Looking for something to do this weekend? The City Nature Challenge is an international event aimed at encouraging people to spend some time outdoors, looking for plants and animals in their neighbourhoods. The Canadian Wildlife Federation is organizing the event in Canada, as the host of iNaturalist.ca (the online nature identification app that was featured in the City’s Wildlife Speaker Series event last fall).
From April 30 to May 3, participants are encouraged to go outside and take photos of wild plants and animals, and to submit their sightings to iNaturalist. Lichens and toadstools count, too! You can submit observations from your own yard, a local boulevard or park, or a natural area in your neighbourhood.
Nature is closer than you might think!
You don’t even need to know what it is—the app will help you by suggesting possible identifications and other iNaturalist users will be able to view your submission and confirm or correct the identification online. Identification of the City Nature Challenge sightings will continue until May 9. Anything identified after that will not be included in the official results but will still contribute to our understanding of biodiversity in our area.
If you’re submitting observations from your own yard, remember to protect your privacy. The app allows you to adjust the geoprivacy setting for each observation, from “open” to “obscured” to “private.” Other users will still be able to see your observation to help identify it, but they won’t be able to see the exact location. Observations made on public property can be left open.
Last year the Ottawa-Gatineau region had just under 2,900 observations submitted by over 200 people – we were the third ranked city in Canada, after Calgary (5573 observations) and Halifax (4383 observations). This year, we hope to increase participation and boost our results even higher.
Just imagine what we could do by applying the One City, One Team approach to this City Nature Challenge!
For more information:
- Canadian Wildlife Federation: Your Connection with Wildlife (cwf-fcf.org) – check out their videos on how to use iNaturalist
- City Nature Challenge – City Nature Challenge – global web page
- CityNatureChallenge/DéfiNatureUrbaine 2020: Ottawa-Gatineau (NCR/RCN) · iNaturalist.ca – summary of last year’s results for our region