Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

LA BioBlitz Challenge is Back – Upload Your Local Plant and Animal Photos by Sept. 30


Hard to believe it’s already the middle of September… and that means we’re already half way through the second annual Los Angeles BioBlitz Challenge, sponsored by the Los Angeles Public Library’s Neighborhood Science Program and LA Sanitation & Environment’s Biodiversity Program.

The goal of the BioBlitz – open to all Angelenos ages 13+ (but younger kids can also participate with parents’ help) – to document as many kinds of wild plants and animals as possible, throughout the city, and upload those observations to the iNaturalist app, where they can be mapped, counted, and catalogued.

According to the LAPL:


“Los Angeles is located in a global biodiversity hot spot and has an incredible array of native animals, plants and ecosystems to explore. We need your help to better protect and understand where different species of plants and animals live across the City by uploading observations to iNaturalist. Every time you do, especially in observation cold spots in the map, you contribute to the knowledge about the City’s biodiversity that supports protecting and conserving local wildlife and their habitats.”


Participation is easy – just download the iNaturalist app from Google Play or the App Store, snap photos of plants and animals you find in your yard and neighborhood, and upload them to the LA BioBlitz Challenge project on iNaturalist before the end of September.

All the entries are mapped on the iNaturalist BioBlitz project page, so you can see the specific entries from your neighborhood or other places you may visit, and click on them to see details.



There’s also a heat map on the LAPL site, showing hotspots where the most entries have been made so far during the Blitz, and “cooler” areas with little participation so far.  If you want to be particularly helpful, suggests the Library, visit one of those cool areas, where no one’s made many entries yet, and start snapping photos.



Also, while photos of all plant and animal species are helpful, the Library says the city is particularly interested in locating indicator species, which are, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, an “organism—often a microorganism or a plant—that serves as a measure of the environmental conditions that exist in a given locale.”

The LAPL says:


“When indicator species are present it typically means there is high quality habitat. Most of these species (e.g., mule deer, great horned owls) are typically dependent on natural areas and are mostly found in parks and in large areas of open space. However, if you are lucky, you might be able to see some of them, like bumblebees and monarch butterflies, in your backyard or neighborhood. Other indicator species, like the red-winged blackbird, are typically found in or near streams, rivers, lakes, and other water bodies.”


The library has an A-Z photo index of indicator species at


Bumblebees, California Kingsnakes, and California Quail are among the valuable “indicator species” especially valuable in the BioBlitz Challenge.


And you can find even more information on local  indicator species in this handy booklet from LA Sanitation.

Finally, to provide a bit of additional motivation, people who submit 10 or more observations, including three or more indicator species, can fill out a completion form on the library’s website, to be entered into a prize drawing.

For more information on how to get started, watch this short video:



Or read the Library’s detailed FAQ, packed with all the details you may ever want to know about the BioBlitz and the BioBlitz Challenge.

Then download the iNaturalist app, create an account, join the BioBlitz project on the app…and start taking photos.  And, of course – and most important – enjoy your two remaining weeks of BioBlitzing!


This author’s latest BioBlitz/iNaturalist contribution, found on her kitchen window two days ago.


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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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