City of Melbourne is participating in the City Nature Challenge this year, an annual global citizen science BioBlitz event running from Friday 28 April to Monday 1 May 2023.
We are joining over 25 councils across metropolitan Melbourne along with community organisations to represent Greater Melbourne on a global stage, with the aim to gather the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people.
Over the four day challenge, we need your help to discover and document more of the unique animals, plants and fungi in our city.
How to get involved
Sign up to iNaturalist and record biodiversity sightings in the city from Friday 28 April to Monday 1 May 2023.
There are two main ways to be involved:
- Join one of our expert-led BioBlitz events.
- Carry out your own BioBlitz.
Expert-led BioBlitz events
Register for our in-person, free BioBlitz events, led by our expert researchers and local community groups.
Check out below the events happening across the City of Melbourne during the four day challenge. Keep up to date with this page for new events being listed.
If you can’t get to the city, explore the other fun activities happening across greater Melbourne and get involved.
BioBlitz event dates and sign up
Friday 28 April 2023 12:30 pm – 01:30 pm
Birrarung Floating Wetlands - lunchtime BioBlitz
Join this lunchtime guided BioBlitz walk led by ecologist Jacinta Humphrey, to explore our new floating wetlands that are being trialled along the Yarra River. Learn about how you can use iNaturalist to record observations of wildlife, and contribute to the ongoing monitoring to build our knowledge of the ecology of the river.Register to attend.
Saturday 29 April 2023 09:30 am – 11:30 am
Birrarung Floating Wetlands - guided BioBlitz walk
Join this guided BioBlitz walk led by ecologist Jacinta Humphrey, to explore our new floating wetlands that are being trialled along the Yarra River. Learn about how you can use iNaturalist to record observations of wildlife, and contribute to the ongoing monitoring to build our knowledge of the ecology of the river.
Saturday 29 April 2023 09:45 am – 01:00 pm
BioBlitz and habitat restoration at Westgate Park
Hosted by Conservation Volunteers Australia, take part in a biodiversity survey and get your hands dirty in a hand weeding blitz at Westgate Park. Learn about Westgate Park’s diverse native flora and fauna, the important role they play, and how biodiversity has changed over time.
Carry out your own BioBlitz
Have a go at a self-guided walk to explore Melbourne’s hidden nature, or discover nature at your doorstep with a backyard BioBlitz at home.
Log observations of wild plants, animals or fungi that you can find using the iNauralist mobile app or website. Before you head out, be sure to have iNaturalist installed on your device.
From parks, to streetscapes and green laneways, there are many places to discover Melbourne’s biodiversity. Some locations you could visit include:
- open green space and parks including Royal Park, Westgate Park, Fitzroy Gardens, JJ Holland Park, Flagstaff Gardens, Carlton Gardens and Gardiner Reserve.
- the Birrarung trial floating wetlands
- the Woody Meadow at Birrarung Marr
- leafy, green Guildford Lane (part of the Green Your Laneway program)
- Royal Botanic Gardens.
iNaturalist training information
Using iNaturalist is really simple:
- Download iNaturalist mobile app or go to website and create account.
- Mobile app: Learn how to download the iNaturalist app for Apple or Android users using these simple guides prepared by Maroondah City Council.
- Website: Head to www.inaturalist.org and ‘log in’ or ‘sign up’ using the top right button.
- Find something in nature and snap a photo (or sounds recording), upload via the app or computer.
- Identify the species you’ve observed to the best extent you can. It’s ok if you can’t determine the species, others can help identify it later on.
- Add date, time and location (added automatically in the app).
- You can add notes or include additional photos.
- Then share to the public, so all can see and help identify as needed.
Including photos of key features of what you are observing will make it easier for the iNaturalist community to identify or verify your observation. Here are some tips:
- Try to get multiple photos that are clear, well-lit, and show as many details of the specimen as possible.
- For grasses: photograph the seed heads, base of the plant, and where the blades intersect the stem, and individual seeds if you can.
- For flowering plants: photograph the entire flower itself, but also the entire plant and leaf structure
- For trees: photograph the leaves, bark, branching patterns, overall form, and buds, flowers and any fruit if present.
- For ferns: photograph the front and back of the leaf (‘frond’), along with the overall plant form. Ferns have spores on the underside of their fronds. This can vary greatly between species, so it’s an important identifying feature to capture.
- For fungi: photograph the top, side and bottom of the fungi, as well as the environment it’s growing in. Try to take a photograph of the gills on the underside by using the phone’s front-facing (‘selfie’) camera or a small mirror.
- For animals:
- For larger animals like birds and mammals, photograph the animal’s colour, shape and face details. Include a photo with a bit of the surrounding scenery to show its location.
- For animals that are difficult to photograph with a phone, don’t forget that you can record their calls, or use a digital camera and upload the photos later.
- Observations of animal parts such as feathers, fur, scat, deceased organisms, bones can all be photographed and identified on iNaturalist.
- Avoid taking photos of planted specimens and domestic animals (for example, cats and dogs).
Explore these easy-to-follow video tutorials from iNaturalist cover both the basics and more intermediate steps of making high quality observations.
City of Hume is hosting an iNaturalist training webinar at 7.30pm Wednesday 26 April 2023, to help you get up to speed on how to use iNaturalist before the City Nature Challenge commences.
Everyone is welcome. Register to attend.
Our City of Melbourne Libraries staff can help you learn how to use iNaturalist to get you started on your City Nature Challenge journey.
Book a free, one-on-one, in person appointment here for digital assistance. Book online, or call 9658 9500 to make a time.
During the City Nature Challenge, explore observations across City of Melbourne on iNaturalist, and help identify and validate observations made by others. Let’s work together and show the world the incredible biodiversity of Melbourne.Explore City of Melbourne’s iNaturalist page.