Garry oaks. Long-spurred violets. Green herons. Help show the world how biodiverse our region is by joining the Northwest Science Writers Association for BioBlitz 2023! We are counting nature (wild plant and animal species) in Seattle’s Seward Park in South Seattle as part of the international 2023 City Nature Challenge. Register for our April 30 event here!

Garry Oak

Garry Oak, courtesy of born1945.

  • WHAT: City Nature Challenge 2023
  • WHEN: April 30, 2023 at 2 p.m.
  • WHERE: Seward Park in South Seattle
  • WHAT ELSE: Following two hours of counting nature, join us for a post-event drink at Lottie’s Lounge in Columbia City


  1. First, download the iNaturalist app on your smart phone. Here’s a short video tutorial to help get you started.
  2. If you’re in the Seattle Metro Area, you can join the “2023 City Nature Challenge: Seattle-Tacoma Metropolitan Area” iNaturalist project on the app. More about the challenge and a how-to guide. By default, though, all observations in our metro area made during the challenge days will count.
  3. You can practice uploading your observations by snapping photos of plants, insects and other wildlife (we love domestic plants and animals, but they don’t count for this).
  4. For members in or around Seattle, we’ll meet at Seward Park at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 30. We are meeting at the park’s Audubon Center (5902 Lake Washington Blvd S). After a brief orientation, teams of two will fan out across the park to count, count, count. For the next two hours, we’ll photograph and log all plant and animal sightings into the iNaturalist app (make sure you download it ahead of time). Bring a magnifying glass, loupe, telephoto (equipped with geotagging), notebook, or anything else that will help you spot and capture flora and fauna, then upload it to the app.
  5. After counting, the NSWA group will head to Lottie’s Lounge in Columbia City (4900 Rainier Ave S) to raise a glass to nature, share our findings with each other, and begin the species verification process (this second part of the challenge runs from April 28 to May 7, and ensures that verified observations can be used by researchers).

In 2022, 654 observers helped Seattle log 7,705 observations of 1,280 species. Last year, 445 cities motivated more than 67,220 people to upload more than 1.6 million observations to iNaturalist in the four days of the City Nature Challenge.

Not in the Seattle area? You can still participate! Many other NW locations are already listed, or you can add your own for the City Nature Challenge. Even if you can’t join us on April 30, you can still participate as well! Follow the first three steps and start counting in your area anytime from April 28 to May1.

Green Heron

Green Heron, courtesy of Franco Folini.

Results will be announced Monday, May 8! What will we find this year?