Make iNaturalist observations anywhere in Dallas/Fort Worth on April 14 – 18 (Easter weekend)! Show the rest of the country how many different critters and plants and fungi live in our urban area! Citizen scientists unite! http://tpwd.texas.gov/naturechallenge
Longer message with more details:
Last year, San Francisco and Los Angeles had a competition on which urban area has the most citizen scientists and most species. Well, they want to extend this competition to the rest of the country. New York City, Boston, Raleigh, Washington DC, Nashville, Duluth, Chicago, Miami, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Austin, Houston, and Dallas/Fort Worth are the participating cities… Which area has the most citizen scientists and most species?!? Can DFW compete with the rest of the country?!? I think so! We need your help though.
With your family and friends, or even by yourself, go outside anywhere in Dallas/Fort Worth (area defined as anywhere within these counties: Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant, Wise) and make iNaturalist observations. These observations will automatically be added to the DFW project on iNaturalist. If you don’t know what the organism is that you’re observing, that’s ok! Observe it, and others will help you ID it. If you do know what it is, you can enter in the ID and others will verify it. All observations have to be observed on April 14 through 18, and must be uploaded before April 22 to be counted in this City Nature Challenge. If you need to get out of work or out of school, I’ll write you a doctor’s note with a prescription for nature! ;)
Go to your favorite park or one you’ve not been to before. Observe some of the critters in your own back yard too! All of these count, and this data is useful. We can highlight the areas of high biodiversity, we can see where certain invasive species are, and we can even monitor changes in species distributions through time by documenting it today.
One of the products from this challenge with be updated species guides for our region. This is filterable, so you can search for ‘reptiles’ or ‘beetles’ or ‘legumes’ and get an idea of the ones that people have observed so far. With each observation, we gain more knowledge of the plants, animals, and fungi that live within the DFW urban environment. This digital field guide is the tool for the next generation of naturalists. Let’s embrace it!
We’ll be keeping up with the results daily on the Facebook page. We’ll show off some of the neat things that folks are seeing each day. There’s a Facebook event for this thing too (the Austin and Houston folks are on this too).
We’ll have leaderboards on the TPWD webpage too.
Now, if you want to get together with other naturalists to make observations, here is the tentative calendar of events going on in the DFW metroplex. Bring a camera, bug net, smart phone, water, snacks, comfortable shoes, and most importantly, your curiosity! Family friendly events.
Friday, April 14…
9 am – noon: Breckinridge Park in Richardson *
9 am – 11 am: White Rock Lake (Bath House) in Dallas
9:30 am – 12:30 pm: Twelve Hills Nature Center in Dallas
11:30 am - 1 pm: UNT campus (by student union and admin building) in Denton
1 pm – 4 pm: Bear Creek Nature Park in Lancaster *
5:30 pm - 8:30 pm: The Mound in Flower Mound
7 pm – 10 pm: Cedar Ridge Preserve in Cedar Hill (mothing!)
7 pm – 10 pm: Mockingbird Nature Park in Midlothian (mothing!) *
Saturday, April 15…
8 am - 11 am: LLELA in Lewisville
9 am – noon: OS Gray Natural Area in Arlington *
9 am - noon: Marion Sansom Park in Fort Worth
9 am – 1 pm: Heard Museum in McKinney
10 am – 11:30 am: Twelve Hills Nature Center in Dallas (butterfly walk!)
1 pm – 4 pm: South West Nature Preserve in Arlington *
1:30 pm – 3 pm: Fort Worth Nature Center in Fort Worth
Sunday, April 16 (Easter Sunday)…
9 am - 3 pm: Connemara Nature Preserve in Allen
If you know of other organizations or parks that would be interested in promoting this city nature challenge or hosting a nature event, give them some flyers, or handouts, and let me know. We can include them on the partners list on the website and on the timeline of events.
Most of all, go outside and enjoy nature. Wildlife exists in the urban area – enjoy it. :)
If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know. Thanks! Also, the ones with the * sign, I'm planning on being at these. All of the others will have other guides and leaders.
Urban Wildlife Biologist, DFW
Texas Parks and Wildlife
sambiology on iNaturalist!