Founded in 1853, the Academy has its roots in documenting and understanding California biodiversity. Today, we’re working with volunteers to build a new, comprehensive picture of where plants and animals occur in California. Building this new baseline will allow us to compare our findings to our historic collections, constructing a dataset that can be used to measure further change—and to help our partners plan for it. At the same time, we’re building a corps of highly engaged and active citizen scientists.
City Nature Challenge
Started by citizen science staff at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and California Academy of Sciences, the City Nature Challenge is an international effort for people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. It’s a bioblitz-style competition where cities are in a contest against each other to see who can make the most observations of nature, who can find the most species, and who can engage the most people. This year, there are over 120 competing cities on six continents; the competition is fierce!
Snapshot Cal Coast
Snapshot Cal Coast is a California statewide effort to document our coastal biodiversity and hold a series of bioblitzes up and down the California Coast, focusing on intertidal zones in marine protected areas (MPAs). We will be working together with the MPA Collaborative Network and other partners to create a "snapshot" in time of where species are located along our coast. So dig out your rubber boots and come join us in the tidepools!
Intertidal Biodiversity Survey at Pillar Point
In partnership with the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, the California Academy of Sciences is documenting the biodiversity of Pillar Point Reef through large-scale bioblitzes, long-term citizen science monitoring, and casual observation. Our citizen scientists have documented over 570 species, building a baseline species list for Pillar Point and coming closer to understanding the effects of environmental impacts like Starfish Wasting Disease.
The Learning and Environmental science Agency Research Network for Citizen Science (LEARN CitSci) is an international, collaborative project aiming to study how youth learn and gain agency through natural history museum-led citizen science projects. Along with the natural history museums of LA and London and learning researchers at UC Davis, Oxford University and Open University, the California Academy of Sciences is working to understand how citizen science can better serve youth and empower the next generation of scientists.
Urban Biodiversity Inventories
Led by San Francisco, nine cities and towns across the country participated in a pilot project using the Urban Biodiversity Information Framework (UBIF) to develop new ways to inventory their biodiversity using the iNaturalist app. The Academy Citizen Science team partnered on an implementation plan and creation of new tools for cities to conduct inventories that follow the guidelines of the UBIF. This collaborative work is a grant-funded project of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN). The tools and resources developed were created as part of an USDN Innovation Fund grant to the City of San Francisco’s Department of the Environment and matching contributions from the Presidio Trust and the seedfund.
Our bioblitzes are powered by iNaturalist, our in-house, citizen science platform. It's a community-powered website and app that makes it easy to upload and share your observations in the field and to get help from other users with flora and fauna IDs.