City Nature Challenge 2020's Journal

June 02, 2020

Virtual Bioblitz - Saturday, June 6!

Enjoyed the City Nature Challenge and looking for another together-yet-apart even to join in? Take part in our virtual bioblitz this coming Saturday!

We (the Citizen Science team at the California Academy of Sciences) are holding a virtual bioblitz on Saturday, June 6, starting at 10am Pacific Time / 17:00 UTC (check other time zones here). We realize daylight times in California are not ideal for much of the world, so be sure to check what time it will be for you before you sign up!

We've been missing our bioblitz community and thought this might be a nice way to meet new people, 'see' each other, and do something we love to do together... while still being physically apart. We'll start out on Zoom at 10am PT to go over the basics of bioblitzing for anyone who is new to it. Then we'll all head out - in our backyards, neighborhoods, a nearby park that's open - and bioblitz! We'll come back together at noon on Zoom to check out our project and share our finds. We're hoping it'll be a fun and casual no-pressure event: bioblitz at much as you want, where you want, by yourself or with your family!

To sign up, please fill out this form: bit.ly/virtbioblitz. If you'd definitely like to participate, please sign up soon since space is limited. After signing up, you'll get the link to the iNaturalist project to join so your observations will be counted. We'll send out the Zoom info later this week. Feel free to invite others to sign up as well - just send them the sign-up form!

Hope you're all staying safe and we hope to 'see' you on Saturday for the bioblitz!
-Alison (@kestrel), Rebecca (@rebeccafay), and Annie (@anniemiller)

Posted on June 02, 2020 16:24 by kestrel kestrel | 3 comments | Leave a comment

May 11, 2020

Join our research study!

Are you 19 or under and took part in the City Nature Challenge by making iNaturalist observations? Are you a parent/guardian with kids 5-19 years old who participated in the City Nature Challenge - either with you or with their own iNaturalist account? Are you continuing to use iNaturalist now that the City Nature Challenge is over? Please join our research study! We’re looking for youth aged 5-19 who use iNaturalist (regardless of participation in the City Nature Challenge, but we figured this was a good place to start!).

Click here to learn more & sign up.

The purpose of this study is to understand the experiences of young people aged 5 to 19 when using online citizen science platforms, in this case, iNaturalist. This is part of the Learning and Environmental science Agency Research Network for Citizen Science (LEARN CitSci), a research collaboration between UC Davis, the California Academy of Sciences, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the Natural History Museum London, Open University, and the University of Oxford. We are carrying out this research on behalf of the National Science Foundation, Wellcome, and Economic and Social Research Council who have funded this program.

If I take part in this research, what will be involved?
We will be analyzing the online participation of young people who take part in the iNaturalist platform. We do not want you to change your online activity as a result of consenting to this research, as we are interested in your online activity regardless of how often you participate.

In order to identify young people, you will be asked to confirm your age and gender, consent that you would like to participate in the study, and provide the username you use to log in to iNaturalist. This will enable us to identify, capture, and analyze your activities using the publicly-available data on iNaturalist. Don’t be surprised if you also get comments and identifications on your observations from the scientists and staff at our Natural History Museum partners!

Posted on May 11, 2020 20:48 by kestrel kestrel | 15 comments | Leave a comment

May 04, 2020

City Nature Challenge RESULTS

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who helped organize, participated in, and identified observations from the 5th annual City Nature Challenge! Despite a global pandemic, we had thousands more people participate compared to last year, and even with 150,000 fewer total observations compared to last year, we still ended up documenting more species!

Here are the collective results:
Observations: 815,258
Species: 32,500+, including more than 1,300 rare/endangered/threatened species
Observers: 41,165

Most-observed species globally: Common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Since you can't click the links in the infographic, here are some of the interesting observations from around the world:
Stripe-breasted Starthroat (Heliomaster squamosus)
Western Bobcat (Lynx rufus ssp. fasciatus)
Variable Peacock Spider (Maratus chrysomelas)
Epidendrum radioferens orchid
Marten's Sidegill Slug (Berthella martensi)
White-spotted Slimy Salamander (Plethodon cylindraceus)
Craven Featherwort (Pedinophyllum interruptum)
Plains Zebra (Equus quagga)

The City Nature Challenge also contributed to the most observations uploaded in a week on iNaturalist again!

Thanks everyone! Continue to help IDing those CNC observations - it takes awhile to get through them! We're looking forward to CNC 2021!

-Alison (@kestrel), Lila (@lhiggins), & Amy (@amyjaecker-jones)

Posted on May 04, 2020 20:23 by kestrel kestrel | 14 comments | Leave a comment

April 28, 2020

Time to finish uploading & work on identifications!

Thanks to all of you who participated in making observations for the City Nature Challenge! We are so impressed with this amazing global community of 38,000+ people who all went searching for nature in safe ways for the past four days - THANK YOU!

So now what? The City Nature Challenge isn't over yet! Our final collective results will be announced on May 4, but there is still work to do! Here's how you can help:

Finish uploading your April 24-27 observations
As long as your photos were TAKEN April 24-27, then you can upload them through May 3 and have them count for the City Nature Challenge. If you took photos on your phone, you can upload them through the app. If you made observations using a camera, you can upload using the iNaturalist Upload page; we recommend watching this short video on how to best use iNaturalist’s Photo Uploader.

Help with identifications
In the same way that anyone can be an observer, anyone can help identify observations. In iNaturalist, go to your city’s project, click “Observations” and you’ll see an “Identify” button pop up just below it. Clicking this will take you to the iNaturalist Identify page and show you all of your city’s observations that still need to be identified. From this page, you can restrict what it shows you by taxon, which helps if you know how to ID certain groups. If you’re not an expert in any group, you can still help by identifying the “unknowns” - the observations with no IDs at all! Click the “Filters” button and then select the dashed-line leaf with a question mark in it. This will show you all the observations that are currently listed as “unknown.” It’s really helpful to go through these and add high-level IDs like “plants” or “insects” or “birds” or “fungi” - whatever you know about the organism - so people who do know how to ID these groups down to species can find them! Here’s a short video about using the Identify page.

No matter what, please only add an ID of which you can be reasonably sure - it’s fine if you don’t know what something is, and it’s fine to only add a genus or family or even kingdom level ID.

If you want to help identify observations from any city - great and thank you! Click this link to go to the Identify page for the entire City Nature Challenge .

Mark observations as "not wild"
If you know you made observations of organisms that were not wild, but forgot to select "captive/cultivated" before uploading them, please do so now! Every observation has a "Data Quality Assessment" at the bottom of the page, one of the lines says "Organism is Wild." Go ahead and click the thumbs down on that line.

Once you've done that for your observations, you can also look through the other observations made in your city and help us out by doing the same: if you see an observation of something that is OBVIOUSLY not wild (a plant growing in a pot, a fish in a fish tank, a vegetable in a garden, etc.), then go ahead and click that thumbs down for "Organism is Wild!" This helps steward the data to make sure scientists and other people using the iNaturalist dataset don't end up including observations where the organism was intentionally put in a particular place by a human - since most research studies are primarily focused on where wild organisms are found.

If you're working on identifications using the iNaturalist Identify Tool, you can also click the "Captive/Cultivated" box as you're going through observations there.

Thanks everyone!

Posted on April 28, 2020 17:03 by kestrel kestrel | 16 comments | Leave a comment

April 25, 2020

Remember that we're looking for WILD organisms!

A quick reminder that, even though most of us are diligently searching our backyards and neighborhoods for species (and doing an amazing job at it, too!), we're still hoping to document primarily the WILD plants and animals found in these areas - the weeds growing between the flowers someone planted, the squirrels jumping through the trees, the insects hiding amongst our gardens. And if you take a photo of something you know is not wild (like a plant you planted in your yard!), please help the iNaturalist community by marking it captive/cultivated before uploading it.

From our FAQs:

What kinds of observations should I make during the CNC?
Any observations of WILD plants, animals, fungi, seaweed, bacteria, lichen, etc. you find in and around your city! Observations of living or dead organisms, or evidence of those organisms, like shells, tracks, scat, feathers, etc., are fine. Remember to make sure you’re taking good photos of the organisms!

What if I make an observation of something I know isn't wild? Will it still count for the CNC?
Yes, as long as you’re not making a lot of these observations, most cities will include observations of non-wild organisms during the CNC. However, it’s VERY IMPORTANT TO MARK THOSE OBSERVATIONS AS CAPTIVE/CULTIVATED. Please be a good community member and data steward by marking any observation that you know for sure is not wild as captive/cultivated - in iNaturalist, there’s a field for it in the app when you make an observation. This includes pets, animals in a zoo/aquarium, plants in your garden, potted plants, plants at a botanical garden, etc. Here’s a very short video on how to mark observations as captive/cultivated.

Posted on April 25, 2020 15:25 by kestrel kestrel | 7 comments | Leave a comment

April 19, 2020

City Nature Challenge Frequently Asked Questions

*NOTE: any question or answer that refers to iNaturalist also applies to any of the iNaturalist network platforms: iNaturalist.ca, naturalista.mx, iNaturalistPa, Naturalista, ArgentiNat, iNaturalistEc, iNaturalistAU, iNaturalistNZ, iNaturalistil, BioDiversity4All

City Nature Challenge 2020 important dates:

  • Make and share observations: April 24-27
  • Get all your observations uploaded and work on identifying: April 28 - May 3
  • Results announced: May 4

How has the City Nature Challenge changed in light of COVID-19?
Please refer to our COVID-19 FAQ page for details, but the main change is that this year's CNC is no longer a competition - we will be announcing the collective results from around the world instead of "winners."

When can I start making observations that will county for the City Nature Challenge? When should I stop?
All observations made starting on April 24 at 12:00am (00:00) YOUR LOCAL TIME and up until April 27 at 11:59pm (23:59) YOUR LOCAL TIME will count for the City Nature Challenge.

Can I upload photos during the CNC that I took prior to the CNC?
No, only observations made during April 24-27 will count for the City Nature Challenge.

Do I need to join the project and add my observations to it for them to be included?
No. All observations that are made within the boundary of the project between April 24-27 will automatically get pulled into the project - YOU DO NOT NEED TO ADD YOUR OBSERVATIONS TO THE PROJECT. You’re welcome to join the project though - that way you’ll get notifications about News posts that are made, and the project will be listed on your observations that get aggregated into it.

How can I make sure my observations are in my city's CNC project?
If your city is using iNaturalist, the easiest way is to go to your city’s project, click the “Observers” tab, and look for your name there! If you’ve joined your city’s project, you can also look at your individual observations and you’ll see your city’s project listed under the “Projects” sidebar.

What kinds of observations should I make during the CNC?
Any observations of WILD plants, animals, fungi, seaweed, bacteria, lichen, etc. you find in and around your city! Observations of living or dead organisms, or evidence of those organisms, like shells, tracks, scat, feathers, etc., are fine. Remember to make sure you’re taking good photos of the organisms!

What if I make an observation of something I know isn't wild? Will it still count for the CNC?
Yes, as long as you’re not making a lot of these observations, most cities will include observations of non-wild organisms during the CNC. However, it’s VERY IMPORTANT TO MARK THOSE OBSERVATIONS AS CAPTIVE/CULTIVATED. Please be a good community member and data steward by marking any observation that you know for sure is not wild as captive/cultivated - in iNaturalist, there’s a field for it in the app when you make an observation. This includes pets, animals in a zoo/aquarium, plants in your garden, potted plants, plants at a botanical garden, etc. Here’s a very short video on how to mark observations as captive/cultivated.

What if I don't know what the organism is that I took a picture of? How do my observations get identified?
No problem! You don’t have to know what species it is you took a photo of - you just need to take a good enough photo (or photos) that it can be identified (see tips for taking good photos). There are a couple ways you can get your observations IDed:

iNaturalist has Computer Vision/Artificial Intelligence (AI) built into it, and when you make an observation with the app or upload an observation on the web, as long as you have connectivity iNaturalist will give you suggestions about what it thinks you just took a photo of, and you can choose one, especially if it says “Visually Similar” AND “Seen Nearby”. Because this functionality is built on observations that other people have already made, in some places (like North America) these suggestions are likely to be correct, and in other places (like Africa and Asia) these suggestions are likely to be wrong. Scroll down to the bottom of the FAQs to see tips on when you should or shouldn’t use these suggestions. If none of the AI suggestions seem correct, you can type in your own identification using the search bar, at any level of detail you know (e.g., “California poppy” or “Plants” are both fine to use as an ID!)

Once you upload an observation it can be seen by the entire iNaturalist community, and this is true for many of the other platforms being used by cities. The community can agree with the ID you made, help refine an ID to get it to species level, or correct a mis-identification. Remember though, you need to have taken a good enough photo (or set of photos) that other people can ID the organism you saw! It’s important to remember that all identifications on iNaturalist are made by other users who are all volunteering their time to identify observations; there are no iNaturalist staff members who are paid to add identifications.

Do I have to make observations using the app? What if I want to use a real camera?
For iNaturalist, while it’s convenient to use the app to make observations, it’s fine if you want to use a real camera. You can upload your observations using the Upload tool on iNaturalist, and if your camera doesn’t have a GPS, you can drop a pin to indicate where you made each observation. If you’re planning on making most of your CNC observations using a camera, we recommend watching this short video on how to best use iNaturalist’s Photo Uploader.

What about if I see something but didn't get a photo of it - can I still make an observation?
We get it - sometimes a cool bird or butterfly flies by without stopping and you just can’t get a picture. Yes, you can make observations in iNaturalist and most other platforms without a photo, and most cities will allow observations without photos for the CNC. However, please do this sparingly, and only if you know for sure what the species was, since no one can help ID or confirm an observation without a photo.

Where can I see how my city is doing?
Potentially in two places, depending on what platform your city is using to gather observations. The City Nature Challenge website has a list with all the cities, but the numbers are not real-time for some cities. Cities using iNaturalist can see how they’re doing in real-time in the City Nature Challenge umbrella project. Remember that this year the results will the the collaborative effort of everyone around the world - the CNC is no longer a competition.

Someone added an ID to my observation - should I agree with it? What if I don't agree with it?
An identification confirms that you can confidently identify it yourself compared to any possible lookalikes. Please do not simply “Agree” with an ID that someone else has made without confirming that you understand how to identify that taxon. If you agree with the ID without actually knowing the taxon, it may reach Research Grade erroneously.

If you disagree with an identification, the best thing to do is to add an identification of your own. It's helpful to provide a reason for disagreement in a comment. If you think you had the correct identification before the other person added theirs, then it’s useful to write a FRIENDLY comment explaining why you think your ID is correct.

How do observations in iNaturalist become Research Grade? Do my observations have to get to Research Grade to count for the CNC?
To get an observation to “Research Grade” status: (1) it must have a photo, (2) it must have an accurate date and location, (3) it cannot be a captive or cultivated organism, and (4) over 2/3rds of the people adding IDs to it have to agree about what species it is. It’s key to check back on your observations after you make them to see if anyone has added an identification or left a comment, possibly asking you to provide a bit more information about what you saw. Click here to learn more about Research Grade.

All observations will count for the CNC, even those that are not Research Grade.

I took so many photos during the CNC that there's no way I can get them all uploaded before the end of the day on April 27 - what should I do?
Relax! Luckily we have a week - up until May 4 at 9am YOUR LOCAL TIME , where you can work on uploading all the observations you made during April 24-27. They’ll still get added to your city’s CNC project, as long as they were made in the April 24-27 window.

Can I help identify what people found during the CNC? What if I'm not an expert in anything?
Yes! In the same way that anyone can be an observer, anyone can help identify observations. In iNaturalist, go to your city’s project, click “Observations” and you’ll see an “Identify” button pop up just below it. Clicking this will take you to the iNaturalist Identify page and show you all of your city’s observations that still need to be identified. From this page, you can restrict what it shows you by taxon, which helps if you know how to ID certain groups. If you’re not an expert in any group, you can still help by identifying the “unknowns” - the observations with no IDs at all! Click the “Filters” button and then select the dashed-line leaf with a question mark in it. This will show you all the observations that are currently listed as “unknown.” It’s really helpful to go through these and add high-level IDs like “plants” or “insects” or “birds” or “fungi” - whatever you know about the organism - so people who do know how to ID these groups down to species can find them! Here’s a short video about using the Identify page.

No matter what, please only add an ID of which you can be reasonably sure - it’s fine if you don’t know what something is, and it’s fine to only add a genus or family or even kingdom level ID.

If you want to help identify observations from any city - great and thank you! Click this link to go to the Identify page for the entire City Nature Challenge (will be populated once the CNC starts!).

On iNaturalist, why is the species number different in my city's project vs. in the umbrella project? Which one will count for the results?
We use the numbers in each city’s project, so you can think of it as branch tips (or “leaves”) - if there are observations identified to a genus but nothing in that genus is IDed to species, then the genus itself will count as a “species.” If there are observations identified to a family but no observations IDed to a genus or species in that family, then the family counts as a “species.” This is how “species” are counted in collection projects.

If you look at the umbrella project for the CNC, the species count for each city is lower, because the umbrella project is only counting actual species.

But for the CNC itself, we will use the “species” number from each city’s project as we compile results from each city.

For the overall collaborative results, we will use the number in the umbrella project.

When are the results announced?
Remember that this year the results will the the collaborative effort of everyone around the world - the CNC is no longer a competition. So the results announced this year will only be the numbers that we all achieved together. However, we will still be keeping track of individual city's results, mainly so we can continue the dataset we have from the previous 4 years of the CNC. So two important pieces: the results for YOUR CITY will be whatever the numbers are in your project on Monday, May 4 at 9am YOUR LOCAL TIME. It takes almost 24 hours to get the numbers from all the cities, since our cities in New Zealand and our cities in Hawaii are 23 hours apart by time zone. So the very last cities to hit 9am on Monday May 4 are in Hawaii. Results will be announced within 2-3 hours of that time, around 2pm Pacific time.

What are the data used for?
On iNaturalist, all the data are freely available to anyone interested in downloading them. iNaturalist observations are used in hundreds of scientific publications. Many of them are using data that is shared with the Global Biodiversity Information Facility as part of the iNaturalist Research-Grade Observations dataset. You can browse the ongoing list of the publications that have cited a GBIF dataset containing at least one record from iNaturalist.

However, we usually find the most immediate use of CNC data happens at a local level: a discovery of a new-to-that-place species, someone documenting a population of a rare or invasive species that wasn't previously known, better understanding of where particular species are in that area, etc. So any local governments, parks departments, or other organizations who track biodiversity/invasive species/rare species in the area that are involved in the City Nature Challenge will likely use the data produced to make more-informed management decisions.

How can I share about the City Nature Challenge on social media?
Tag any post with #CityNatureChallenge! You can also tweet at us: @citnatchallenge. This year we're also encouraging people to take a #CNCNatureSelfie so we can see you looking for nature in & around your home!

Tips for Taking Photos During the City Nature Challenge
The photos you take during the City Nature Challenge are there to provide evidence of the organism you saw, and to help confirm the identification of that organism. Therefore, taking good photos is key to participating in the CNC! Here are some tips to taking photos:

  • Focus on one species in each photo: While a meadow full of wildflowers is beautiful, it’s not the best photo for an observation, as there are probably many species represented in that one shot! As much as possible, try to have the one species you’re interested in as the focus of your photo, by getting close and centering your organism in the frame.
  • Use the option to have multiple photos in one observation: On iNaturalist and on some of the other platforms, you can have more than one photograph for each observation you make, allowing you to photograph different parts or angles of an organism. For example, one photograph of an entire tree, taken from far away, won’t be very useful in identifying that species of tree, but that “full shot” photo, combined with other photos that show close ups of the leaves, the bark, and any flowers or fruits, will allow that tree to be identified.
  • Discard blurry photographs: Be sure to use the option to retake photos when making observations! If the organism moved or there is low light, causing the photograph to be blurry, retake the picture but wait for the organism to be still or turn on your flash. On iNaturalist, the app will show you the photo you took and ask you if you want to retry or if you’re OK with the photo.
  • Get close: For small organisms in particular, like ants or aphids, getting a nice close-up shot is important for identification. While it can be difficult to take a good close-up shot using the camera of a smartphone, these days there are inexpensive clip-on macro lenses you can use with your phone to take great, focused pictures of small organisms or close-ups of features of other organisms, like a plant that has tiny flowers or the eyes of a spider.

Tips for Using the iNaturalist Computer Vision/AI
The Computer Vision/Artificial Intelligence (AI) on iNaturalist is a fun and useful feature that can provide real-time feedback about the observations you’re making. The iNaturalist AI will give you suggestions for ID, but they’re just that—suggestions. Because of this, there are some things to keep in mind to make sure you’re using the AI in the best and most responsible way:

  • Check how confident iNaturalist is in the suggestions: The iNaturalist AI will never give you one single suggestion of one species. Instead, based on the photograph you provided and how much information it has about the species in your area, it will offer a list of suggestions, with some information about how confident it is in these suggestions. If it has confidence in the list of suggestions, it will always display a taxonomic level higher than species at the top of the list and say that it is pretty sure your organism is in that group. Then it will list ten species suggestions. If it is not confident in its suggestions, it won’t display a higher taxonomic level and will state that it is not confident enough to make a recommendation. It will still display ten species suggestions, but those suggestions will likely encompass a wide range of organisms that look somewhat similar to your photograph. We recommend only choosing a species suggestion if the iNaturalist AI is “pretty sure” about the ID.
  • Look for suggestions that are visually similar and seen nearby: If the iNaturalist AI is “pretty sure,” look through the ten suggested species. Under each species name, it will state why the AI is suggesting it: if it is visually similar, if it has been seen nearby, or if it’s visually similar and has been seen nearby. Suggestions that are listed as visually similar and seen nearby are the best choices!
  • Learn more about the suggested species: In the list of suggested species, you can see the name of the species as well as a tiny thumbnail, which can make it difficult to tell if a suggested species seems like the correct ID to your observation. All of those suggestions, though, link to a species information page, where you can see larger photos, read about the species, and see a map of where others have observed it. If it seems like you’ve found a match to your organism, you can even select it as the ID from within the species page.
  • Make your own ID: If, after going through all the tips above, you don’t think you’ve found a likely suggestion for your observation, you can always enter your own ID by using the search bar. If you know the species, you can type in a species ID, but you’re also welcome to make an ID at a much higher level, for example “plants” or “birds” or “beetles.” By putting at least some level of identification on your observation, you make it much easier for other iNaturalist members who can help refine that ID to find your observation, rather than leaving it blank.

Posted on April 19, 2020 17:57 by kestrel kestrel | 5 comments | Leave a comment

April 14, 2020

The City Nature Challenge is 10 Days Away!

Hello friends around the world!

We hope all of you are staying safe & healthy currently, and are still enjoying nature in some capacity right now.

Can you believe the City Nature Challenge starts in just ten days? Though the CNC is markedly different this year thanks to our current uncertain circumstances, we hope you're still looking forward to participating - in whatever way you can, that keeps you & your family & your community safe, and following all your local COVID-19 regulations. See our COVID-19 FAQ page for more information.

We're excited to see what interesting observations people make of the wild nature they can find - in their houses, in backyards, in neighborhoods! If you're allowed to go to your local parks, be sure to find out about all new guidelines and rules ahead of time, and of course practice social/physical distancing. And be sure to check out our guide for finding nature in and around your home!

Stay safe, and enjoy meeting your very nearby nature neighbors this year!
-Alison (@kestrel) and Lila (@lhiggins)

Posted on April 14, 2020 16:39 by kestrel kestrel | 4 comments | Leave a comment

March 17, 2020

CNC & COVID-19

We know COVID-19 is affecting many of our CNC cities, some much more than others. After much thinking, we have decided to keep the CNC event scheduled for April 24-27 (observations) and April 28-May 3 (identifications). However, we will be making some significant modifications:

This year’s City Nature Challenge is no longer a competition.

We want to embrace the collaborative aspect of the CNC this year and the healing power of nature to allow people to document their local biodiversity in whatever way they can.

It is imperative that you follow the regulations of your governments and the organizations where you work.

We have left it up to local organizers if they need to cancel the CNC in their city this year. We support any changes our organizers need to make and hope those that cannot participate this year will join us again in 2021!

As a participant, it is up to you how much or how little you take part! Do only what feels safe for you & your family and is in accordance with all your local regulations.

Visit our CNC & COVID-19 FAQ page.



For cities continuing to participate in CNC 2020:

  • It is imperative that you follow the guidelines/recommendations of your local governments & institutions (i.e., limit or cancel events if needed)
  • Do what’s best for you & your community


Alternatives to in-person events


Check out this guide we've put together: Exploring Nature In and Around Your Home for the City Nature Challenge

Indoors:

  • What can people find in their houses? What can they see through their windows?
  • Focus on identifications! Can your city go through ALL the observations (not just CNC!) that have already been made in your area but aren’t research grade yet?
  • During April 28 - May 3, hold virtual ID parties!


    In Backyards:

  • Encourage people to put up moth lights or put down cover boards at their houses to help bring nature to them!
  • What are the wild plants growing in your backyard?
  • What insects or other creatures are using the cultivated plants in your backyard as habitat or a food source?


Outside of your home and backyard (if allowed):

  • Practice social distancing wherever you go.
  • Promote people going outside and making observations on their own/with a small group of their family & friends, instead of joining big events.
  • Think about making observations along sidewalks, pavements, roads, or in residential areas if local parks are too crowded for social distancing. Always be mindful of traffic.


If you’re allowed to hold CNC events:

  • Keep them outside! Luckily this is what the CNC is all about, but if you were planning an indoor portion of an event, forgo it and keep the whole event outside
  • Limit registration
  • Practice social distancing (it's best if people stay 2-3m apart)
  • Don’t have shared, unwrapped food available - encourage people to bring & eat their own food
  • Have places available where people can wash their hands and/or have hand sanitizer
  • Don’t pass around binoculars, phones, guidebooks, etc. - everyone should keep their gear to themselves


Stay safe, hang in there, and we can't wait to see what you find - in your houses, in your backyards, along sidewalks, in parks - and know that people all around the world are joining you in documenting nature in whatever way they can during these unprecedented times.

Our thoughts are with all of you,
Alison Young (@kestrel) - California Academy of Sciences and Lila Higgins (@lhiggins) - Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Posted on March 17, 2020 19:58 by kestrel kestrel | 8 comments | Leave a comment

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