Earth Day Every Day!

Hello and Happy Earth Day from the Greater Phoenix Area organizers! We wanted to take this time to go over the significance of participating in the City Nature Challenge and how your observations contribute to something much bigger. Believe it or not, your photos in iNaturalist are considered important data for scientists who aim to better understand biodiversity within an ecosystem. Why is this important? Before we answer that, we have to discuss the meaning of “biodiversity”. Biodiversity refers to the variety of all living creatures on the planet, ranging from tiny microbes and fungi to the largest animals on the planet. We may not see it in real time but the various organisms found in an area all play an important role in helping that ecosystem thrive.

Now we can circle back to why this is important; if we don’t know something is there we can’t protect it. In other words, documenting organisms year after year helps us better understand which species exist and how those species adapt to changing environments. This in turn helps us determine which species may become threatened or endangered and how we can better help or support them through science or policy changes. But why urban biodiversity? About half of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas. These urban ecosystems are often understudied and urban biodiversity contributes to healthier and more resilient communities. Urban nature can reduce pollution, provide food security, keep urban areas cooler and reduce stress. By understanding more about the nature in our neighborhoods, we can better serve and care for our communities.

It’s important to make sure your observations contain enough information such as, a date, location, photo or sound and is truly wild meaning, it can’t be a potted plant or animal in captivity. This criteria helps others in identifying your observations because they could someday be used in scientific publications. Of course, all of this is contingent upon members of the community, like you! YOU have the choice to engage in iNaturalist and by uploading your observations and contributing to the documentation of biodiversity in your area.

Posted by jenydavis jenydavis, April 22, 2021 16:54


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