2022 City Nature Challenge
Spring is right around the corner. And with that, comes critters waking from their winter naps to the warmth of the sun. Plants and flowers will sprout everywhere along with an intense allergy season. For a lot of people across the globe, it is time to start identifying for the City Nature Challenge!
What is the City Nature Challenge?
The City Nature Challenge (CNC) initially began as a challenge in California between San Francisco and L.A. Since its start in 2016, it has grown to an international level, motivating individuals across the globe to identify wildlife within their cities and regions. “Run by the Community Science teams at the California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the CNC is an annual four-day global urban bioblitz at the end of April, where cities are in a collaboration-meets-friendly-competition to see not only what can be accomplished when we all work toward a common goal, but also which city can gather the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people in the event.”
Last year, there were records from more than 400 cities and a total amount of 1.2 million observations within 4 days. The 2022 City Nature Challenge will be the biggest collection yet with Rowan County and the Charlotte-Metro region involved. We need your help to make as many new observations as possible.
This year, The City Nature Challenge officially begins on April 29, 2022 and runs through May 2, 2022.
Goals of the City Nature Challenge.
The goals of the Challenge are to create local and global networks and develop knowledge about local nature in urban/metro areas. The data that is collected is used by scientists for management and conservation purposes! You have the chance to become involved with a crucial citizen science initiative. And lastly, the purpose is to have a good time in a competition against other regions. You will also develop technical skills through using apps such as iNaturalist.
What is iNaturalist?
You may be curious about what kinds of plants are growing during this time of year, or what kind of critters are scampering about. With the advanced technology of smartphones comes an easy solution to your curiosity. iNaturalist, an app I have referenced in past blogs, is a free app that is compatible with both Apple and Android phones. It is for individuals 13 and older to use and it is extremely simple to set up. The purpose of the application is to identify animals, plants, tracks, songs, and even scat by taking photos and uploading them to the app.
How to download iNaturalist
Download the app from your app store, create your account, take a photo or upload photos from your image gallery, and change the settings based on how you collected the data. Submit the images and await feedback from scientists who will identify your specimens! It is that easy.
How can I become involved with the Rowan County and Salisbury City Nature Challenge?
Rowan Soil & Water and the City of Salisbury will be hosting information tables and iNaturalist training sessions at local Rowan and Salisbury parks. No registration is required and all are welcome. Check out the schedule below and take some time and visit our local parks! Stay tuned for more events to come!
Why is identification important?
The City Nature Challenge will help to develop a general awareness of the nature around us. It will help to answer questions like: is it harmful? Is it a native, or an invasive species? Is this good for pollinators? Is this edible?
Spending more time outdoors leads to a healthier lifestyle. Going outdoors can get you a boost of vitamin D, improve your vision and brain function, and help reduce depression and anxiety. These are crucial for your physical and mental health as the pandemic has brought a variety of new stressors into our lives. Participating in outdoor activities is also a great way to stay active while socially distancing from others.
Additionally, identification can help with conservation efforts. You have the potential to find endangered or rare species that scientists don’t have the time or resources to find. Even if your identified species are common, at least the data will appear on a global scale for scientists to reference the distribution or spread of the plant or animal for future documentation.
We look forward to seeing you citizen scientists with your noses to the ground, eyes gazing in the trees, and phones out in the name of conservation! Check out the following resources to learn more about the City Nature Challenge and how to become involved within our area.
City Nature Challenge: https://citynaturechallenge.org/
Facebook: City Nature Challenge: Charlotte Metro Region