Museum of New Mexico Media Center Press Release

City Nature Challenge returns to the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center on April 28

New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science

April 20, 2023


Cedar Crest, NM – Held in partnership with the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center (SMNHC), the ABQ Backyard Refuge Program through Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, and other local partners, City Nature Challenge ABQ invites everyone in Bernalillo, Sandoval, and Valencia counties to explore nature in and around your community and share your observations from Friday, April 28th through Monday, May 1st.  

Get outside in the spring weather and see what wild plants, animals and their evidence, and fungi you can find around your home, neighborhood, city parks, open spaces, national forest land, or wherever you choose to explore. Contribute to knowledge of urban wildlife and feel connected to people across the world that are doing the same thing at the same time! There are also in-person events being hosted by several local partners that participants can join. 

City Nature Challenge is a worldwide collaborative effort to find and document nature observations of all kinds in and around cities. Over 485 cities in 46 countries are participating in this 8th annual event, organized by San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. SMNHC is owned by Albuquerque Public Schools and is jointly operated with the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. 

The City Nature Challenge promotes community science, in which people of all ages – from avid outdoor enthusiasts to nature newbies – can participate in searching for and documenting urban biodiversity while helping scientists. As human populations worldwide continue to concentrate more in cities, it is increasingly important to pay attention to wildlife in urban areas. From a recent study on threatened species in Madagascar to broader research on insect population trends over the last few decades, more than 750 scientific studies were published using iNaturalist data in 2022. This data helps policymakers make informed conservation decisions that allow humans to coexist with the wildlife around them and view themselves as a part of, not apart from, nature. 

City Nature Challenge ABQ is participating for the 5th time in 2023! This year, the hope is to beat past records for numbers of observations, species, and participants, and expand the range more throughout Sandoval and Valencia counties. 

It’s easy to participate! First, set up an account on or download the app. Then, take photos of wild animals and their signs (tracks, scat, feathers, etc.), plants, and fungi you find from April 28th through May 1st, and submit your observations on the iNaturalist website or app. You’ll even have a chance to help identify others’ observations and receive support from the iNaturalist community through May 7th. 

To learn more about City Nature Challenge ABQ and how to take part on your own or by attending a public event, head to or join the City Nature Challenge ABQ iNaturalist project. Participants can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Visit to learn more about this global event and to access an Education Toolkit for getting students involved. 

About the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center The Sandia Mountain Natural History Center (SMNHC) is an environmental education center located in the Sandia Mountains just east of Albuquerque, N.M. Our beautiful 128-acre piece of primarily piñon-juniper forest is owned by Albuquerque Public Schools and is jointly operated by the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science through the State of New Mexico. 

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