Become a Biodiversity Explorer! Join City Nature Challenge

posted in: Local Conservation | 0
Boston Area City Nature Challenge | Zoo New England

Do you think that just because we live in the highly urbanized northeast that there isn’t much biodiversity here in Boston? Sure, we’re not the rainforests of Borneo, but the Boston area is still home to some pretty cool wildlife, and you can help document it. You don’t need to be an ID expert, either! All you need is a smartphone. With the help of the iNaturalist app, you can take a photo of almost any living thing, and the app (AI, plus other users) will help you identify what you found.

Citizen scientists using iNaturalist have helped discover (or rediscover) plants and animals that had been thought extinct or gone from an area. For example, in 2021, someone snapped a photo of a pretty flower in Vermont, and state botanists later discovered it was the whorled pogonia, thought to have been extinct in Vermont since 1902!

City Nature Challenge – Join the Bioblitz from April 26 – 29, 2024

While you can snap photos on iNaturalist all year-round, there is a special global bioblitz that begins this week: from April 26th – April 29th, join people from around the world to document the biodiversity around you.

To participate in the 2024 City Nature Challenge, start by downloading the iNaturalist app and creating your own account. Once you’ve created your own account, use the “Projects” tab found on the bottom right to search for the “City Nature Challenge 2024: Boston Area” and join. Note, android users should use the app in landscape mode as some buttons can be hidden otherwise. Once you’ve joined the project, all that’s left to do is get outside between April 26th – April 29th and use the “Observe” tab to take a photo, upload a photo, or record a sound. Once you’ve uploaded a photo or sound, before sharing you should make sure the date, time, and location are filled in. The you can use the “What did you see?” feature to see the iNaturalist suggestions on what the species in your photo or sound recording might be. You can also add any notes you think might be helpful for someone when they review your observation. Once you’ve filled in these details, you can go ahead and click share and your observation will be automatically included in the City Nature Challenge 2024 project! Use this tutorial to learn more about adding an observation to iNaturalist from a mobile device.

Once the observation period of the challenge is over, the identification period begins. The identification period will take place from April 30th – May 6th, where the iNaturalist community will discuss and confirm the identities of the observations, which you will be able to see on your post. By May 6th under the “me” tab, you should be able to click on any of your observations and find confirmed identification on the species you documented.

You can participate in City Nature Challenge on your own (even from your own backyard!), but it is also a perfect opportunity to explore and discover wildlife with others! Zoo New England is offering several bioblitz events during the City Nature Challenge so that you can join us to learn about the wildlife you’re documenting.

Zoo New England’s City Nature Challenge Events:

  • Friday April 26th @ 7:30am Bird walk
  • Friday April 26th @ 12:00pm Bird walk
  • Saturday April 27th @ 10:00am Vernal pool trap checking
  • Sunday April 28th @ 10:00am Bugs and fungi walk
  • Monday April 29th @ 12:00pm Bird walk

Use this Zoo New England Biodiversity Walk Registration page to check out all the details for our City Nature Challenge events and register to attend!