Join in the Tri-City Nature Challenge

Guided walks, hatchery visits, children’s activities and more are in store for nature lovers across the Tri-Cities in April and early May.

The Cities of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody are collaborating with local stewardship groups, institutions and Metro Vancouver Parks to host free events and activities as part of the City Nature Challenge (CNC), a friendly global competition that encourages people to find and document wildlife in their cities.   

The challenge kicks off with an informative webinar on April 20 and features 19 events during CNC Week, April 29 to May 2. Residents may also document plants, animals and other organisms on the iNaturalist app or website to boost the Tri-Cities’ chances of winning. 

A Tri-City Collaboration 
The three cities often work together on environmental matters, given that wildlife and natural features often cross civic boundaries. However, this is the first time they have teamed up for the CNC, which began in 2016 in California and has grown into an international event. CNC is organized on a global scale by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences.

In addition to facilitating local CNC events, the Tri-Cities will compete with communities around the world to gather the most observations about nature, find the most species and engage the most people from April 29 to May 2 through iNaturalist.

Tri-City Nature Challenge Events
Signing up for iNaturalist is not required to participate in local CNC activities.

All CNC events are free and open to all Tri-City residents. Some activities require pre-registration. Details and links can be found at www.coquitlam.ca/naturechallengewww.portcoquitlam.ca/naturechallenge and www.portmoody.ca/naturechallenge.

Events requiring registration:

  • The Power of Citizen Science with conservation ecology specialist Dr. John Reynolds of SFU: April 20, 7 p.m. via Zoom. Webinar is hosted by Port Moody.
  • Bats and Other Creatures guided walk and talk on the Rotary Loop Trail: April 29, 7:30 p.m. at Westhill Park, 203 Westhill Pl., in Port Coquitlam.
  • Minnekhada Ecosystems: April 30, 9 a.m. at Coquitlam’s Minnekhada Regional Park, Quarry Road parking lot. Join the Minnekhada Park Association to explore three park ecosystems.
  • Little Naturalist Storytime: April 30, 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. at Pioneer Memorial Park, 275 Knowle St. Join Port Moody Library for a nature-themed outdoor story time. 
  • Heron Walk: April 30, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Port Moody Rec Complex tennis courts. Join local naturalists to learn about herons and help document the species.
  • Insects of Noons Creek: April 30, 9 to 11 a.m. at Noons Creek Hatchery. Discover what insects live around Noons Creek with invertebrate experts from Port Moody Ecological Society.
  • Mossom Creek: May 1, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Mossom Creek Hatchery in Port Moody. Learn about plants and animals and document them for the challenge.    

Drop-in events – no registration required:

  • Story Stroll (Self-guided): April 28 to May 6 at Pioneer Memorial Park in Port Moody. 
  • Learn about Beetles with the Institute of Urban Ecology: April 29, 10 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. at the Sol Garden at Douglas College, Pinetree Way and Town Centre Boulevard. 
  • City Nature Challenge Kickoff: April 29, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Gates Park. Drop by the tent to learn how to participate from Port Coquitlam parks staff.
  • iNaturalist Challenge: April 29 to May 2, at Port Moody Public Library, operating hours. Show your uploads on the iNaturalist app to be entered in a prize draw.
  • Scavenger Hunt: April 29 to May 2 at Port Moody Public Library, operating hours. Kids can search for local flora and fauna to be entered in a prize draw.
  • Mundy Park Bioblitz: April 30, 1 to 4 p.m. at Mundy Park’s sand volleyball court, northeast of the field house. Interactive family-friendly activities with City of Coquitlam staff.
  • Aquatic Life in Hoy Creek: April 30, 9 to 11 a.m. at Hoy Creek Hatchery in Coquitlam. Explore life in the water with Hoy/Scott Watershed Society.
  • Children’s Storytime and Nature Literacy Event: April 30, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lions Park in Port Coquitlam. Enjoy nature-themed stories, talk about plants and the Nature Challenge.
  • Intertidal Display: May 1, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the təmtəmíxʷtən/Belcarra Regional Park picnic area. Learn from a park interpreter then explore on your own.
  • Colony Farm Nature Display: May 1, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Colony Farm Regional Park’s parking lot. Learn about the park’s species before exploring on your own.
  • Native Plant Identification: May 1, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Citadel Heights Park. Learn about native species planted by Port Coquitlam’s Greener City Initiative.
  • Tri-Cities Bear Aware Booth: May 1, 2 to 4 p.m. at Port Moody’s Rocky Point Park, PCT Performance Stage. Learn about bears and their food sources.
  • Scavenger Hunt: May 2, 9 to 11 a.m. behind Hyde Creek Recreation Centre. Join City of Port Coquitlam Parks staff for a plant scavenger hunt. 

Using iNaturalist 

An initiative of National Geographic and the California Academy of Sciences, iNaturalist is a network of citizens, naturalists and biologists who map and share observations about biodiversity around the globe. 

Open to everyone, members can browse nearby posts, upload their own images and audio recordings, and receive feedback and information from the iNaturalist community. 

To have your observations counted for the Tri-Cities in this year’s City Nature Challenge:

  • Go to www.inaturalist.org or download the free iNaturalist app from the App Store or Google Play and create an account.
  • Under Projects, search for and join “City Nature Challenge 2022: Tri-Cities, British Columbia”.
  • From April 29 to May 2, click Observe on the app or Add Observations on the website to add observations of any wild living or dead organism you see in the Tri-Cities – including plants, animal, birds, fungi, etc. – or evidence of them, such as shells, feathers or scat. 
  • Observations may include descriptions, uploaded photos, or photo or audio recordings through the app. Photos should be clear and full-frame.

Visit the CNC FAQ page at www.citynaturechallenge.org for detailed instructions and tips for making eligible observations.