Skip to main content

Hundreds of local community scientists identify more than 1,000 species in Seattle-Tacoma metro area

Posted by Meghan Sawyer, Communications

Western fairy-slipper by Kelly Jin

Seattle-Tacoma represent! More than 550 observers took part in this year’s City Nature Challenge spanning King and Pierce counties, including Everett, Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Snohomish and any place in between! Between April 30 and May 3, community scientists submitted more than 7,000 nature observations and identified more than 1,200 species showing the world the incredible biodiversity in the region’s home turf. That’s the region’s all-time record!

“This year we had more observers participate, more observations made and more species identified in the Seattle-Tacoma area than we have since our region joined City Nature Challenge in 2017! We’ve also heard from participants that they learned about species they weren’t familiar with before and loved learning how to use the iNaturalist app to make nature observations!” said Katie Remine, Living Northwest Conservation Coordinator at Woodland Park Zoo.

Red-trumpet Calcareous Tubeworm Serpula columbiana by Gregory C Jensen.

Some of the sightings reported in this area were pretty rare—Gregory C. Jensen spotted a species of paddle worm that has only ever been observed by one other person on the entire iNaturalist platform! This is also the first year the Seattle-Tacoma project had divers searching for wildlife below the waves, leading to new species documented on the platform like a trojan star, a grunt sculpin, and painted greenling.

“We are incredibly excited and energized by so many community scientists participating in the 2021 City Nature Challenge,” said Craig Standridge, Conservation Engagement Coordinator at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. “The effort of over 500 dedicated volunteers yielded data that is incredibly important, helps inform habitat management and contributes to research projects. The City Nature Challenge is a magnificent example of how community members can advance conservation, and we are so proud to be part of this effort in engaging our community and connecting people to their natural neighborhood.”

Western Gray Squirrel Sciurus griseus by Brandon Hawn

To view all of the observations from the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area this year, visit 

What is the City Nature Challenge? City Nature Challenge is a global community science challenge which encourages people to find, identify and record living things within an area in a set amount of time.

City Nature Challenge is organized on a global scale by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences. Woodland Park Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park partner to promote the challenge in the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area, supporting and coaching the community in how to participate in the challenge, advance science, and discover nature and wildlife for themselves. You can be a community scientist any day of the week! For more information on how you can join, visit or

San Francisco Lacewing Nothochrysa californica by Luca Hickey.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the 2021 City Nature Challenge!