LINCOLN, Neb. – The 2021 City Nature Challenge invites individuals to explore and document wildlife where they live.
The event started in 2016 as a competition between two cities to see how many different wildlife observations they could document using the platform iNaturalist. Since then, this community science event has grown and this year more than 400 cities are set to participate worldwide.
Anyone with a camera and access to iNaturalist can participate. Access to iNaturalist is available as a smartphone app or online through iNaturalist.org.
This City Nature Challenge is a great way for individuals to connect with their local environments. It also provides a huge amount of data with which researchers and scientists otherwise would not have access. This includes biodiversity data for urban environments, including records of species in places where they previously had not been documented.
The City Nature Challenge takes place in two parts. The first part, the observation period, runs April 30-May 3. This is the time to observe wildlife, take photos and start uploading them to iNaturalist.
Those making observations in the participating cities of Lincoln or Omaha will have their observations count toward that city’s total. Individuals outside of a participating city can join the City Nature Challenge 2021 Global Project on iNaturalist.
The second part of the City Nature Challenge is the identification period, which runs May 4-9. During this time, anyone across the globe can help identify observations through iNaturalist. Sorting through all of that data is just as important as collecting it. So, if you are familiar with local plants, animals or fungi, we can use your help. There will be virtual “identification parties” May 4-7 from noon-1 p.m. for anyone who would like to join.
The results from the City Nature Challenge, locally and globally, will be announced May 10. For Lincoln’s City Nature Challenge, all observations in Lancaster County will count toward the totals. For Lincoln’s event, prizes will be provided for the following categories: most observations, most identifications, best photo, and most unique observation. Other prizes also will be raffled.
Lincoln’s City Nature Challenge is organized by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center, Pioneers Park Nature Center, Lincoln Parks and Recreation, Morrill Hall: University of Nebraska State Museum, Nebraska Extension, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, The Xerces Society, Lincoln Community Learning Centers, Lincoln City Libraries, and Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever of Nebraska.