If you need something to see you through another weekend in lockdown, why not take part in the 2020 City Nature Challenge?
The City Nature Challenge is an international event that is both a wildlife-spotting competition and a citizen science project. Cities across the world pitted against each other to see who can submit the most observations, the most species, and the most participants – collecting valuable data in the process.
In light of COVID-19, the 2020 event is not a contest, but a collaborative survey event that aims to get people out engaging with local wildlife.
The competition started in 2016 as an eight-day challenge between the American cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, resulting in some 20,000 observations being recorded by more than 1,000 people. The event gathered so much interest that in 2017, it became national, and by 2018, had gone global.
More than 260 cities are participating in the 2020 Challenge, ten of which are in the UK:
- Bristol and Bath
- Brighton and Lewes Downs
- Birmingham and the Black Country
- Greater Manchester
- North East England
The challenge is in two-parts – first, from 24-27 April, take photos of local wildlife; from April 28-May 3, identify what you saw. Records can be submitted without identification, and anybody can help to identify the unknown species.
To find out how to join your city team, visit citynaturechallenge.org. You’ll need to download the iNaturalist app to submit your records, you can share your sightings on social media using #CityNatureChallenge.
Main image: Peacock butterfly in a garden. © Jack Perks/FLPA/Getty