Norwalk, CT – The Maritime Aquarium is gearing up to identify and track plants and wildlife as part of the City Nature Challenge, which will take place Friday, April 28, through Monday, May 1. During this period, community scientists are encouraged to join the Aquarium in documenting species found across Fairfield and Westchester Counties.
“There is nature all around us. Knowing what species are in our city and where they are located helps scientists and land managers study and protect them,” said Senior Education Manager Bridget Cervero. “We look forward to having new and experienced community scientists participate in this important and exciting challenge!”
The City Nature Challenge is an annual BioBlitz competition amongst cities across the globe that was started in 2016 by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences. Teams are scored in three categories – total observations made, total number of species observed, and total number of observers. In 2022, the Aquarium ranked in the top 15 percent for number of observers, with 333 community scientists on its team.
Community scientists can record their observations on the iNaturalist app, a free app available for download on the App Store and Google Play. Observations can be made indoors and outdoors with the goal of documenting as many naturally occurring plants and wildlife as possible.
As part of the City Nature Challenge weekend, the Aquarium will kick off its public Marine Life Encounter Cruise season on Sunday, April 30 – a great way to spot plankton, fish, crabs, mollusks, and more! Inside the Aquarium, educational activities will teach guests about the City Nature Challenge and the importance of the diverse plants and wildlife we share our community with.
The Maritime Aquarium is partnering with the Brookfield Conservation Commission, The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, Greenburgh Nature Center, New Pond Farm, Western Connecticut State University’s Herpetology and Biology Clubs, and Woodcock Nature Center on this initiative.
For more information, visit www.maritimeaquarium.org/city-nature-challenge.