Spring into Science! Join the 2018 Boston Area City Nature Challenge

by Danny Schissler, Research and Projects Coordinator, Friedman Lab

April 19, 2018

Spring into Science! Join the 2018 Boston Area City Nature Challenge

Join the 2018 Boston Area City Nature Challenge

Become a citizen scientist with just a few taps on your phone! Join us April 27–30 for the 2018 City Nature Challenge, in which over 65 cities around the world compete to see which one can document the most species—plants, animals, fungi, even microbes. All species count and people of all ages are welcome to participate.

During this four-day challenge, participants use the free iNaturalist smartphone app to record plant and wildlife observations anywhere in greater Boston, from the I-495 corridor out to Stellwagen Bank. Observation data is submitted to an online database and can be accessed by iNaturalist users anywhere in the world. This information will help create a more accurate picture of the Boston area’s biodiversity, as well as illustrate the differences and similarities among the participating cities.

How to participate:

  1. Download the iNaturalist app from Google Play or the Apple App Store to get started making observations with your smartphone.
  2. Join the Boston Area City Nature Challenge project. After joining, your observations will automatically be captured and counted in the Bioblitz.
  3. Between April 27 and April 30 (Friday to Monday), visit the Arboretum or other participating locations in the Greater Boston Area and use the iNaturalist app to record observations. You can even make observations in your own backyard!
  4. Learn more about biodiversity “hot spots” at the Arboretum by visiting the City Nature Challenge kiosk outside of the Hunnewell Visitor Center on Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29 from 7:45am–2:00pm.
  5. Participate in a guided event at the Arnold Arboretum! Led by Arboretum staff and volunteers, these events are aimed at helping people discover biodiversity among the Arboretum’s collections and less-visited areas. All necessary iNaturalist training will be provided. Click an event name for more details:
    City Nature Challenge Event Map

    Click image to print a full-sized event map.

  6. Learn about other ways to get involved on the Boston Area City Nature Challenge website.

Participating in the City Nature Challenge is a great way for kids and adults to get outdoors and observe wildlife, learn about the importance of biodiversity and get involved in protecting a healthy, changing, natural world while improving their research, observation and identification skills. Join us from April 27–30 and help the Greater Boston Area show off the incredible range of biodiversity found here in the City of Champions!

Event Resources

Handout: learn about observations

Handout: using your iPhone/Android to make observations

Handout: adding observations from the web (use this if you’re uploading images from a PC!)

I made observations in the field, so what’s next?

Photos by Suzanne Mrozak

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