Citizen scientists have the opportunity to compete to see who can submit the most observations about nature. This is the fourth annual City Nature Challenge, and this year the communities of Port Aransas and Mustang Island can compete with counterparts over the bridge ‘OTB’ at the Oso Bay Nature Preserve in Corpus Christi and also with over 150 cities across six continents.
Kicking off April 26 at 12:01 am in each time zone, the Challenge runs through April 29, 11:59 pm. The global event calls on current and aspiring citizen scientists, nature and science fans, and people of all ages and education backgrounds to observe and submit pictures of wild plants, animals, and fungi using the free mobile app iNaturalist.
The goal is to see what city can record the most wildlife. Anyone with a smart phone or digital camera and computer can play! Identification of photographed species will be crowdsourced through the online community and by local scientists through an ID party on May 4th at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas. Challenge results will be announced on May 6.
Nature exists in every city, and one of the best ways to study it is by connecting scientists and the community through citizen science. 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. Large pools of data built through iNaturalist, natural history museums, and science organizations help authorities make informed conservation decisions that allow humans to coexist sustainably with the plants and animals in their neighborhoods.
By participating you can help collect data for scientists on the biodiversity of the Island. It’s a great opportunity to get with others who love the outdoors and see get outdoors. Currently over 6,000 entries for wildlife sightings have been made in Port Aransas alone. For both budding and veteran citizen scientists, participating is easy:
- Find wildlife. It can be any wild plant, animal, fungi, slime mold, or any other evidence of life (scat, fur, tracks, shells, carcasses!) found in your participating city.
- Take pictures of what you find using iNaturalist or your city’s chosen platform.
- Learn more as your observations get identified!
You can learn more about the City Nature Challenge, and how to use iNaturalist here: http://citynaturechallenge.org/
You can find our own City Nature Challenge 2019: Mustang Island, Texas iNaturalist project here: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2019-mustang-island-texas