City Nature Challenge 2017

The 2017 City Nature Challenge has come and gone (April 14-18), in my opinion it was way too short. This was the second year for the City Nature Challenge and now that I know about it, I can not wait until next year. Next year we will be ready and I will be recruiting EVERYONE I know. So get ready! 

Let me tell you a little bit about what the City Nature Challenge is. First of all, it is in it's second year and last year, 2016, we were up against only one other city San Francisco to see which city could capture the most nature and we narrowly won! This year, 2017, Los Angeles was up against 15 other cities. 

The challenge is simple, each city was to go out and capture as much Nature as possible, that means wildlife, animals, insects, plants and flowers. Although we were having fun competing against the other cities, all of the data collected is used to help document the development and maintenance of nature within the cities. Which is inccredibly valuable information! 

Although most citizen scientists (that's you and me), can post a nature shot on our social media and use a hashtag (#NatureinLA) to help track it. However, an even better way to learn more about the nature you are discovering is to download and use the iNaturalist App. It's a free and easy to use app that allows you to upload your nature photo and have other's help you identify what is in your nature photo. How cool is that? I know we're not the only family who see's some crazy looking bug, snaps a photo and then attempts to find it in Google search. Now you can have actual interaction from scientists behind the app and others that work at the Natural History Museum as well. 

On this day, the first official day of the City Nature Challenge we went on a BioBlitz.

What is a Bioblitz you ask? A Bioblitz is, according to Wikipedia "is an intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area. Groups of scientists, naturalists and volunteers conduct an intensive field study over a continuous time period (e.g., usually 24 hours)."

We were lucky enough to be accompanied by Lila Higgins, one of the co-founders of the City Nature Challenge and Citizen Science Manager at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Hanging with Lila while exploring nature was the highlight of my girls' day. 

All of these observations were made within 15 minutes of walking around the Nature Gardens at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles during our guided Bioblitz. 

Nature is everywhere! We may live in one of the busiest metropolitan cities in the world, but if you just look a little harder you will find nature everywhere. Kids are the best at spotting little creatures and interesting things, probably because they are closer to the ground and still so incredibly curious.  But this is such a fun initiative, next year you have to join us! 

This is what you need to do:

  1. Download the iNaturalist app on your phone. 
  2. Go outside. 
  3. Look around and snap a photo of any insects, animals, plants or flowers that you find. 
  4. Upload to the iNaturalist app OR post it to your Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #NatureinLA.

This year we came in 3rd place behind Dallas/Fort Worth and San Francisco in number of observations made, however, Los Angeles had the most participants, so Go Los Angeles!