City Nature Challenge 2018: Boston Area's News

January 13, 2020

Ready for the City Nature Challenge 2020?

The City Nature Challenge (CNC) is back! This year the CNC will have about 200 cities participating in this global effort to document urban biodiversity. The 2020 CNC: Boston Area will now include within the I-495 corridor, out to Stellwagen Bank, and include Cape Cod and islands. You can once again help boost Boston to the top of the leaderboard by making observations from April 24 - 27 and/or helping to identify observations from April 28 - May 3, 2020. Please join the 2020 project for more news and updates here. Join the 2020 iNaturalist project to keep up to date: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2020-boston-area

Thanks to your efforts in 2019, we recorded 20,443 observations of 1,480 species by 1,133 observers in the Boston Area! For 2020, we aim to increase participation, improve the quality of observations, and promote exploration of diverse habitats.

If you or your organization is interested in joining the 2020 CNC please join us on Monday, January 13th for a Welcome Webinar (https://brandeis.zoom.us/j/679819416) to learn more. We will meet using Zoom from 10:30 - 11:30 am. Our Welcome Webinar will provide an overview of the CNC and be an opportunity for new and returning organizations to ask questions, share feedback, and connect. We will also host a CNC Meet-up for participating organizations on the afternoon of Monday, February 10 at the Franklin Park Zoo - please save the date!

We look forward to another great City Nature Challenge!

On behalf of the Boston Area City Nature Challenge Steering Committee,

Aimee Bonanno, New England Aquarium and New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative
Colleen Hitchcock, Brandeis University
Eliza Forman and Cynthia Mead, Zoo New England
Peter Burn, Suffolk University
Pam DiBona, MassBays National Estuary Partnership
Stan Rullman and Mark Chandler, Earthwatch Institute
Rob Stevenson, University of Massachusetts Boston

Posted on January 13, 2020 01:18 by hitchco hitchco | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 04, 2018

Thank you Boston Area CNC-ers!

Well the CNC is officially complete now -- as of 9:00 AM this morning. We did it! We want to give a big thank you to everyone who participated in the City Nature Challenge, whether you joined one of our events or observed on your own, or helped identify. We had some challenging conditions and had a spectacular turnout of observations and species. But most impressively, we came in 3rd place for number of observers! Nearly 1,000 people across the region participated!!! Amazing.

Here are the overall rankings as of now (these numbers will change a bit).

Boston numbers:
Observations: 16,551 --- we are ranked 11th
Species: 1,410 --- Boston ranked 14th
Observers: 992 -- 3rd !!!!!
Identifiers: 412

Overall CNC so far:
Observations: 423,850
Species: 18,097
Identifiers: 3,746
Observers: 16,368

These numbers will continue to change over time as more observations are identified and verified. What a great snapshot of urban biodiversity around the world!! We encourage you to explore observations from all cities through the City Nature Challenge 2018 Umbrella Project.

What are the coolest things you're seeing from Boston and other cities? Make your comments below.

We hope you will continue the fun and document other cool things you see around our area, or anywhere you go, and we will see you next year for the 2019 City Nature Challenge!

Posted on May 04, 2018 17:10 by alorenz alorenz | 0 comments | Leave a comment

The Final Push

Hey all!

Tomorrow morning at 9am, winners will be announced for the CNC! Boston has done an absolutely amazing job and you have all contributed great images. Over the last few days, we've had lots of experts and enthusiasts weigh in and help identify observations. Looking at some of the other cities, Boston did a great job covering the "tree of life" with lots of plants, animals, fungi, and even some microorganisms!

We still have a few hours - so if you can help identify anything, take some time tonight or tomorrow morning to look through observations and make some suggestions.

We will be back tomorrow with the results!

Posted on May 04, 2018 01:40 by alorenz alorenz | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 29, 2018

Day 2: Keep up the Momentum!

Another amazing day, Team Boston! We have now surpassed all of our goals for 2018, and we're only halfway through the CNC. With our rain last night and a bright sunny, warm day today we were able to take advantage of the best conditions for finding critters from the sky to the soil. Here is the schedule for tomorrow:

Sunday Schedule

8:00-9:30am - Malden River City Nature Challenge: Rivers Edge Park
Location: Park at River's Edge ( map.) Meet at the northern end of the parkwhere the walking path intersects CommercialStreet (near 498 Commercial St.Medford).

The Friends of the Malden River are partnering with The National Park Service to document urban biodiversity at two locations along the river; Rivers Edge Park and Gateway Park as part of the 2018 City Nature Challenge! Come join us! Wear closed-toe shoes, longpants, and bring a reusable water bottle.Don’t forget your phone/camera!

9:00-11:30am - 2018 City Nature Challenge at the Fells
Location: Fells Reservation - East Border section - 113 South Border Road - Medford, MA 02148 (map )
For details, link here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-city-nature-challenge-at-the-fells-tickets-44672744381

9:00-11:00am - Wetland Wonders, Arnold Arboretum
Location: Meet in front of the Hunnewell Building. Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, 125 Arborway, Boston, MA 02130
Supporting the nearby Alder and Willow collections, the Meadow Road wetland (sometimes called “The Meadow”) is mostly known for its much-loved cattails and late-summer sunflowers. Join us to explore the plant species found in this urban wetland and learn about the birds, insects and other wildlife that call it home. This event is open to guests of all ages, and you’ll need a smartphone with a camera to participate in the citizen science portion. All necessary iNaturalist training will be provided. Be sure to wear boots or waterproof shoes!

9:30-11:30am - Kids, Bugs, Art: Make a Beetle!
Location: Danehy Park, 99 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA (map)
We're guiding kids to make various species of local beetles from folded paper and scissors; this session will be best for kids who are reasonably comfortable with scissors.

10:00-11:30am - Malden River City Nature Challenge: Gateway Park!
Location: Meet at the southern end of the trail nearthe Costco parking lot (near 81 MysticView Rd. Everett). Wear closed-toe shoes,long pants, and bring a reusable waterbottle. Don’t forget your phone/camera!

The Friends of the Malden River are partnering with The National Park Service to document urban biodiversity at two locations along the river; Rivers Edge Park and Gateway Park as part of the 2018 City Nature Challenge! Come join us! Wear closed-toe shoes, longpants, and bring a reusable water bottle.Don’t forget your phone/camera! For more info; emailfriendsofthemaldenriver@gmail.comor call Karen Buck, 617-460-6080

10:00am - 12:00pm - Beverly Public Pier (Glover's Wharf)
Location: Meet at the parking lot near the Beverly Harbormaster’s Office (11 Cabot Street, Beverly)

12:00 -2:00pm - 'Deis does Citizen Science: Brandeis Bioblitz
Location: Brandeis University Shapiro Campus Center
Join Brandeis students for a campus wide bioblitz to help in this year's City Nature Challenge! We'll be meeting at the SCC to discuss the event before walking around campus. We will end by meeting in Goldfarb Library to upload our data to iNaturalist. Please register for this free event here: https://goo.gl/forms/SkBclep6SpNgx2ZJ2

1:00-4:00pm - Oak Street Conservation Area Bioblitz
Location: Lincoln Hill and Murray's Brook Conservation Areas, Foxboro, MA 02035 (map ). Parking area is located on east side of Oak Street across from house #155.

Join Pare Corporation for the iNaturalist 2018 City Nature Challenge as we explore and document the biodiversity of the Oak Street Conservation Area in Foxboro. We will be using the iNaturalist app to photograph and upload as many species as possible as we explore a variety of habitats. Open to nature lovers of all ages and experience levels!
Register here: https://goo.gl/forms/MWKJTp1qQXQtHzL93

1:00-3:00pm - A Walk Through Central Woodland, Arnold Arboretum
Location: Meet at Cherry Collection (Prunus spp.). Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, 125 Arborway, Boston, MA 02130, USA
Join us for an afternoon of festivities in the Cherry Collection (Prunus spp.) near Forest Hills Road and the Bradley Rosaceous Collection. Explore a diverse and growing collection of flowering cherries that includes plants collected early in plant explorer Ernest Henry Wilson's career, rare native species, and many species not typically found in the nursery trade.

1:00-3:00pm - Kids, Bugs, Art: Make a Butterfly or Moth!
Location: Fresh Pond, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA, Maynard Ecology Center
Sunday afternoon at the Fresh Pond Reservation's Maynard Ecology Center, we have two tracks of activity. First, we're guiding kids to make hummingbird and clearwing moth finger puppets (for littles and older; some materials are pre-cut). Second, we're inviting adult/child pairs to collaboratively make giant parade butterflies and moths (for approx. fourth graders and up with their adult; middle schoolers and up can do this without an adult). These giant creatures will be added to our Cambridge Wildlife "menagerie" of giant puppets.

2:00-3:30pm - Ponding at the Park
Location: Meet at Willow Pond near the Rhoades Avenue entrance (55 Rhoades Avenue, Walpole, 02032). (MAP: https://goo.gl/maps/Wh2kfhJTa3k)
Let's catch some frogs (and many other critters)! Join us at Willow Pond as we use nets to scoop up and get a closer look at the wide variety of living creatures who call the pond home. Ponds are great places to observe nature as the water and surrounding areas attract all categories of animals — insects, reptiles, birds, mammals, and, of course, our amphibious friends, frogs! Let's learn more about this fascinating ecosystem!

Nets, guides, and collection bins provided, but feel free to bring your own. All ages welcome. Children ages 8 & under must be accompanied by an adult. Questions? Contact Maura (508.668.6136). For updates and announcements, please follow Bird Park programs on Facebook @friendsofbirdpark.

4:00-6:30pm - Delectable Oysters at Winthrop
Location: We will be meeting towards the Porrazzo Skating Rink at the end of Constitution Beach.
199 Coleridge St, East Boston, MA 02128
Join MIT Sea Grant in the Delectable Oysters data quest. By recording oyster shells along the beach, we will monitor Boston's coastal biodiversity. Be prepared for wind and sun, and wear shoes that can get wet.Hosted by MIT Sea Grant - Carolina Bastidas, Juliet Simpson

Posted on April 29, 2018 05:15 by alorenz alorenz | 1 comments | Leave a comment

April 28, 2018

Day 1: WELL DONE BOSTON AREA!!! + Saturday Schedules

WOW!!! We are crushing it, Boston. Throughout the day we've been in 2nd - 6th place out of 65 cities, even with a very rainy afternoon. We have already well surpassed participation from last year with 309 observers today, and almost met our total number of observations from last year in just one day!

So, keep up the amazing work and look forward to some much better weather tomorrow (Saturday). There are 18 scheduled events tomorrow across the region, listed below. Join one of these organized events, or go on adventure with your favorite people!

Saturday Schedule


ALL DAY - Mass Audubon Volunteer Day
Spend the morning helping wildlife sanctuaries with habitat restoration, garden maintenance or clean-ups, all the while adding to wildlife sightings for the City Nature Challenge.
Full Details

7:00-8:00am - Franklin Park Bird Walk at Scarboro Pond
Ed O’Brien, Assistant Curator of Bird’s World at Franklin Park Zoo, will lead this walk, with a focus on birds. Meet at Scarboro Pond in Franklin Park. Dress for a walk in the woods with long pants and sturdy hiking shoes.
Register on the Franklin Park Zoo Website.

8:00-9:00am - Guided Tour: Let's Go Birding
Location: Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, 125 Arborway, Boston, MA 02130
This event is open to all ages, and you’ll need a smartphone with a camera to participate in the citizen science portion. All necessary iNaturalist training will be provided.

8:30-11:30am - Fresh Pond Reservation Earthwatch Bioblitz
Join Earthwatch scientists for our kickoff event for the Boston Area City Nature Challenge at Fresh Pond in Cambridge, MA! Drs. Stan Rullman and Mark Chandler will guide us through an exploration of the urban wildlife of Fresh Pond Reservation’s Black’s Nook and Lusitania Meadow.
Schedule of Events

  • 8:30–9:00 a.m.: Meet in front of Cambridge Water Department for an Earthwatch meet and greet! Learn about the CNC with other Earthwatch volunteers and staff.
  • 9:30–10:15 a.m.: Meet at Lusitania Meadow for a nature walk led by local naturalists.
  • 10:00–11:00 a.m.: Meet at Alewife Pond for a nature walk led by Earthwatch Research Director Dr. Stan Rullman.
  • 10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.: Meet at Black's Nook Pond for a nature walk led by local naturalists.

9:00am - 2:30pm - Boston Harbor Islands Spectacle Island Bioblitz (FULL)

10:00am - 12:00pm - Beverly Commons Conservation Area Exploration
Location: Explore Beverly Commons! Meet at the entrance near Glen Urquhart on Farms Lane, Beverly MA

10:00am -11:00am - Franklin Park Bugs and Fungi at Shattuck Picnic Area
Location: Meet at Shattuck picnic area
Jef Taylor, Senior Keeper at Franklin Park Zoo, will lead a bug and fungi walk using the iNaturalist app. Dress for a walk in the woods with long pants and sturdy hiking shoes.
Register on the Franklin Park Zoo Website.

12:00-3:00pm - Wright Farm Spring Celebration
Location: 241 Grove St, Lexington, MA 02420, USA
Celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day at Lexington's newest Conservation property! Plenty of activities and displays for the whole family. Parking at Wright Farm is limited at present. Please carpool, bike, or walk if that is feasible. Parking is allowed on Carriage Drive.

1:00-4:00pm - Canoe River Wilderness Bioblitz
Location: Parking and Meeting area is at the Greeley’s Pond access road to the rear of #7 East St in Foxborough
Join Pare Corporation for the iNaturalist 2018 City Nature Challenge as we explore and document the biodiversity of the Canoe River Wilderness Area. Open to nature lovers of all ages and experience levels!
Register here

1:00-3:00pm - A Walk Through Central Woodland, Arnold Arboretum
Location: Meet at the intersection of Conifer Path and Valley Road
Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, 125 Arborway, Boston, MA 02130
Ready to explore the Arboretum’s wild side? Join us for a walk through Central Woodland, one of the Arboretum’s minimally maintained natural areas, and learn about the history and ecology of these often-overlooked “urban wilds”. We’ll see traces of New England history and glimpses of the future among remnant native plants and encroaching invaders. This event is open to guests of all ages, and you’ll need a smartphone with a camera to participate in the citizen science portion.

1:00-3:00pm - Bioblitz with Friends of Lynn Woods
Location: Lynn Woods, 106 Pennybrook Rd, Lynn, MA 01905. Meet at the Penny Brook Entrance.
We will be taking pictures of as many different types of animals, insects, plants, and fungi as we can find. A cell phone camera is fine but optional, and no special knowledge required.

1:00-2:30pm - Mass Audubon Boston Nature Center Bioblitz!
Location: Boston Nature Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, 500 Walk Hill St, Mattapan, MA 02126
Explore a beautiful urban wildlife sanctuary as we attempt to identify as many plant and animal species on the sanctuary as we can. We will learn about how scientists sample, and use field guides to identify the living things that call BNC home. Register Here

1:30-3:00pm - Kids, Bugs, Art: Make a Bee!
Location: Magazine Beach, Cambridge, MA 02139
We're providing supplies and guidance to make Bumble Bee (Bombus spp.) hand puppets for older kids (approx. 2nd grade and up; kids at the younger end of this range may need help from a parent or one of our Art Guide volunteers)

2:00-3:00pm - Franklin Park Salamanders and Aquatic Invertebrates at the Ellicott Arch
Location: Franklin Park - Meet at Ellicott Arch
Joseph Martinez, from the Herpetology Department at Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology, will lead this walk, primarily focusing on salamanders and aquatic invertebrates. Dress for a walk in the woods with long pants and sturdy hiking shoes.
Register on the Franklin Park Zoo Website.

3:00-6:00pm - Swampscott Town-wide Bioblitz
Location: Swampscott Citizen Science Teens will be at Harold King Town Forest (1 Nichols Street), Eiseman's / New Ocean House Beach, and the Middle School Recreation Area.

Join the Swampscott Citizen Science Teens and Girl Scouts of Ocean Bay to document the species that live in Swampscott by participating in a town-wide BioBlitz. Help support Conservation Commission in documenting our town's biodiversity. No experience necessary. Bring a digital camera or smart phone (with iNaturalist installed).

3:00-5:00pm - Niles Beach Cleanup and Bioblitz
Location: Niles Beach, Gloucester, MA 01930, USA (map)
Join Encyclopedia of Life and Kestrel Educational Adventures for a fun biodiversity survey and trash cleanup at Niles Beach as part of the City Nature Challenge: Boston Area. Part Science - Part Stewardship! Help us comb the beach for shells, explore the tidepools, look at plankton under microscopes, even snorkel in the eelgrass beds if you're feeling brave!

3:00-4:00pm - Franklin Park Reptiles and Amphibians at Scarboro Pond
Location: Meet at Scarboro Pond, Franklin Park.
Joseph Martinez will lead this walk, primarily focusing on reptiles and amphibians. Participants should come prepared to walk in the woods and should dress accordingly by wearing long pants and sturdy walking shoes. Register on the Franklin Park Zoo Website.

4:30-5:30pm - Shoreline Nature Walk, Orchard Beach, Squantum
Location: Orchard Beach, Squantum. Meet at intersection of Huckins Ave. and Bayside Rd., Quincy
Lead by Peter Fifield, this Environmental Treasures program will follow the comprehensive oyster protocol at the beginning. Then, people will be free to do some casual observations. Peter will wander around helping people and bringing them to areas where they may find more exotic shells and other interesting things. Rubber boots and gloves recommended.

Posted on April 28, 2018 02:43 by alorenz alorenz | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 26, 2018

Just a few hours away!

The CNC has officially begun with observations already rolling in from Klang Valley, Malaysia and Hong Kong! Keep track of what's happening around the world on the CNC leaderboard . Are you ready to get out and observe, Boston??

Check our updated Calendar of Events for over 40 organized activities to choose from across the Boston area.

Posted on April 26, 2018 17:41 by alorenz alorenz | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 19, 2018

The Countdown is ON!

It's hard to believe with this winter weather, but the City Nature Challenge is only 8 days away! Check out our Boston Area CNC website with a calendar of dozens of events happening throughout the area. You can join an organized event or make observations on your own with friends and family.

Even with some cold days, spring is progressing - the migratory birds are chirping, insects are flying, and amphibians have returned to vernal pools. Green is popping back up all over the New England landscape! This week is a great time to practice making observations. If you are new to iNaturalist, check out the site's excellent resources about how to taking good photos with your smart phone, uploading observations, and making identifications on the Getting Started page.

We will continue updating the calendar with events. Feel free to add your comments or questions below if you are planning a meetup in your area.

With your help, we can discover more about our local biodiversity, contribute observations to research, and win this thing!!

Posted on April 19, 2018 16:38 by alorenz alorenz | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 19, 2018

Sign up to be a Boston partner!

Hello Boston CNC Participants,

The City Nature Challenge (CNC) is back! This year the CNC is international with 65 cities worldwide participating in this global effort to document urban biodiversity. We are spearheading the Boston Area campaign for 2018 and are again focusing within the I-495 corridor and out to Stellwagen Bank to discover and document our unique biodiversity.

We have an amazing team of partners, but need your help to reach more people and record more observations. If you or your organization is interested in helping out, please fill out this Google Form by March 9. More ways to get involved below.

Here are a few of the ways you can help highlight the amazing biodiversity in our region and position Boston to be a leader in the CNC:
Spread the word! Send out information on the CNC to your member or volunteer lists.
Incorporate CNC into your existing events. If you're already holding an event or events during April 27 - 30, we can help with resources for using iNaturalist at the event. Hikes, restoration events, festivals - all of those could provide great opportunities for making observations. Let us know the details of where, when, and who you are targeting and we’ll add it to the calendar of events.
Plan an event specifically for people to make iNaturalist observations. A short bioblitz? A nature documentation hike? If you and/or your staff are willing to hold an event it would be AWESOME! If aren't familiar with iNaturalist, we may be able to come give a short iNaturalist training (in-person or virtual) so you feel comfortable with the platform (and see how cool it is for this sort of biodiversity documentation!)
Have your site listed as a place to go to make observations. We can help drive people to your location by listing it as a place to go to observe. Consider offering a discount for admission during the CNC to get people out!
Help make IDs during the event and the identification period (4/27-5/3)! The more observations we get down to species level, the more species we add to our tally!
• Make use of the data collected by the CNC to help your efforts. Let us know what kinds of data you need for your conservation, management, research or general interest purposes and we can help identify the best way of accessing the data collected from iNaturalist.
• If you’re an educator (formal or informal) let us help you get youth involved with our Educator’s Toolkit! This includes NGSS-aligned pre-, during, and post-event materials.

However you participate we want to support your efforts. Our resources can help build your capacity. We have flyers, iNaturalist how-to handouts and trainings, science quests to delve deeper, and an Educator’s Toolkit to help you engage others. We have a website and will also have social media, an event calendar, and list of places to visit to help drive participants to your site.

The City Nature Challenge is a great introduction to citizen science and urban biodiversity. Again, if this sounds interesting to you or your organization, please let us know by completing this Google Form by March 9. We will get back in touch to coordinate in February. Please feel free to recommend additional contacts, or forward this to others who you think might want to participate.

On behalf of the Boston City Nature Challenge Steering Committee, happy observing!

CNC: Boston Area Steering Committee:
• Eric Baitchman, Zoo New England
• Aimee Bonanno, New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative
• Mark Chandler, Earthwatch Institute
• Priyanka deSouza, MIT
• Colleen Hitchcock, Brandeis University
• Erin Kelly, Mass Audubon
• Amy Lorenz, Encyclopedia of Life
• Cynthia Mead, Zoo New England
• Rob Stevenson, University of Massachusetts Boston
• Marie Studer, Encyclopedia of Life

Posted on January 19, 2018 21:35 by heatherhops2it heatherhops2it | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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