Time to finish uploading & work on identifications!

Thanks to all of you who participated in making observations for the City Nature Challenge! We are so impressed with this amazing global community of 38,000+ people who all went searching for nature in safe ways for the past four days - THANK YOU!

So now what? The City Nature Challenge isn't over yet! Our final collective results will be announced on May 4, but there is still work to do! Here's how you can help:

Finish uploading your April 24-27 observations
As long as your photos were TAKEN April 24-27, then you can upload them through May 3 and have them count for the City Nature Challenge. If you took photos on your phone, you can upload them through the app. If you made observations using a camera, you can upload using the iNaturalist Upload page; we recommend watching this short video on how to best use iNaturalist’s Photo Uploader.

Help with identifications
In the same way that anyone can be an observer, anyone can help identify observations. In iNaturalist, go to your city’s project, click “Observations” and you’ll see an “Identify” button pop up just below it. Clicking this will take you to the iNaturalist Identify page and show you all of your city’s observations that still need to be identified. From this page, you can restrict what it shows you by taxon, which helps if you know how to ID certain groups. If you’re not an expert in any group, you can still help by identifying the “unknowns” - the observations with no IDs at all! Click the “Filters” button and then select the dashed-line leaf with a question mark in it. This will show you all the observations that are currently listed as “unknown.” It’s really helpful to go through these and add high-level IDs like “plants” or “insects” or “birds” or “fungi” - whatever you know about the organism - so people who do know how to ID these groups down to species can find them! Here’s a short video about using the Identify page.

No matter what, please only add an ID of which you can be reasonably sure - it’s fine if you don’t know what something is, and it’s fine to only add a genus or family or even kingdom level ID.

If you want to help identify observations from any city - great and thank you! Click this link to go to the Identify page for the entire City Nature Challenge .

Mark observations as "not wild"
If you know you made observations of organisms that were not wild, but forgot to select "captive/cultivated" before uploading them, please do so now! Every observation has a "Data Quality Assessment" at the bottom of the page, one of the lines says "Organism is Wild." Go ahead and click the thumbs down on that line.

Once you've done that for your observations, you can also look through the other observations made in your city and help us out by doing the same: if you see an observation of something that is OBVIOUSLY not wild (a plant growing in a pot, a fish in a fish tank, a vegetable in a garden, etc.), then go ahead and click that thumbs down for "Organism is Wild!" This helps steward the data to make sure scientists and other people using the iNaturalist dataset don't end up including observations where the organism was intentionally put in a particular place by a human - since most research studies are primarily focused on where wild organisms are found.

If you're working on identifications using the iNaturalist Identify Tool, you can also click the "Captive/Cultivated" box as you're going through observations there.

Thanks everyone!

Posted by kestrel kestrel, April 28, 2020 17:03


Yes, thank you!

Posted by bug_girl over 2 years ago (Flag)

That’s all the photos I have! Hope that it did some good.

Posted by avalon365 over 2 years ago (Flag)

Thanks and wish me luck with the remaining unposted pics 😎

Posted by davemmdave over 2 years ago (Flag)

Along with many others, I have taken all of my pictures(80+) on my quarter + acre suburban property. The rules you just stated might indicate all of the plants and fungus might be considered "captive" since they are not in the wild. Do I not count a 45 year old white oak since I planted it. Is it cultivated? I did count any plant that sprang up uninvited.
My concern is that some people who contributed only from their yards might not understand how to mark the 'captive/cultivated' choice.

Posted by mrwill over 2 years ago (Flag)

@mrwill: iNaturalist's definition of cultivated is pretty much that if it was planted by a human, it's cultivated. All your observations count, even cultivated ones, but we're just trying to be as accurate as possible with the data we're generating! We just ask people use their best judgement in deciding if something is cultivated or not.

Posted by kestrel over 2 years ago (Flag)

I might be wrong but I recall being advised by someone on iNat as follows. It was about a local provenance eucalyptus tree species that I had personally grown from seed I had collected from a local gully,and I submitted images of the planted specimen once it had reached several meters height and begun flowering and fruiting. I planted it in my(quite large) garden which is about 3-4 km from the parent tree.Many other plants in my garden meet the same criteria. I was allowed to rate it as wild hence not casual because I knew it came from local wild stock (and it's possible that the species even grew naturally on my garden block before European settlement;it's 99% certain that they occurred much closer than 4 km prior to land clearance, which started very early post settlement in my region, about 2 centuries ago- little is left of the once very high botanical diversity).Considerable discretion is needed when submitting planted specimens. Two major points are #1 if it's exotic (e.g. a deciduous European oak or evergreen exotic cypress pine), or it's an Australian native that doesn't occur naturally in this State (e.g. most of the Banksia species sold in major retail outlets ) or even region (e.g. Eucalyptus petiolaris from Eyre Peninsula planted in Adelaide) then it's casual, unless #2 it is a self set plant that is already known to be invasive e.g. a native from elsewhere in S.A. (such as Acacia cyclops in Adelaide, because its natural occurrence is the far west coast of S.A. and it's now a weed in much of coastal S.A.) ,or the progeny of a planted exotic,known* to be an invasive weed e.g. an Aleppo pine growing anywhere in S.A. (*?or perhaps too early to have been officially listed but threatening to become another garden escape thence risk becoming an invasive weed . Almost half of the plants currently recognized as serious weeds in S.A. are garden escapes).
In short, if it is a weed species, it's worthy of more than a Casual tag ,planted or not and whether in a garden or outside a garden. A weed is a weed and all weeds warrant monitoring via iNat et al.

Posted by davemmdave over 2 years ago (Flag)

Here is the iNaturalist definition, which is what we use for the City Nature Challenge, asking people to use their best judgement:

Checking captive / cultivated means that the observation is of an organism that exists in the time and place it was observed because humans intended it to be then and there. Likewise, wild / naturalized organisms exist in particular times and places because they intended to do so (or because of intention of another wild organism). The main reason we try to flag things like this is because iNat is primarily about observing wild organisms, not animals in zoos, garden plants, specimens in drawers, etc., and our scientific data partners are often not interested in (or downright alarmed by) observations of captive or cultivated organisms.

Since this tends to be kind of a gray area, here are some concrete examples:

Captive / cultivated (planted)
zebra in a zoo
poppy in a garden
tree planted 1, 10, or 100 years ago by humans
butterfly mounted in a display case and not appropriately marked with date and location of original collection
your pet such as a dog or cat
plants that grew from seeds that were planted in the ground or scattered

Wild / naturalized
zebra in the Serengeti (assuming it's not in a zoo in the Serengeti)
fly on a zebra in a zoo
weed or other unintended plant growing in a garden
butterfly that flew into a building
snake that you just picked up (yes, it's in your hand where you intended it to be, but the place and time is where the snake intended to be)
feral dog or cat
your museum/herbarium specimens that are appropriately marked with date and location of original collection
garden plant that is reproducing on its own and spreading outside of the intended gardening area
a pigeon that benefits from human populations but is not actually raised by humans
a bird caught by a pet cat (presuming the bird isn't also a pet)
living organisms dispersed by the wind, water, and other forces apart from humans
a species that had been introduced to a new region and has established a population outside of human care

Posted by kestrel over 2 years ago (Flag)

Excellent thanks for the post.
Some great examples in the 2 categories, I especially like the fly on a zebra in a zoo!
(I could wax lyrical about one of the examples in top list i.e. Tree planted 1, 10, or 100 years ago, but I have said enough already) 🤓

Posted by davemmdave over 2 years ago (Flag)

I went to a park, within my bubble but. it was made up of native plants. I'm not sure if these were planted specifically or just survived through the urbanisation/naturally spread. What do I do there?

Posted by ruth103 over 2 years ago (Flag)

@ruth103 Just use your best judgement. If you're not sure, I'd leave them as wild. If someone who is IDing your observations knows more about the park and knows they're planted, they also have the ability to mark those observations as not wild.

Posted by kestrel over 2 years ago (Flag)

I've only just joined in order to do this (a friend has been busy recruiting!).. When I uploaded my photo and accompanying audio, there was only one point that I was given the field "Project" to complete, and there was no drop down or autofill - I just typed "City Nature Challenge 2020" but it didn't seem to register/tag/show it had been acknowledged. How can I be sure it will find it's way to your project? Or am I too late and the project has already closed? Thank you!

Posted by cedrusdaughterus over 2 years ago (Flag)

@sallykendrick The CNC has already closed, it was only April 24-27. And you don't have to enter it in the project field, as long as you joined the project, it will automatically take your observations when it meets the criteria. Hope you can participate next time! Also the project https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/socially-distant-bioblitz-5-3-2020 is about to start tomorrow, you can join that one, it is worldwide.

Posted by bug_girl over 2 years ago (Flag)

Oh, I read that you could upload through to May 3rd (They are from 26th April). Oh well. Next year indeed. Well done on such high participation :)

Posted by cedrusdaughterus over 2 years ago (Flag)

@sallykendrick If the observation is from 24-27 you can upload them until tomorrow, but make sure you change the time to when you saw it.

Posted by bug_girl over 2 years ago (Flag)

How do I upload an observation from the 24-27 now?

Posted by erinwalsh over 2 years ago (Flag)

@erinwalsh When you are uploading it, it says date observed. Usually it automatically sets it to today, so you need to manually change it to the day you saw it. It should then automatically be part of the CNC as long as you joined the project.

Posted by bug_girl over 2 years ago (Flag)

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