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City Nature Challenge: the results are in!

Article by FMN Ana Leilani Ka’ahanui & Stella Tarnay, both of Capital Nature

Nature nerds celebrate! The results are in for the global City Nature Challenge and our region rose to the occasion again. Out of 419 cities in 44 countries, the DC Metro Area ranked:

• 2nd for observers: 2,002
• 2nd for observations: 43,295
• 8th for species: 2,977

How did Fairfax County do? 11,916 iNaturalist observations of 1,610 species were made by 488 observers. There were 588 people that lent their expertise to make identifications. These results were an improvement over 2020 where 7,750 observations were made of 1,249 species by 391 observers. There were 10 more identifiers last year at 598. See the top ten species identified in Fairfax this year.

Capital Nature along with dozens of area partner organizations hosted over 30 virtual and in-person trainings and events, culminating in a virtual ID Party and a Celebration. Participants shared their favorite discoveries including unexpected flower sightings, five distinct sightings of hog-nosed snakes, a persnickety groundhog and alien-like eggs of a Spiny Assassin Bug. We’re pleased to say that the native mayapple topped the list as the no. 1 species observation, leaving the invasive garlic mustard far behind. For details on all the species that were discovered, visit the project on iNaturalist.

Virginia Bioblitz 2020, September 26th

When: Saturday, 26 September 2020. Virtual Kickoff event at 9:00am (check website for Zoom link)
Where: Anywhere in Virginia
What: Use iNaturalist to find as many species as you can for at least 30 minutes
You can find more information and register at the Virginia BioBlitz website.
Please spread the word to your family, friends, students and neighbors (see publicity flyer). Help record many species in our beautiful state.

The Virginia Academy of Science (VAS) is organizing a Statewide BioBlitz, Virginia BioBlitz 2020, to promote exploration, discovery, citizen science, and conservation. Join them to survey the biodiversity in every part of the Commonwealth. This is a virtual event facilitated through iNaturalist, so, you can join from home or anywhere else in Virginia! This event is open to anyone willing to spend some time outdoors, explore biodiversity and learn more about species living around you. All it requires is registering online, downloading the iNaturalist App into your smart phone, joining the Virginia Bioblitz iNaturalist project, and reporting species around you! You can also participate without a smart phone just using the iNaturalist website, so long as you have a way to take and upload digital photos.

If you have any questions, please contact the organizers at the Virginia Academy of Science. This event is not organized by the Virginia Master Naturalist program.

Fairfax Master Naturalists, obtain service hour credit in the catalog under: C001: Virginia Bioblitz Days.

From Atlas Obscura: How to Help Scientists Without Leaving Home

Gaze out the window or at your computer, in the name of data

BY JESSICA LEIGH HESTER

Atlas Obscura readers are spending time at home to stay safe and healthy, so the organization is sharing ways you can be awestruck anytime, no matter where you are. 

“THE NATURAL WORLD DOESN’T SLOW down just because humans have to. Outside, buds burst from branches; high, high above them, distant objects traverse the solar system. And while the world keeps going, science does, too. If you have a computer, a phone, and a window, you can help with these citizen science projects.”

Check the article for scores of links to citizen science projects you can do from home. Then, if you are a master naturalist, check the service or continuing education calendars to see which are approved for credit. If you don’t see them, please be kind and add them to help your fellow naturalists get credit for making the world a better place.

How to identify plants on iNaturalist

Are you thinking about supporting the City Nature Challenge? Here’s a super easy-to-follow-video to learn how.

No need to say more–just watch.

Lead 2019 City Nature Challenge for FMN

Excited about Citizen Science and using iNaturalist to record your observations? 

You can lead FMN’s participation in the 2019 City Nature Challenge!       

What’s involved?  You decide.  Here are some suggestions.  

  • Join the monthly City Nature Challenge coordination phone calls:
WhenWed Jan 23, 2019 2pm – 3pm Eastern Time – New York
Where605-472-5436, access code 908439#
  • Set up opportunities for FMN to participate
    • Chapter hike on using iNaturalist to take good pics for ID (The Nature Conservancy will lead)
    • Public info programs on City Nature Challenge & using iNaturalist (Fairfax libraries will sponsor)
    • Observation events on City Nature Challenge weekend (Fairfax County parks will sponsor)
    • Identification parties post CNC weekend (Fairfax libraries will sponsor)
    • Join with ARMN-sponsored events   
  • Earn service hours working from home
  • Recruit FMNs to help as needed

Sound like fun?  Contact Marilyn Schroeder: masnaturalist@yahoo.com

City Nature Challenge–Save the dates, 26-29 April 2019

Citizen scientists throughout the Washington DC metro area will be participating in the 2019 City Nature Challenge, a competition among 130 cities around the world to find and document the diversity of species. No experience required—just a mobile device and a love for nature. Participants will make observations of wild plants and animals using the free iNaturalist app (for Android or Apple).

Why get involved? By participating, you’ll not only get out and see some great urban nature, you’ll help scientists collect data on the biodiversity of our region (and the planet).

Great video to share

Find out how it works!

See the results from the 2018 City Nature Challenge.

 

 

Coming Soon: The City Nature Challenge! 27-30 April

Citizen scientists throughout the Washington DC metro area will be participating in the 2018 City Nature Challenge, a competition among 60 cities around the world to find and document the diversity of species. No experience required—just a mobile device and a love for nature. Participants will make observations of wild plants and animals using the free iNaturalist app (for Android or Apple).

Why get involved? By participating, you’ll not only get out and see some great urban nature, you’ll help scientists collect data on the biodiversity of our region (and the planet). City Nature Challenge contributors are invited to join the species ID event at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum on Monday, 30.

To sign up for an event, create an event, and learn more, click here.

To download the flyer, click here.

 

Explore, Learn, and Record with iNaturalist

Reviewed by Ana Ka’Ahanui

As naturalists, we have many tools out there to help us record, learn and share information about the nature we love. One of my favorite tools is a free app called iNaturalist, aka iNat, available for iPhone and Android. Easy to navigate and with a simple interface, the app makes recording my nature observations on hikes and other outings fast and painless. After snapping a few photos and entering some basic information, I can share my findings on iNaturalist and its community of over 575,000 users worldwide.

You don’t have to be an expert to use it because one of iNat’s nifty features is crowdsourcing identifications. Not sure of that bird you just posted about? No problem! iNat bird lovers and ornithologists can see your post and help you out by suggesting an ID. The more people that validate your finding, “Yes, that’s an Eastern Bluebird!,” the faster your observation becomes “research grade.” So why not become a citizen scientist and share info about the kinds of critters you love? Your findings can be added to almost 7.7 million observations and over 140,000 observed species. Not only will you be contributing to science, you’ll be helping to map out our region’s biodiversity.

While I enjoy using iNat to keep track of my personal observations, I also love using it for local bioblitzes and events such as the City Nature Challenge, a friendly annual contest among cities to record the most nature over a 4-day period. I encourage you to download the app and practice making observations before the next City Nature Challenge, which runs from Friday, 27 April through Monday, 30 April. The national capital area is competing against over 60 other cities around the country and the world to make the most observations, identify the most species, and recruit the most volunteers. With your help, we can put the DC metro area, including 15 counties in Northern Virginia, at the top of the leader board!