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City Nature Challenge 2018 is coming soon!

March 1, 2018

CNC18_SecLogo-FULL smallIf you’ve been following along with the citizen science program at the NCMNS, you likely heard a lot about the City Nature Challenge last year.  In 2017, the event was a national event with 16 US cities competing against each other to see who could document the most species on iNaturalist over a 5 day period in April.  While the Triangle Area unfortunately didn’t win, we did take 6th place overall and took home the gold for the eastern US.  We finished with 200 participants, close to 8000 observations, 1335 species, and three local prize winners.  Not bad for a metro area with 1/10th of the population of the top 5 cities!

We’re taking part in this fun citizen science event again this year, and the stakes are even higher!  The competition is going international, so we’re up against over 60 cities this time, some located in the hyperdiverse tropics.  This means we need all hands on deck for this event – we likely need over 20,000 observations to win!

Eastern worm snake

Eastern Worm Snake, photo by iNaturalist user @caroline322

How can YOU help?  It’s easy!  Take photos of any living creature you see (avoid pets and people please!) in the Triangle Area from April 27-30, and submit them to iNaturalist via their smartphone app or their website.  That’s it!  Any photo taken with the Triangle Area during the event will automatically contribute toward our totals, so no need to specify the project for this one.  Note also that the “Triangle Area” for this event is quite large and includes Henderson in the North, Fayetteville in the South, Rocky Mount in the east, and ends just shy or Burlington in the west.  Not in the Triangle Area?  Cabarrus County is also participating in the City Nature Challenge and has a lot of fun activities in the works!  They’re competing against us, yes, but don’t we all win if one of the North Carolina teams wins?

Ruffle lichen

Ruffle lichen, photo by iNaturalist user @coatlicue

You can participate in the City Nature Challenge in the Triangle Area solo by visiting any outdoor area during the event, but we’re also planning group walks and other activities to help get you involved.  We’re working on scheduling biodiversity talks and a few downtown nature walks at the NCMNS on Friday, April 27.  Visit our City Nature Challenge table at the SciTech Expo on Saturday, April 28 or take a walk with a naturalist at Prairie Ridge Ecostation.  Sunday, April 29, we’ll have outdoor activities at Prairie Ridge where you can get to know the local wildlife a little better as you participate.  Other non-Museum outdoor sites are planning CNC activities in the Triangle Area as well.  We’ll list them all as they’re finalized on the Museum’s event listing and on the City Nature Challenge Triangle Area project on iNaturalist.

So, get those camera lenses cleaned and your batteries charged.  The City Nature Challenge 2018 Triangle Area will be here before you know it!

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