changing in real-time. Individual safety and public health are our utmost priority.

We want to encourage people to head outdoors and participate in the CNC, but do so in a mindful manner. This means wearing a face covering when needed and as required by health guidelines, remaining socially distant (at least 6 feet away from non-household members), and practicing good hand washing hygiene. Be sure to check with the site you intend on visiting for any specific health guidelines.

For more information and questions regarding to COVID-19 and the CNC please click on the link below:

CNC and Covid-19 FAQ’s



Click on the picture to see a list of frequently asked questions.

Planning Organizations

Planning the El Paso City Nature Challenge was made possible by the hard work and collaboration of many amazing local organizations!



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