CNC 2020!

For those not familiar with it, the City Nature Challenge is a bioblitz-style event in late April/early May where urban areas across the world "compete" to see who can make the most observations and identifications within that time period. This is the fifth one - the first was between San Francisco and LA. Last year almost 160 cities participated, and this year we're on track for over 250!

I'm helping to organize Ann Arbor/Washtenaw's participation along with NAP, and was hoping to draw on your expertise to help with some of the set up. You folks have street cred as far as nature in and around Washtenaw goes :-)

So, if you have a moment, I'd love your input. The link is a list of all of the preserves I have been able to find within Washtenaw - there are over 180! The criteria for inclusion are that the preserve has to be in Washtenaw, have some "wild" land and be open to the public.

Would you review the list and let me know any missing or incorrect info you can supply, and of any parks/preserves that are missing?

This is the link to the folder:

and this is the link to the file with the lists of preserves

And just for giggles, I've plotted them on a Google map

There are other things I'd like to pass by you if you are interested, but one thing at a time :-) And if you'd rather not be included in future notes just let me know :-)


Kit (KitKestrel)

@elliotgreiner @ken-potter @jokurtz @jaspersail @nathan20 @rawolinski @bugologist_beth @melissa515 @jonathantparker @lincoln @mokennon @mcaple

Posted by kitkestrel kitkestrel, January 18, 2020 04:49



Thank you so much for organizing this! I've been wishing Ann Arbor would do something like this ever since I moved here, but have never put my money where my mouth is. Your list of preserves and Nature Areas is pretty robust; all of the ones I am familiar with, and have been too, are on here. You could add South Maple Park, which is mostly developed, but does have a nice patch of woods within it where I have seen a lot of cool insects (particularly leaf beetles). Otherwise, I would be more than happy to help you with this if you need it.

Posted by elliotgreiner 2 months ago (Flag)

Hi Kit!

Been waiting for this! :) I really think this will be fun! And I love the list of "parks".
I wonder:

1) Would it not be better only count those that achieve Research Grade (like in Michigan Bioblitz rules set for 2020)?

2) What about parks that span more than one county. For example when at RNP I know I'm in Livingston County where I park and in Washtenaw and when I get to thoreau cabin I'm in Washtenaw County. In many places in between I have no clue as to country. Are we going to need gps for this?

Thanks for the fun program!

Posted by ken-potter 2 months ago (Flag)

Yell at me if you need any help down my way :)

Posted by ken-potter 2 months ago (Flag)

Thanks for organizing this--it looks very interesting. I did a quick scan of your preserve/park list and it looks good to me. I don't see Thurston Nature Area listed, but maybe I missed it. Not sure you'd see anything unique there anyway. My area of interest is primarily butterflies and moths, but I'd also enjoy looking for reptiles and amphibians with someone knowledgeable about their locations in Washtenaw. I've assisted with frog call surveys but those were mostly on private land. There are just a few butterfly species flying at the time of year, but I have moth-sheet (not trap) equipment for surveying moth species. Sounds like a fun project!

Posted by jaspersail 2 months ago (Flag)

Hi all,

Thanks for the enthusiastic response! Any and all help very welcome :-) I'm chatting with a representative from the Stewardship Network, a group of reps from local organizations that do land conservancy & the like. Once I find out a bit more, I think the best thing might be to have a phone call with all interested folks to go over where the project is, and who might be interested in doing what. I'm hoping that we can "borrow" most of what we need for ideas and materials from the national group, and that the activities we engage in for it are fun and not too taxing. By any chance does any of you work for or with an organization that might be interested in partnering (except Ken, who is a gentleman of leisure lol)?

To your questions:
1. Thanks for the info about South Maple. I didn't see any descriptions that included woods, so I left it out. In it goes :-)
2. Re whether to include just "Research Grade" - the rules for that have been set by the city organizers as a group. The primary goal for CNC (as it is with iNat) is to foster engagement with nature, so, after much discussion, the decision was made that any observation could be added (although we'd discourage potted plants and zoo animals!). Non-useful ones will get addressed the same way they are today. To be counted toward the city total, the observation must be identified to a species level. If that's not possible (e.g., requires dissection, or DNA), then the genus terminal point will count. There are some nuances in there that were talked about, but in the end, the focus is on engagement. Photographic or audio evidence is strongly encouraged, but apparently in the birding community observations without those are accepted, so they are OK too.
3. Re parks that span more than one county, yeah, it's where reality messes up the plan lol. I think GPS is the best, but if someone doesn't have it, when they upload their observation they'd need to stick the location pin in the Washtenaw County part of the park, otherwise it won't be counted - the count is done by computer, and alas, they are very literal!
4. Thurston Nature Area: that looks great! I don't think it popped up in any of my research. And the inhabitants don't have to be unique (although that's always exciting). Even the same organisms as other places give us a sense of distribution and density. And for the kids at Thurston school, they would see their preserve listed :-) Actually, the only reason for the list is to give people ideas for where to go, maybe introduce them to new parks, but really because I've been wanting the list for ages :-)
5. The moth sheet sounds excellent - it's one of the suggested activities, especially in the run-up to the event. One of the suggestions from prior years is to use the event as a focus for activities ahead of time, one to build enthusiasm, but also to familiarize people with the concept and the tools.

As soon as I've had a chat with the Stewardship chap, I'll be in touch with next steps. Thanks so much for your interest!


Posted by kitkestrel 2 months ago (Flag)

Thanks Kit. Albion is a bit far off from Washtenaw Cty. But maybe you can help me think out the possibility of organizing something here. I've always wanted to get some folks together for a mini-bio-blitz. The city would probably also be thrilled to host a bunch of buggers.

The City of Albion has a lot of little parks, some strung along the K'zoo River Trail, designed to be accessible to walkers.

The College (Albion) also has the lovely Whitehouse Nature Center, with well-cared-for trails and many different types of habitat. Also right on campus is a sweet little prairie garden.

So we have lots of possible kinds of places that might be successful nexus (honest to god I looked it up - that's the plural of nexus) for nature-loving cameraderie.


What kind of impact does a bio-blitz make on a habitat? I'm picturing folks sweeping and stomping. But then I also picture seeing people having the time of their lives looking at and photographing beautiful little critters.

What is involved in organizing a bio-blitz?

Posted by mokennon 2 months ago (Flag)

Thanks for setting this up! Very happy to see a CNC happening in Ann Arbor :)

I'm no longer living in Michigan so unfortunately I won't be much help as far as logistics go, but I'll definitely help ID plants when the time comes :)

Posted by mcaple 2 months ago (Flag)

@mcaple Any and all help happily received :-) Thanks!

Posted by kitkestrel 2 months ago (Flag)

hi kit
I think I deleted my message to you and yours back to me! but we're in contact!

Posted by mokennon 2 months ago (Flag)

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