Bay Nature magazineSpring 2019

Urban Nature

The City Nature Challenge Returns With More People, Places, and Nature

March 25, 2019

Among other things, spring means City Nature Challenge time. Co-organized by the California Academy of Sciences, the CNC is a friendly and (very fun) competition among cities worldwide to observe and document nature. Last year 1,532 people in the Bay Area recorded 41,737 observations of 3,211 species in four days. Those three numbers surpassed the participation and accomplishments of any of the other 68 participating cities around the world.

Remember, they are an exotic species in the Western United States, and are rapidly increasing their geographic range and range of habitats. Are they outcompeting or excluding native species in the process? How would we know? We have done almost nothing to monitor changes in the assemblage of mushroom species in areas before and and after the incursion of death caps.

Join Bay Nature in Santa Clara to bioblitz the Ulistac Natural Area on Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information visit the event’s iNaturalist project page.

So this April, for the first time in the four years of the challenge, the Bay Area will be defending a triple crown. And the competition will be bigger than ever. More than 160 cities or regions now plan to participate, from Nairobi to Tokyo and Christchurch to Calgary. Even the Palmer Research Station in Antarctica intends to join. First-time contenders include Sacramento, which for the purposes of this biodiversity-finding competition defines itself as stretching from the Delta and Diablo to the California-Nevada border. There’s a lot of nature available to find in that region.

The Bay Area has a lot of nature to find too, though. And a traditional part of the City Nature Challenge is an incredible offering of organized events for people to go looking. No experience needed—just a means for taking photos and uploading them to the iNaturalist app or website. There’s something to do in every county on all four days of the competition, plus identification parties to help sort through the results the week after. A full list of events can be found at the iNaturalist City Nature Challenge 2019: San Francisco Bay Area page.

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