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Wild Boulder

Utilizing citizen science to document local wildlife and help land managers improve open space, while deepening community respect for nature

Long-eared Owl © Melanie Hill

The Opportunity

It’s no secret that Boulder County is home to some of the most diverse wildlife in all of Colorado. At least 64 mammal species, over 100 breeding bird species, more than 200 butterfly species, and countless reptiles, amphibians, and insects have been documented to date. Like many other cities across the globe, the Boulder landscape and its wildlife are experiencing a number of threats from a changing climate, fracking, human development, and more. We need help understanding how these changing conditions are affecting our wildlife.


By building relationships between urban residents and land managers through citizen science engagement, Wild Boulder is recruiting and mobilizing new advocates for nature. This collaborative team utilizes iNaturalist, an online network that provides a platform for participants to record their wildlife observations. By taking and uploading photos, species identifications, geographic locations, observation dates, and other relevant notes, citizen scientists can assist open space experts as they create a database of wildlife in the area and a plan to protect their habitats.

Discover more about Wild Boulder

The Boulder County Wildlife Project, nicknamed “Wild Boulder,” is a call for community members to take an active role in protecting our open spaces and wildlife. By participating as citizen scientists, individuals will provide local land managers with a stronger understanding of where and when these animals are being observed, and what they need to thrive in this unique ecosystem we call home.

Join the project on iNaturalist


Utilizing citizen science to document local wildlife and help land managers improve open space, while deepening community respect for nature.

Be safe. Keep wildlife safe. 

Boulder County Wildlife Project-backThe Boulder County Wildlife Project on iNaturalist is not a site for reporting issues with wildlife. Please report sick or injured wildlife to Animal Control in the City of Boulder (303-441-3333) or Boulder County (303-441-4444).

When observing wildlife, always:

  • Follow all rules and regulations posted at each property.
  • Never harass or change the behavior of wildlife in any way. Watch from a distance and do not disturb their normal behavior.
  • Observe animals from a safe distance. If the animal appears nervous, points its ears towards you, or runs away, you are too close.
  • Do not disturb nesting birds, which may cause them to abandon their nest.
  • Do not feed or approach animals, or call animals to you. Try to avoid eye contact, especially if they get alarmed.
  • Respect all wildlife closures, posted on trailhead kiosks and in brochures.



Sensitive Species:

Some species may attract unwanted attention from the public. Large numbers of people may flock to see a particular animal once its location is known, creating safety concerns for both the public and the animal.

To protect wildlife, we ask that you voluntarily obscure* or delay for several weeks posting the exact locations of sensitive species. These include:

  • Black bears
  • Mountain Lions
  • Moose
  • Long-eared Owl
  • Northern Goshawk
  • Please do not post locations of animals with young.
  • Please do not post sightings of sensitive wildlife within neighborhoods.

* To obscure your GPS data point, change the geoprivacy option in the drop down menu below the map when you post an observation. When coordinates are obscured it means that a random point within 0.2 degree of the true coordinates is shown publicly, while the true coordinates are only visible to you and project administrators.

Thank you for helping us keep our wildlife and critical habitats safe!

How to contribute observations


*We encourage you to only upload wild and non-captive observations.  Please, no photos of people, pets, or potted-plants.*

City Nature Challenge 2020

The City Nature Challenge is an ongoing project to document urban biodiversity and engage city residents in the nature around them. It’s framed as a competition between cities to see which can make the most observations, identify the most species, or have the most participants. Last year Boulder County and the Denver Metro Area competed against 159 cities throughout the globe and came up with some impressive numbers: 

  • 6,211 total observations

  • 970 plant and wildlife species identified

  • 406 observers

  • 259 identifiers

Help us show the world how biodiverse our region is by making as many observations of as many species as possible from April 24-27, 2020! Document nature in your backyard, by your school, in your favorite park or open space area, and upload your observations to iNaturalist, an online platform for citizen scientists. Any observations of plants, animals, and fungus found throughout our boundary will count. 

A collaboration through the City of Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks, Boulder County Parks & Open Space, and WILD Foundation

This partnership represents a local commitment to the concept of citizen science, which seeks to increase the pool of data available to scientists while also giving laypeople an opportunity to participate in research. The Wild Boulder team uses this citizen science program to connect residents to our environment, and unite them in a common effort through numerous digital and in-person educational opportunities.

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