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 by sambiology sambiology, April 22, 2017 17:47

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Congrats to all that participated with a special thanks to Sam for all his help and encouragement. Plus a congratulations to Texas as a whole for getting 3 of the top 5 positions.

Posted by rmorgan almost 3 years ago (Flag)

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