Branch Out

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Marketing and Communications Office: 8:30–4:30 M–F

TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway Suite 324
Fairfax, VA 22035

Christina Paladeau,
Editor, Branch Out

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Join the City Nature Challenge


Calling all budding naturalists to represent the DMV! 

How It Works

The City Nature Challenge (CNC) is a friendly competition between more than 150 cities around world to see which one can observe the most nature. Fairfax County will participate in the CNC for the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

It’s free and easy to participate:

  1. Download the free app. Download iNaturalist to your mobile device and create a free profile to begin.
  2. Take photos of wildlife. Go for nature walks through your neighborhood and take pictures of any plants, animals or evidence of wildlife — everything from fungi and slime mold to animal tracks and shells — found in the D.C. area. Note where you took the photo.
  3. Share your observations. Upload your photos to the iNaturalist app, and individuals from around the world will help label the observations.

Ways to Win

The challenge takes place in two parts. Participants will take photos April 24-27, then users will help identify those discoveries April 28-May 3. The metro areas with the most participants, the highest number of observations and the largest variety of plant and animal species found will win the competition. Last year, the D.C. area came in 5th for the most participants, 11th for the most observations; and 15th for the number of species found. Let’s improve this ranking!

The library is hosting several nature hikes to help you learn how to use the iNaturalist app. Visit for dates, times and locations. For more information about the CNC, visit

Fairfax Virtual Assistant