City Nature Challenge 2020: The Maritimes Umbrella Project's News

January 25, 2020

Looking for new ideas related to iNaturalist? Part 3: Explore places

As mentioned many times, the objectives of our regional CNC projects are to encourage our entire community, old and young alike, to get outdoors, to explore, and to observe nature. Too often we think that we have to leave the Maritimes in order to go on an adventure. We hope that as part of the CNC you will learn that you don’t need to venture far from home.

Do you know exactly what lives just outside your door? Are you prepared to go outside and explore? What plants/weeds are growing in your yard? What lives under the rocks, behind the bushes, in the trees? What is growing next to the street and/or in cracks in the sidewalk?

Do you have a favourite park or green space in your neighbourhood? Plan to go on a solo adventure or get a group together and see if you can find as many species as possible. Challenge your relatives, friends, neighbours, coworkers, fellow dog walkers, anyone with a pulse …

Do you want to find new areas to explore? If you live in the urban Halifax area when was the last time that you explored local parks, gardens, and trails such as Point Pleasant Park, the Dingle (Sir Sandford Fleming Park), Fort Needham, the Public Gardens, or the Frog Pond? Have you ventured over to Dartmouth and visited Birch Cove Park or gone to Admiral Cove Park in Bedford? For more ideas of HRM places to visit click here.

Are you aware of the many trails in your area? Have you walked/hiked/biked/paddled any of the sections of The Great Trail? Check out the following iNat Great Trail umbrella project made for the 2020 CNC.

It isn’t necessary to have a car to get to many locations – perhaps you have access to a bicycle or perhaps you can hop on a bus.

During the CNC we hope that you will have many opportunities to observe nature in many different locations. It is not necessary for everyone to upload photos of every plant/animal that you see to iNaturalist. By signing up to iNat and sharing at least one observation you will help increase the #participants count. If you drag others along to keep you company encourage them to signup as well!

If you are out biking or hiking, consider looking around and observing nature at the start and end of your trip as well as during breaks. If you are keen take a few photos. Remember, photos don’t need to be uploaded to iNat immediately – wait and upload to iNat when back in a free wifi zone.

By sharing observations from many different locations, researchers will have access to a large pool of data required to study local, regional, national, and global geographic variations.

By exploring any location, you personally can gain an appreciation for the biodiversity all around us.

Although the CNC is restricted to a 4-day period following Earth Day we hope that you will enjoy using iNaturalist and will incorporate sharing observations of nature into your regular day to day routine. By exploring locations over periods of time you can/will observe seasonal and climatic changes. By sharing these observations with iNat, researchers (and the public) will have access to the data that they need to manage resources and study climate change.

Encourage others to come explore our Maritime provinces – We are lucky, we simply have to open our door, step outside, and an adventure can begin.

Posted on January 25, 2020 20:21 by mkkennedy mkkennedy | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Looking for new ideas related to iNaturalist? Part 2: Explore online

Generally, when we talk about the Maritimes City Nature Challenge, we state that our objectives are simple – we wish to encourage people of all ages to get outdoors; to explore; to observe nature; to share observations; and to have fun. We have skipped over another important component of iNaturalist – the one where you can stay indoors and explore content already posted to iNat.

At this time of year many avid gardeners are indoors pouring over seed catalogues and making plans for spring. iNatters can also take advantage of inclement weather or long dark evenings and browse iNat content.

April and the City Nature Challenge will be here before we know it. Take advantage of free time now and use the iNat Explore feature to view observations from areas of interest. Perhaps come up with a list of places that you might wish to visit during the CNC. Perhaps there is a list of species that you want to find or gaps in species distribution that you wish to fill. Perhaps there are iNat projects that interest you that you didn't know existed - perhaps share a few of these in the comments section below!

To view iNat content from the six Maritime CNC areas we have set up an umbrella project – this project isn’t restricted to the CNC April time period. All observations ever shared from the 6 Maritime areas can be viewed here.

If while you are exploring iNat you stumble across a few observations of species that you recognize take a moment or two and provide a name – iNat works because the community assists with identification.

Posted on January 25, 2020 18:49 by mkkennedy mkkennedy | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 24, 2020

Looking for new ideas related to iNaturalist? Part I: Explore indoors

It is 6am, the sun isn’t up yet, and it is very dark outside. I am spending a few days at our cottage and early mornings here are very peaceful - the fire is glowing nicely, and I have few lights on as I upload observations to iNaturalist. But I know that I am not alone – I can hear the resident mouse as he is rustling around in the bin of kindling in the corner by the wood stove…

Yesterday I found a weird (i.e. new to me) ‘bug’ in the bathtub. I knew that it wasn’t a spider nor was it a tick. To help figure out what it might be of course I took a photo…and posted this to iNaturalist.

After a couple of cups of coffee my mind started to spin, and this lead me down a new rabbit hole which has led to this blog.

I fired off the following question to an iNat City Nature Challenge group: ‘If a beetle/spider/insect is found indoors should it be flagged as 'captive?' (We have lots of bugs inside as we bring in wood for the fireplace…)

I received the following reply: ‘species are still considered wild unless we intentionally bring them indoors.’

I was also sent a link to a very relevant iNat project: Never Home Alone: The Wild Life of Homes.
Info on this site incudes a great video where they explore someone’s house looking for spiders, etc. I quite enjoyed it – it did help knowing that the video was created in the States and our Canadian homes are less likely to have quite so many spiders… To view the movie click here.

Last evening, I went off to explore our basement…bad timing as the cottage had just been vacuumed earlier in the day but I did find a couple of spiders!

If from time to time you find critters indoors and you upload your observations to iNaturalist then consider joining the ‘Never home alone’ project. This iNat project does require that observations are Research Grade so you will have to put in a bit of effort to get your observation identified.

Below are a few recommendations if you post ‘indoor’ content.
1. Add an observation field: ‘Habitat’ and then populate this field with ‘dwelling’. (It will indicate that they were not observed outdoors in a natural setting.)
2. Add a tag: ‘indoors’ (This will facilitate filtering out this collection of critters – useful for identifiers)
3. Add observation to the Never home alone project (you must join this project first and then your observation must be Research Grade)
4. Encourage spider/insect/bug experts to monitor iNat and assist with the identification process.
5. Encourage others to explore indoors!

Here is a link to a few of my iNat indoor observations – if you recognize any please help identify!
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Posted on January 24, 2020 16:40 by mkkennedy mkkennedy | 1 comments | Leave a comment

January 18, 2020

Diversity in the Maritimes

When exploring the iNaturalist Canada site you probably noticed that one can toggle between Français|English on the top menu bar. Are you aware that you can select other languages from a lengthy list on the bottom of the web page? Are you aware that you can set your preferred language under your account settings?

As of January 2020, iNaturalist has been translated into the following languages:
Shqip (Albanian)
العربية (Arabic)
euskara (Basque)
Breton (Breton)
български (Bulgarian)
Català (Catalan)
简体中文 (Chinese Simplified)
繁體中文 (Chinese Traditional)
český (Czech)
Dansk (Danish)
Nederlands (Dutch)
Esperanto (Esperanto)
Eesti (Estonian)
Suomi (Finnish)
français (French)
Français (Canada) (French, Canada)
Galician (Galician)
Deutsch (German)
Ελληνικά (Greek)
עברית (Hebrew)
Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
Italiano (Italian)
日本語 (Japanese)
한국어 (Korean)
Lietuvių (Lithuanian)
Lëtzebuergesch (Luxembourgish)
македонски (Macedonian)
Norsk Bokmål (Norwegian Bokmal)
Occitan (Occitan)
Polski (Polish)
Portuguese (Portuguese)
Português (Brasil) (Portuguese, Brazilian)
Русский (Russian)
Slovenský (Slovak)
Español (Spanish)
Español (Argentina) (Spanish, Argentina)
Español (México) (Spanish, Mexico)
Svenska (Swedish)
Türkçe (Turkish)

Help us highlight diversity in the Maritimes. Choose your language and start exploring!

NOTE iNat is not currently accessible in Miꞌkmaq nor Gaelic. If you are able to help translate into either of these languages, please contact us at

Posted on January 18, 2020 16:36 by mkkennedy mkkennedy | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 13, 2020

Sign up to iNaturalist Canada!

If you are reading this blog then we hope that you are interested in participating in the 2020 City Nature Challenge. One of the first steps is to join iNaturalist. If you are Canadian, please go to and join. To verify if your iNat account is associated with Canada simply review your iNat profile settings.

Why associate with
iNaturalist Canada is a member of the iNaturalist Network (a collection of localized websites that are fully connected to the global iNaturalist community). Network sites are supported by local institutions that have signed an agreement with iNaturalist to promote local use and benefit local biodiversity. They have access to true coordinates from their countries that are automatically obscured from public view in order to protect threatened species.

How does iNat deal with postings of species that are threatened/endangered or of conservation concern?
Coordinates are automatically obscured for all taxa that are "NEAR THREATENED" or worse according to the IUCN Red List, with some exceptions. NatureServe Canada's Conservations Data Centers (CDCs), establish and maintain the conservation statuses for each province and territory (except Quebec) that control the automatically obscured taxa. In the Maritimes the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre (ACCDC) is located in Sackville, NB.

Posted on January 13, 2020 11:29 by mkkennedy mkkennedy | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 12, 2020

Are you ready for an unforgettable adventure?

In 2019 HRM was the sole Maritime entry in the international City Nature Challenge (CNC). This year six Maritime areas (the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), the Valley, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM), Saint John, Westmorland County, and Urban PEI (Charlottetown + Summerside) are registered to participate along with 250+ cities in this huge global biodiversity citizen science event.

Help boost your favourite Maritime area(s) by recording observations between April 24 - 27 and/or helping to identify observations between April 28 - May 3, 2020. Let’s beat the HRM’s record of 7,646 observations from last year!

Please share the Maritimes CNC 2020 poster and help promote this event.

Join this 2020 umbrella project and Facebook for more news and updates for all the Maritime entries.

For more info on the global CNC project click here

Posted on January 12, 2020 23:34 by mkkennedy mkkennedy | 0 comments | Leave a comment