Diario del proyecto City Nature Challenge 2024: Lower Rio Grande Valley

Archivos de diario de marzo 2024

08 de marzo de 2024

Why and how to participate in the City Nature Challenge

The City Nature Challenge is more than a friendly competition among cities in Texas, the United States, and even around the world. It is a fantastic way to learn more about the plants, animals, and other organisms that we share our spaces with - you might be surprised by how much life is all around us, from the local city park to the large wildlife refuges on city outskirts. The City Nature Challenge also helps generate a significant amount of data about those organisms, which can be used by scientists, conservationists, and others to better understand and conserve those species.


  • Get biodiversity data a particular area. For example, thanks to City Nature Challenge and other iNaturalist observations there have been more than 2,000 species documented in the City of McAllen from nearly 30,000 observations. Whether you're a park manager or just want to know how many species you share your yard with, the City Nature Challenge can help get that data collection started.
  • Get organism identification help. One of the great features of the iNaturalist platform is that it provides both computer vision suggested ID's and also allows other iNaturalist users to make suggestions. During the City Nature Challenge there is a dedicated phase for identifying what folks observed from April 30 - May 5. Sometimes some of the most exciting observations come from folks who were trying to get identification help, like the famous Bat Falcon! https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/103030888
  • Connect with other nature enthusiasts. The communal nature of the City Nature Challenge makes it a great time to gather a group of friends to explore our ecosystems. You could organize a nature walk at your local park, or tag along on any of the already-scheduled guided walks offered at nature centers.


  • Make observations anywhere in the Lower Rio Grande Valley from April 26 to April 29. All observations will count towards the project, as long as they are uploaded to iNaturalist before May 5, when the identification phase ends. You can learn more about observations on the "Getting Started" page:

  • Let us know if you are participating on behalf of a group/organization, and if you intend on exploring a particular site (like a nature center, state park, etc.). You can share that information on our Google Form:

  • Add identifications to other participants observations from April 30 - May 5. If you feel comfortable with identifying plants, animals, or other organisms, we would welcome your ID help! You can learn more about how the identification tool works on the "Getting Started" page:

Lastly, please spread the word about the City Nature Challenge with your community! You can download the outreach flyer at the Center for Urban Ecology's blog site:

If you have any questions about the City Nature Challenge, feel free to ask them in the comment section below. We look forward to enjoying and exploring our community's nature with you!

Publicado el marzo 8, 2024 03:10 TARDE por bcfl14 bcfl14 | 8 comentarios | Deja un comentario

20 de marzo de 2024

Frequently Asked Questions about the City Nature Challenge

Thanks to Wendy Anderson and Craig Hensley with Texas Parks and Wildlife for putting together a FAQ page for the City Nature Challenge in 2021. Most of the information there is still relevant for this year; just note that the CNC 2024 dates are April 26 - April 29 (for making observations) and April 30 - May 5 (for identifying observations).


I did want to add a few notes from what I've learned while participating and co-organizing as part of the City Nature Challenge over the past few years.

Folks can upload their observations via the phone app or the website (inaturalist.org). Personally, I tend to use the website to upload my CNC observations because I find it easier to use when uploading lots of observations at a time. Either way, its valuable to practice making observations before the City Nature Challenge to get familiar with the process. I've linked video tutorials below that can help you get started.

Phone App: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xENz1xRu0wI
Website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIRGpO2R7uQ

A frequent mistake is folks adding lots of photos of different organisms (a plant, an insect, a mammal) all to the same observation. If you have a photo that has two organisms in it, for example, you can simply upload the same photo for two separate observations. For example, as part of the 2020 City Nature Challenge, I used the same photo to make observations of aphids and of a nearby lady beetle. This is where it becomes particularly important to include your guess/ID suggestion for the observation, as it clues in identifiers as to which organism is the subject of the observation.

Aphids: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/43784105
Lady beetle: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/43784064

iNaturalist defines a captive/cultivated animals as "an organism that exists in the time and place it was observed because humans intended it to be then and there." For example, one of the common types of observations that folks make during the City Nature Challenge are the plants in their gardens and yards. If you are photographing a plant you know was purposefully grown or transplanted to a particular space, it should be marked as captive/cultivated. On the other hand, if a random plant has volunteering in your yard and you don't know where it came from, it qualifies as a wild organism. You can read more examples of captive/cultivated and wild organisms at the iNaturalist help page:

Participate as much as you want to! If that means uploading a few observations of insects from your garden, great! If it means going to a local park to photograph birds, fantastic! If it means you want to upload hundreds of observations of all sorts of species across the Rio Grande Valley, awesome! As a co-organizer, one of my goals for the CNC is for folks to have fun exploring our local environment, and hopefully learn about the plants and animals that share our space along the way.

If you have any questions about the City Nature Challenge, please post them in the comments section below!

Publicado el marzo 20, 2024 04:15 TARDE por bcfl14 bcfl14 | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario