Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Citizen & Community Scientists In Pittsburgh, Philadelphia Join Global City Nature Challenge April 26-29

For the second year in a row, Pittsburgh joins 150 cities across six continents in the City Nature Challenge, which inspires cities to compete in logging as many wild plants, animals, and fungi species as possible across four days.
Kicking off April 26 at 12:01 a.m. in each time zone, the Challenge runs through April 29, 11:59 p.m.
Pittsburgh’s participation is being coordinated by the Allegheny Land Trust.
[Note: Philadelphia is also participating in the City Nature Challenge.]
The global event calls on current and aspiring citizen scientists, nature and science fans, and people of all ages and education backgrounds to observe and submit pictures of wild plants, animals, and fungi using the free mobile app iNaturalist.
Identification of photographed species will be crowdsourced through the online community April 30 - May 5 and results will be announced on May 6.
Nature exists in every city, and one of the best ways to study it is by connecting scientists and the community through citizen science.  
As global human populations become increasingly concentrated in cities, it's more important than ever to document urban biodiversity and help ensure the future of plants and wildlife.
Large pools of data built through iNaturalist, natural history museums, and science organizations help authorities make informed conservation decisions that allow humans to coexist sustainably with the plants and animals in their neighborhoods.
Pittsburgh first competed in 2018 and had 492 individuals observe and identify 914 species.
After launching the first-ever City Nature Challenge in 2016, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) and San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences (CAS) are hosting their fourth and much larger- effort.  
Last year's four-day challenge invited participants in 68 cities around the world to observe and submit pictures of wildlife they encountered using iNaturalist. Participants added over 400,000 observations of nature to iNaturalist, and scientists continue to use these data to understand and conserve urban wildlife.
This year, the Challenge is expanding, and organizers estimate that 750,000 observations will be made by over 25,000 people in over 150 participating cities. 
For both budding and veteran citizen scientists, participating is easy:
-- Find wildlife. It can be any wild plant, animal, fungi, slime mold, or any other evidence of life (scat, fur, tracks, shells, carcasses!) found in your participating city.
-- Take pictures of what you find using iNaturalist or your city's chosen platform
-- Learn more as your observations get identified!
Scientists can't be everywhere at once, so without community observations, they'd miss some incredible funds.  
During the 2018 City Nature Challenge, an observation of a hammerhead worm in the San Francisco Bay Area marked the first-ever recording of this species, which is native to Asia, in the U.S.
In central Texas, the bracted twistflower a candidate for federal protection bloomed in deep purple hues across its only known home in the Edwards Plateau. In Hong Kong, observations of an incense tree that inspired the city's name (Hong Kong translate to "scented harbor") helped document how the once-abundant tree has declined across its native range. And the observation of an endangered songbird flitting through swamps outside of Bogotá, Colombia renewed hope for the future of this rare bird.
Many other endangered, endemic, or data deficient species were recorded during the City Nature Challenge: This influx of information gives scientists, educators, urban planners, and policymakers insight into the biodiversity of urban locales throughout the world.
More Information and Education Toolkit are available at the City Nature Challenge website.
Signing up for iNaturalist is easy and free.  Visit from your browser, or download iNaturalist from the Apple App Store or Google Play store.
Social Media-- Allegheny Land Trust | Instagram & Twitter Handles: @alleghenylandtr
City Nature Challenge | Twitter handle: @citnatchallenge | #CityNatureChallenge
For more information, visit the Allegheny Land Trust website.  Questions should be directed to Lindsay Dill at 412-741-2750 x206 or send email to:

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