Participate in the 2021 City Nature Challenge

This post was contributed by Youth Services Librarian Ashley Hamernik.

The City Nature Challenge, opens a new window began as a small, friendly competition between the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco five years ago. Today, it’s an international event that encourages people to find and document wildlife and plants in and around their cities. 

This year, Omaha Public Library (OPL) has partnered with City of Omaha Parks and Recreation, opens a new window to create a series of short videos detailing how families with kids of all ages can participate in the City Nature Challenge. Each video is aimed at a different age group and discusses ways to explore the outdoors using ordinary objects such as jump ropes or magnifying glasses. 

To participate in this year’s Omaha Metro City Nature Challenge, opens a new window, simply download the iNaturalist app, opens a new window, then decide what area of the city you would like to explore as a family. (We explored Hummel Park for our video, but your local park, backyard, or garden are great options, too!) From April 30–May 3, the Challenge asks participants to take photos and upload them to the iNaturalist app in the City Nature Challenge 2021: Omaha Metro Area Project.

StoryWalks® in Omaha Parks

If you’re looking for another fun activity to do while documenting wildlife, seek out OPL’s StoryWalks® in area parks, April 24–May 8. Stories and locations include: 

To encourage the public to share photos of kids or families enjoying the StoryWalks®, OPL is giving away five copies of "The Nature Connection, opens a new window" by Clare Walker Leslie. Anyone can enter the drawing for one of the five books by posting a photo from either the four StoryWalks® or of your family participating in the City Nature Challenge to either Facebook, opens a new windowInstagram, opens a new window or Twitter, opens a new window and tagging @OmahaLibrary or including #OmahaLibrary in your post. Entries will be accepted from April 24 to May 8 and winners of the drawing will be notified on May 10.

To read more about venturing outdoors, learn about citizen science (the involvement of the public in scientific research), and find books about nature walks, check out this City Nature Challenge 2021 Reading List, opens a new window!

Thank you to Sara Kolala, Recreation Coordination for City of Omaha Parks and Recreation, and her family for helping to create our videos.  

Thank you to our City Nature Challenge partners, including Omaha STEM Ecosystem, opens a new window, Fontenelle Forest, opens a new window, Mulhalls, opens a new window, Joslyn Castle, opens a new window, Keep Omaha Beautiful, opens a new window, Heron Haven Wetland Sanctuary, opens a new window, Nebraska Wildlife Rehab, Inc., opens a new window, City of Omaha Parks and Recreation, opens a new window, and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium, opens a new window.

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Omaha Public Library