The City Nature Challenge offers a fun and safe way to participate in a global event in which participants use a free app to document local biodiversity and share their observations with people around the world. To join this effort, register for an iNaturalist.org account, download the app onto your phone, and then take pictures or record sounds to document the wild animals, plants and fungi around you during the dates of April 30-May 3. In 2020, over 41,000 participants from 244 communities around the world documented over 819,000 observations!
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is helping organize the Cleveland-Akron-Canton City Nature Challenge. Observations uploaded to iNaturalist in much of northeast Ohio are automatically added to our local City Nature Challenge. In 2020, the Cleveland-Akron-Canton City Nature Challenge had 540 participants who uploaded a total of 6,232 observations of wild plants, animals and fungi. 629 people helped identify these observations into 1,048 separate species. Although the City Nature Challenge isn't a competition, Cleveland was slightly behind Pittsburgh's 8,442 observations of 1,366 species in 2020. Can you help us make more observations in 2021
You don't need to know how to identify species to participate. The iNaturalist app uses image recognition to suggest likely identifications. Then other human participants will offer more specific identifications. This can be a fun way to learn how to identify the living creatures around you. However, please make sure to only document wild animals, plants and fungi. Don't include humans, domestic or captive animals, or cultivated plants.
In addition to being a fun activity, documenting wild organisms with iNaturalist can provide scientists with valuable information. For example, CWRU Biology Department alumnus Michael Moore and colleagues used observations from iNaturalist to learn about thermal biology of dragonflies. More information on how to participate in the City Nature Challenge is available here: http://citynaturechallenge.org/