April 28, 2017

Quick survey about the City Nature Challenge

City Nature Challenge participants! Thanks so much for your energy and enthusiasm for the City Nature Challenge this year – it was incredible to see so many people excited to document their local nature.

Please help us make the City Nature Challenge even better next year!

If you took part in the City Nature Challenge – whether you made 1 observation or 1000 – we’re hoping you’ll fill out this short (only 5 questions!) survey to let us know about your experience. All input is important and appreciated!

Link to survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CNC2017

Thanks in advance!
Alison Young & Lila Higgins, City Nature Challenge coordinators
(California Academy of Sciences & Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County)

Posted on April 28, 2017 00:29 by kestrel kestrel | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 22, 2017

The City Nature Challenge was a huge success.

The City Nature Challenge was a huge success.

Many of us in Dallas/Fort Worth are worn out, but I do hope it’s a good kind of worn out! I was out quite a bit with fellow naturalists throughout the weekend. On Easter, I even went out a bit by myself. I explored, noticed nature, and thoroughly enjoyed myself as I documented all of the living things around me. I was frequently reminded of just how many other creatures I share the planet with. It’s a wonderful experience. With iNaturalist, I have a tool that can help me learn the names of these plants and animals, and it connects me with other naturalists around the world. In DFW, I wasn’t alone in using this tool – almost 500 fellow citizen scientists joined me in this! Around 24000 observations of about 2300 species were documented during just 5 days (April 14 – 18). Amazing. For other stats, check here: https://nhm.org/nature/citizen-science/city-nature-challenge-2017-leaderboard

But what about the data? Well, let me tell you how I will use the data that we all accumulated during the city nature challenge. As an urban wildlife biologist, I am fortunate to have a direct line with many municipalities and policy makers. I work with city councils, park boards, landowners, and every day citizens. I already knew that there were people that cared about nature, but with the numbers from the city nature challenge, I have a tangible piece of evidence of just how much people care. This is significant!

Not only do these numbers show that diversity exists in the metroplex, but it also shows that there is an active constituency that wants to go to these areas with this diversity. It shows that if a city maintains areas that are good for wildlife, the naturalist community will come and enjoy it. This naturalist community will be stewards of it as well! Now, that is powerful. That is something that can change policy for future generations. That is good for wildlife and people.

I will be using these numbers and data for years and years to come.

If you’re looking for the ‘winners’ in this, let me be frank: nature won. Learning the names of the plants and animals that live here with us is the first step in learning all about them. The benefits of this challenge will be experienced for years to come! Share it with others!

Even though the City Nature Challenge is complete, I encourage you to continue to participate in citizen science! Exploration doesn’t end here – there are many more living organisms to appreciate in Dallas/Fort Worth. I encourage you to keep exploring and keep documenting. I challenge you to examine the observations of others as well as your own – ask for guidance, provide guidance, and learn from others. Stay in this naturalist community – it’s a welcoming one!

Congratulations to everyone that participated in this competition. I am mighty proud of my fellow naturalists here in the DFW metroplex. Great job. :)

Sam Kieschnick
sambiology
TPWD Urban Wildlife Biologist, DFW

Posted on April 22, 2017 17:47 by sambiology sambiology | 1 comments | Leave a comment

April 19, 2017

End of observing, time to upload and ID!

Holy moly.

Massively impressed with the citizen scientists from Dallas/Fort Worth! This was really magnificent to see just how many folks participated, and just how "into it" people got! Citizen science and nature are the winners in all of this.

Now, before we start to rest, we have our next challenge: uploading! If you were like me, you took a LOT of photos and haven't uploaded much. Well, we have until Saturday morning (April 22) to upload observations for them to 'count' in this challenge.

The other challenge is identifying... Now, observations will be identified for a long time to come, but to help out with our species count, we want to try to identify as much as possible before April 22 as well.

I encourage you to go through the observations of yours and others to give some guidance:
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/identify?quality_grade=any&project_id=10752

I'll repeat it a few times, but I hope everyone realizes how important this data is. I will use it as an urban wildlife biologist as I communicate with cities and municipalities. I can show policy makers that not only does diversity exist here in Dallas/Fort Worth, but there is a large community of individuals that actively seek it out. I can show them just how massive this constituency is and why it's important to manage public land for wildlife -- not just for the animals and plants, but also for the folks that care about them.

Way cool stuff, everyone. Now, time to upload! :)

Posted on April 19, 2017 15:34 by sambiology sambiology | 4 comments | Leave a comment

April 04, 2017

We need the "power users!" Competition heating up! We need you. :)

We need you. "We" is "nature in DFW" and "you" is "you."

The City Nature Challenge is just a few weeks away!

Weather will be the major dictator of how involved we get (rain predicted as of right now, but who knows?!? https://weather.com/weather/monthly/l/USTX0045:1:US), but we will need a REALLY big input from you all. You are the cream of the crop in DFW citizen scientists, and we have some major competition from the other 15 cities -- they are coming out big time for this challenge, so I hope we can too! :)

Again, ANY observation made within the 10 county region around Dallas/Fort Worth will count, but if you do want to gather with friends, there are lots of events going on around DFW during this weekend. Here's the semi-final list:

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

Monday, April 17…
9 am – noon: Mike Lewis Park in Grand Prairie *
1 pm – 4 pm: Cross Timbers Park in North Richland Hills *

Tuesday, April 18…
9:30 am – 11 am: Blackland Prairie Conservatory & Atelier prairie in Dallas
4 pm - 7 pm: Tandy Hills Park in Fort Worth *

So, you power users -- we need you biiiiiiig time! :) No obligations, of course, but I do hope you can go out and make some observations during this time!

@taogirl @cgritz @bob777 @naturenut @kimberlietx @annikaml @suz @andyk @mchlfx @zooga1961 @dfwuw @wildcarrot @itmndeborah @tfandre @butterflies4fun @brentano @atassin @jblinde @charley @aguilita @kalamurphyking @rmorgan @rehb @tadamcochran @squaylei2000 @mustardlypig @gaberlunzi @melindawpajak @griff @denver @picklepastures @genebem @catenatus @brenledbetter @daniel112 @galacticbirder @fiddleman @chuckd @dwboston @phlank @lkholt @juliayl @taharms48 @nativefishnic @brendakayforest @ryan3 @sbetzen @sy25805 @brennan3909 @karinsaucedo @rainahmcintyre @vadalton @pat_ry @mertmack1 @missypelican @donaldhapp @rangertreaty50 @ntc @happynaturalist @lulubelle @postoak @katiesmith @rangerrick @danimal @oddfitz @mduross @obidaddy @lbullington24 @michelleluster @forester14 @mnbrewer @wincal @taosit @sarahg @shaunhayes @bbenz @jaydubyah @krstldwn @ameec @laurastracke @apcorboy @hedgehogpro @briang @allopatry @kimberlywalks @wilddallas @mikef451 @frogfellow @hawkilitle @gregfw @donyoung @cdpeebles @karenkroesen @juicd @txlorax @diatomwu @sschickedanz @ordoneznikki @smcreynolds @sammyjames @nolmos @jbe_fleischman_fam @sarahedeerman @magatr0n @rnmisc @triddle @colormeamber @valt @lindsay31 @nickmdal @dagmar @abigailmm @ktcorson @k8thegr8 @cosmiccat @tangelaspain @rewildling @notana @mockingbird75067 @jillnugent @elisewalkerolc @troutlily57 @lovebirder @oliviaosborne @torimccoyhowell @interlibrarylowe @naturemom @hebell @fw_tom @aprilbarnett75 @collinswill @lkpres @h2ddavis @lseman @manz @jerickson @christopher46 @crittergitter @elainecopeland @jessicabeckham @rustypaf @rangerdanielle @fratto @phototime @rljtexas

If you have any questions or concerns, let me know: sam.kieschnick@tpwd.texas.gov or send me a message here on iNat. I check it... frequently... to say the least. ;)

*just so you know, we're all winners and there are no losers in this thing. But let's do try to show the rest of the country just how magnificent the nature in DFW is!*

Posted on April 04, 2017 18:31 by sambiology sambiology | 94 comments | Leave a comment

March 06, 2017

City Nature Challenge, April 14 – 18 in DFW!

Short message:

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.

If you’re unfamiliar with the citizen science tool iNaturalist, here is a link to help you explore the website, and here are some handouts on how to use the app.

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

Monday, April 17…
9 am – noon: Mike Lewis Park in Grand Prairie *
1 pm – 4 pm: Cross Timbers Park in North Richland Hills *

Tuesday, April 18…
9:30 am – 11 am: Blackland Prairie Conservatory & Atelier prairie in Dallas
4 pm - 7 pm: Tandy Hills Park in Fort Worth *

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.

Sam Kieschnick
Urban Wildlife Biologist, DFW
Texas Parks and Wildlife
972-293-3841
sam.kieschnick@tpwd.texas.gov
sambiology on iNaturalist!

Posted on March 06, 2017 22:59 by sambiology sambiology | 20 comments | Leave a comment

February 17, 2017

Counties of the DFW area included in this competition

The DFW area encompasses these counties:
Wise, Parker, Denton, Tarrant, Johnson, Collin, Dallas, Ellis, Rockwall, and Kaufman.

Any observation uploaded in these areas during 14 - 18 April will be automatically added to this project.

Hope you're excited! We are! :)

Posted on February 17, 2017 18:20 by sambiology sambiology | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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