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Maritime Aquarium Encourages Citizen and Community Scientists to Participate in City Nature Challenge, April 24-27

Fifth annual challenge offers an opportunity for people to connect with nature

and participate in a collective scientific effort, while safely navigating public health challenges;

results will be announced on May 4.

As citizen science (also known as community science) initiatives increase in popularity, this year’s fifth annual City Nature Challengeis set to take place in cities throughout the world. The global event, co-organized by San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, calls on current and aspiring citizen scientists, nature and science fans, and people of all ages and backgrounds toobserve and submit pictures of wild plants, animals, and fungi using the free mobile app iNaturalist. From Friday, April 24 to Monday, April 27, participants can upload their observations to the app, with identifications happening from Tuesday, April 28 to Sunday, May 3. Final results will be announced on Monday, May 4.  

The Maritime Aquarium is organizing Fairfield County & Westchester County's effort of this four-day international event. You can join the Maritime Aquarium project at www.maritimeaquarium.org/citizen-science

In response to shifting public health recommendations related to COVID-19, this year’s City Nature Challenge will no longer be a competition. Instead, participants are encouraged to embrace the collaborative aspect of sharing observations online with a digital community, and celebrate the healing power of nature safely, with social distancing, as they document their local biodiversity to the best of their ability within new public safety parameters. It is imperative that participants closely follow federal and local public health guidelines as they are updated in real-time in response to COVID-19.

During such uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to foster a sense of community, and the City Nature Challenge allows participants to do just that. For both budding and veteran citizen scientists, participating is easy:

1. 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 neighborhood, home, backyard, or even through your windows. You might be surprised by how many insects thrive in the nooks and crannies around you.

2. Take pictures of what you find using iNaturalist or your city’s chosen platform.

3. Learn more as your observations are identified.

Scientists can’t be everywhere at once, so without community observations, they’d miss some incredible finds. Last year, the City Nature Challenge tallied more than 950,000 observations made by over 35,000 people in over 150 participating cities.   Notably, over 1,100 endangered, endemic, or data deficient species were recorded during the 2019 City Nature Challenge! This influx of information gives scientists, educators, urban planners, and policymakers insight into the biodiversity of urban locales throughout the world.

More Information

City Nature Challenge

Overall information and Education Toolkit, visit citynaturechallenge.org

Detailed information about how the City Nature Challenge is adapting to COVID-19, visit citynaturechallenge.org/COVID19

iNaturalist

Signing up is easy and free. Visit inaturalist.org from your browser, or download iNaturalist from the Apple App Store or Google Play store.

The Maritime Aquarium

Learn more about what’s available from The Maritime Aquarium during the COVID-19 crisis on the Aquarium Facebook page and at www.maritimeaquarium.org/coronavirus

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