City Nature Challenge

City Nature Challenge 2021

Zoo Knoxville and the Tennessee Butterfly Monitoring Network will once again host the City Nature Challenge in Knox County. Plus in 2021 we’ll expand to the 9-county area so more people can participate!

What: Cities all over the world will collaborate to observe as much wildlife as possible. Help us record observations of wild plants, animals, fungi and more to see how much nature we can find across the planet while learning who lives nearby.

Where and When: Anywhere in Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier and Union counties. Dates are April 30th – May 3rd, 2021.

Who: Everyone is welcome to record observations. No experience is needed.

How: Download the iNaturalist app to your smartphone (Google Play or App Store), create an account and then start taking pictures using the app. If you don’t have a smartphone you can take pictures with a digital camera and upload them to the iNaturalist website. Observations can become research quality data that helps scientists learn more about nature.

Get updates: Visit the City Nature Challenge 2021: Knox Area project page for more information. If you have a free iNaturalist account you can join the project to receive updates about news and events happening before, during and after the challenge.

Tennessee Butterfly Monitoring Network

TBMN is a citizen science program of Zoo Knoxville to monitor butterfly population trends on managed lands across Tennessee. We strive to connect butterfly enthusiasts with public lands, help land owners manage their properties for the benefit of pollinators and inspire the public to enjoy and protect butterflies and other pollinators.

Trained volunteers adopt a 1 – 2 mile route that they monitor at least once every two weeks from mid-April to the end of July, identifying every butterfly they see to the best of their ability. To learn more about volunteering, email Steve McGaffin at

You can also follow us on Facebook at: TBMN.ORG

Butterfly Foray and Monarch Tagging at Seven Islands State Birding Park

Enjoy the wonder and beauty of flying flowers as we search the park for monarchs and other butterflies. To help scientists understand the monarch migration, we’ll put special tags on the monarchs we’re able to catch. Kids of all ages are welcome. We’ll start at 1:00pm with a brief explanation of the monarch migration and its importance. We’ll take a short hike (1-2 miles) through the park to find butterflies and tag as many monarchs as we can. Butterfly nets will be provided, but if you have your own, feel free to bring it. Please note that monarch populations and migration patterns vary. On any day we could see many, few or none. No matter how many we see, we’ll learn about why monarchs and other butterflies are fascinating, their importance and how we can help them. Sturdy shoes are recommended.

Location: Seven Islands State Birding Park
Time: 1:00pm – 3:00pm

We had a great 2020 season! Thanks to everyone that came, helped and supported monarch research. Can’t get enough butterflies? Follow us on Facebook at TBMN.ORG

2021 Dates will be posted by August 1st

Ages: All, but need to be able to walk 2 miles on trails.
Price: $8 per person

Advance Registration is required. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Helpful hint: On the registration page when you click “Requires Date and Time” it will highlight the next available date in dark gray and other available dates in light gray for the number of participants you selected. If a date isn’t highlighted, then there are not enough spaces left on that date for your group size.

For more information or questions, email Steve McGaffin at Sunday – Thursday or call 865-637-5331 x8 Sunday – Friday.

Proceeds support Tennessee Butterfly Monitoring Network, a research and conservation project of Zoo Knoxville, and Friends of Seven Islands State Birding Park.