GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - This year's sixth annual City Nature Challenge is expanding to more than 400 cities across six continents. Beginning on Friday 30 April at 12:01 in each time zone, the challenge runs till Monday 3 May at 23:59.
During this time, all interested people are called to observe and submit photos of wild plants, animals, and fungi using the free mobile app iNaturalist.
As global human populations become increasingly concentrated in cities, it's more important than ever to document urban biodiversity and help ensure the future of plants and wildlife.
During the 2020 City Nature Challenge, participants in Miami spotted an amethyst hairstreak butterfly, a species nearly eradicated from the United States. In Panama, community scientists documented a vibrant and critically endangered harlequin frog. And in Washington DC, participants recorded Arlington County's first observation of a white-spotted slimy salamander in over 40 years.
Over 1 300 endangered, endemic, or data deficient species were recorded during the 2020 City Nature Challenge. This influx of information gives scientists, educators, urban planners and policymakers insight into the biodiversity of locations throughout the world.
Upload your observations
For the duration of the 2021 challenge, participants can upload their observations to the app. Identifications will be made from Tuesday to Sunday, 4 to 9 May. The final results will be announced on Monday 10 May.
In response to the pandemic, this year's challenge is focused on global collaboration as more than 41 000 people around the world are estimated to participate.
1. Find wildlife in your home, neighbourhood, backyard, or anywhere else. It can be any wild plant, animal, fungus, slime mold, or any other evidence of life, such as scat, fur, tracks, shells, or carcasses. For tips on finding the surprisingly abundant biodiversity in and around your own home, visit this online address.
2. Take photos of what you find using iNaturalist or your city's chosen platform.
3. Learn more as your observations are identified.
With travel restrictions due to the pandemic, scientists more than ever rely on observations from community scientists for important findings.
Signing up is easy and free.