As we’re all spending a lot more time in our own gardens and local parks (whilst observing suitable social distancing), I’m sure you will have noticed trees coming into blossom, insects flitting around the garden, and maybe even the odd nocturnal visitor? Why not get involved with the City Nature Challenge this weekend and record your sightings as part of a global bioblitz?
Taking place from the Friday 24th to Monday 27th April, this year’s City Nature Challenge is set to be the biggest yet. The idea originated back in 2016 when citizen science staff at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and California Academy of Sciences teamed up to capitalise on the friendly rivalry between their cities, and created a competition to see who could make the most recordings in their urban environment. In 2017 the event became national, and in 2018 it went international, and continues to grow in popularity. To see a list of participating cities, click here. And our new Urban Wildlife Worldwide gallery gives plenty of examples of the creatures you may encounter in city environments around the world.
Once all the sightings have been submitted the identification process starts (April 28th – May 3rd), and by the 4th May total numbers for each city taking part will be in. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s City Nature Challenge is no longer a competition, instead the team want everyone to embrace the healing power of nature and encourage the collaborative aspect of the CNC.
“This will allow people to safely document biodiversity in whatever way they can, even from the safety of their own homes if necessary. We urge all participants to carefully follow public health guidelines provided by your local governments, as they are changing in real-time. Individual safety and public health are our utmost priority.”
They’ve even set up a COVID-19 FAQ page where you can find out how best to take part while still staying safe.
What is the City Nature Challenge?
“The City Nature Challenge is an international effort for people to find and document plants and wildlife in cities across the globe. It’s a bioblitz-style event where cities are in a contest against each other to see who can make the most observations of nature, who can find the most species, and who can engage the most people.”
How do you take part?
To take part, simply download the free iNaturalist app and take photos of the plants, insects, animals, birds or fungi you spot from your windows or outside your house. No expert knowledge needed: the app will help you to ID your findings, or you can share the photo with the global community for an answer.
Urban Wildlife in Bristol
Nature Picture Library is based in the lovely south-west city of Bristol, and we’re very proud of our urban wildlife. This is a small selection from our collection of Bristol’s thriving urban wildlife. For a wider selection of British urban wildlife view the gallery here.
NPL Team Sightings
The NPL team have been enjoying the sights and sounds of spring they can see from their home, and on their outings for daily exercise. We’ll be taking part over the weekend to see how many sightings we can record and register!
Home Schooling Resources
If you’re home schooling (as so many of us are right now), why not incorporate the City Nature Challenge into a science lesson. There’s a whole Educator Basecamp section on the CNC website, with links to videos and lesson plans, and there is also a great home schooling section on the Bristol Natural History Consortium website.