Activity: What Do You See Outdoors?

head of a young hawk

Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk Photo: Tudor Place Historic House & Garden.

Join the City Nature Challenge to spot and identify plants, animals, and bugs in your town and compete with other cities around the world! Learn more about the City Nature Challenge in Washington, DC.

  • In the first part of the Challenge, from April 30 to May 3, take pictures of wild plants and animals, using the helpful tips below.
  • Then, from May 4 to May 9, identify the species that were found.

If you’re participating in the City Nature Challenge, or just enjoying the nature around you, it is important to be a good observer.

When observers see something they want to share with other people, they take detailed notes! These notes are observations, or a record of everything you noticed.

When you make an observation you should record:

  1. Who you are! What is your name?
  2. Where are you? Are you in a park? In a garden?
  3. When did you see this plant or animal? What time is it?
  4. What you saw! Describe what you’re looking at! For example, if it’s a plant, does it have lots of leaves? Are they big or small? What color are they? What shape are they? Do they look soft or spiky? Does it have flowers? What color are they? What shape are they? What do they smell like?
  5. Take lots of photographs from different angles and different distances. This will help you and other people identify what you’re looking at!
  6. Practice!

You can use an observation sheet like this printable one to keep track of everything:


Now you are ready to be an observer! What can you discover? Share your observations with us by email

Second of a two-part City Nature Challenge series

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