City Nature Challenge 2021: Greater Phoenix Area's Journal

May 11, 2021

The Results Are In!

That’s a wrap! The official City Nature Challenge results were announced yesterday afternoon and we want to share them with you. Thank you to everyone who participated, we couldn’t be more excited about the results, especially for our first year!

Global Top Three:
Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C, and Dallas/Fort Worth
Greater Phoenix landed as 30th in the world out of 419 cities!
Check out the global stats here.

Southwest Competition (Albuquerque, Phoenix, Tucson):
Albuquerque took first place, Greater Phoenix was second and Tucson took third. Congrats to Albuquerque!
Together we made 22,857 observations of 2,138 species by 823 people.
See the competition.

Greater Phoenix Area:
We had 9,702 observations of 1039 species by 283 people. 291 people also made identifications!
Top observer: @direwolfplayz with 1,729
Most species: @larivera with 239
Most identifications: @stevejones with 1,919
Congratulations! We will contact you all about your prizes.


If you enjoyed the CNC, check out the year-round programs offered by the co-organizers.



Metro Phoenix EcoFlora
The Metro Phoenix EcoFlora is a collaborative community science project of Desert Botanical Garden and the Central Arizona Conservation Alliance (CAZCA). You can think of this as a year round version of the City Nature Challenge! Join the project to learn about urban biodiversity, attend virtual and in-person events, and earn rewards for your observations.


City of Chandler-Community Services
The Community Services Department enhances the quality of life in Chandler through a vast provision of diverse and affordable educational and recreational experiences. Check out their ”Break Time” magazine for fun activities in every season.


Educating Children Outdoors
Through ECO, children learn about and explore nature through cross-curricular, hands-on, experiential activities, developing knowledge about, love for, and dedication to nature’s wonders. Check out their programs on their website and their iNaturalist project.


Thank you again to all of the amazing participants and collaborators. See you next year!

Posted on May 11, 2021 19:02 by jenydavis jenydavis | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 07, 2021

Interesting Observations

Posted on May 07, 2021 23:42 by jenydavis jenydavis | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 04, 2021

That's a Wrap!

The observation part of the City Nature Challenge has officially closed and we want to thank all of you who participated in this year’s event. We were so astonished with the amount of observations, the wonderful photos everyone posted and the variety of things people captured. We hope all of you enjoyed your time adding observations while being outdoors and that you all learned something new along the way.

The official numbers will be announced on May 10, but as of right now we have 9,632 observations of 1061 species by 274 people! So impressive!

We will be working today through May 9 to identify your observations. If you’d like to be a part of this process, join us for one or both ID parties, scheduled on May 6 (virtual) from 6-7 p.m. and May 8 (in person) at the Environmental Education Center at Veterans Oasis Park from 9-11 a.m. You are also welcome to make identifications yourself, from the comfort of where you live.

Register for the virtual ID party.

Register for the in-person ID party.

Posted on May 04, 2021 15:24 by jenydavis jenydavis | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 03, 2021

Final Day For Making Observations

We are in the final hours of the City Nature Challenge and want to make sure we take advantage of every minute. If you have free time today during lunch go for a walk and observe some nature or if you go out this afternoon make sure to snap some photos of interesting things and upload them to the app.

Albuquerque still has the lead over us in most observations, but not by much! Can we overtake them by the end of the day? Every observation matters! See the competition.

As a reminder, if you took photos but haven’t had a chance to upload them to iNaturalist, you may do so up until May 9. This will be strictly on the honors system so please be honest and only upload photos from that period of time.

Posted on May 03, 2021 18:28 by jenydavis jenydavis | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 02, 2021

Thanks For All The Great Observations + Keep Up The Good Work

Great job everyone! We are in the second day of the City Nature Challenge and already have nearly 4,000 observations! We’ve also observed 630 different species. What a great way to highlight the diversity of the desert. If you’re unsure about identifying your observation you can simply put whether it is a plant or animal and other iNaturalist users can work on identifying later during identification days (May 4-9). Remember, documenting organisms in the middle of a city is just as important as documenting them in the wild. We are neck and neck with Albuquerque, and Tucson is catching up in the competition, so keep the observations coming!

Posted on May 02, 2021 02:25 by jenydavis jenydavis | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 30, 2021

Today is the Day!

The City Nature Challenge officially starts today! Even though the City Nature Challenge results will be announced collectively this year due to COVID, we are excited to keep the competition alive with other cities in the Southwest like Tucson and Albuquerque, New Mexico. As an added bonus, the organizers of this local event have put together some package prizes for participating. See the competition.

The prize packages are:

Top Observer (most observations) - Participation Certificate, Two passes to Desert Botanical Garden, ECO Notebook, Cactomaniac flashlight, Cactus pencil, pins and stickers

Top observer (most species observed) - Participation Certificate, EcoFlora tee shirt, ECO notebook, straw wheat sunglasses, stickers and buttons

Top Identifier – Participation Certificate, Field Notes Book, EcoFlora enamel pin, magnet and stickers



Can you make #5onFri? We challenge you to make five or more observations during your lunch break, or before or after work!


HAVE FUN!

Please be sure to be safe while participating in the City Nature Challenge and practice social distancing and/or masking protocols when necessary. Remember to have fun exploring the outdoors but always respect nature when observing.

Posted on April 30, 2021 19:11 by jenydavis jenydavis | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 29, 2021

Ways to Observe and Stay Safe

Can you believe it? The City Nature Challenge starts tomorrow! Here are some helpful tips for making observations and ways to stay safe while out and about.

Ways to Observe
Go birdwatching! Arizona is known for a diverse group of birds that migrate from the South you’re sure to enjoy documenting and observing birds for the City Nature Challenge.

Set up a bird feeder outside your house and observe the species that visit. You can also set up a hummingbird feeder to attract a greater diversity of birds.

Do you have little ones and don’t want to take them out too far? No problem, just observe in your backyard! You can set up a hula hoop in your backyard but if you don’t have a hula hoop you can use any object like a jump rope or chalk to outline an area to focus on. Have them watch the area for a few minutes and discuss what they see. You can allow them to take photos with your phone or a digital camera and upload to the iNaturalist.

Temperatures are warming up and if you don’t want to be out in the heat you can observe at night by watching your porch light. Take photos of moths, geckos and other nocturnal critters that might come and visit.

Have a bioblitz with friends and set out to observe everything in a particular area.
You can also visit your local neighborhood park and see what bugs, flowers and trees live there!

For more ideas check out this document on finding nature in and around your home.

Observe Safely
Be Prepared
Have water, sunscreen, a hat, snacks, first aid kit and appropriate clothing and footwear
At night, have a light source and wear bright colored clothing with reflective elements if possible
Be sure that your phone or camera is fully charged
Be Alert
Use extra caution when observing near roadways
Be attentive to where feet and hands are being placed
Consider observing with a companion
Be Considerate
Try to not take away from others’ experience
Be mindful of blocking pathways or creating noise in quiet areas
Respect wildlife (do not touch, feed, or disturb animals and keep a safe distance)
If you can cover up the animal with your thumb, it’s likely a good distance.

Posted on April 29, 2021 22:37 by jenydavis jenydavis | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 26, 2021

Tips, Tricks and Resources

The CNC starts this Friday!! Want to know more about iNaturalist or making observations? Check out the resources page on our website. You can find helpful videos, tutorials and more. Want to share the Greater Phoenix Area CNC? You can send this postcard!



Great observations are easier to identify and more likely to be promoted to research grade, making them a more effective contribution to conservation efforts. Check out the tips and tricks below for making great observations.

Tips for making great observations:
Submit only original observations, with photos you have taken.
o Be sure images are in focus and be mindful of lighting, the subject should be easy to see.
o Crop in on photos to show what is being observed.
o Create a sense of scale by placing something in the photo, like a hand or pencil.
o Take multiple photos, vary angles and use different points of view. A hand lens can be used to take “macro” shots. When observing plant life, take photos of leaves, stems, flowers, distinguishing characteristics and the overall plant.
oMake separate observations. For example: If there is a bee on a flower, an observation should be made for the bee and for the flower.

Posted on April 26, 2021 17:28 by jenydavis jenydavis | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 22, 2021

Earth Day Every Day!

Hello and Happy Earth Day from the Greater Phoenix Area organizers! We wanted to take this time to go over the significance of participating in the City Nature Challenge and how your observations contribute to something much bigger. Believe it or not, your photos in iNaturalist are considered important data for scientists who aim to better understand biodiversity within an ecosystem. Why is this important? Before we answer that, we have to discuss the meaning of “biodiversity”. Biodiversity refers to the variety of all living creatures on the planet, ranging from tiny microbes and fungi to the largest animals on the planet. We may not see it in real time but the various organisms found in an area all play an important role in helping that ecosystem thrive.

Now we can circle back to why this is important; if we don’t know something is there we can’t protect it. In other words, documenting organisms year after year helps us better understand which species exist and how those species adapt to changing environments. This in turn helps us determine which species may become threatened or endangered and how we can better help or support them through science or policy changes. But why urban biodiversity? About half of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas. These urban ecosystems are often understudied and urban biodiversity contributes to healthier and more resilient communities. Urban nature can reduce pollution, provide food security, keep urban areas cooler and reduce stress. By understanding more about the nature in our neighborhoods, we can better serve and care for our communities.

It’s important to make sure your observations contain enough information such as, a date, location, photo or sound and is truly wild meaning, it can’t be a potted plant or animal in captivity. This criteria helps others in identifying your observations because they could someday be used in scientific publications. Of course, all of this is contingent upon members of the community, like you! YOU have the choice to engage in iNaturalist and by uploading your observations and contributing to the documentation of biodiversity in your area.

Posted on April 22, 2021 16:54 by jenydavis jenydavis | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 13, 2021

Welcome and Events!

Have you heard? April 30 through May 3, the Greater Phoenix Area will participate in the 2021 City Nature Challenge. This is a global effort to observe and document as much urban biodiversity as possible while engaging in community science. Using iNaturalist, anyone can get involved and share observations, anywhere from neighborhoods to local parks. Over 300 cities around the globe participate in this event and every year it gets bigger. This is the first year the Greater Phoenix Area will be part of the international challenge and it is co-organized by the Metro Phoenix EcoFlora, City of Chandler-Community Services and Educating Children Outdoors. We also have many great collaborators joining in on the fun. This is an important event for our state and will highlight the amazing biodiversity we have in the Sonoran Desert. Let's show the world that our desert is not a barren wasteland!

If you are not able to get out and make observations, you're outside of the Greater Phoenix Area, or you enjoy the challenge of identifying species more, you can help identify observations on iNaturalist from May 4-9.

Our neighbors in Greater Tucson and Albuquerque are also participating and we will be in a friendly competition together. Winner gets bragging rights! We are super supportive of one another, after all we are both interested in the same goals.

Results of the challenge will be announced on May 10!
There will be prizes given for the most observations made, most species observed and for the top identifier in our area!

Happenings will be added throughout the month of April, so be sure to check the website for the latest updates on webinars, events and trainings. Visit our website.
Click here to join the challenge.
Interested in collaborating with us? Please email greaterphxcnc@googlegroups.com.

While practicing social distancing, wearing a mask and following recommended safety guidelines, the 2021 City Nature Challenge is a great way to spend time and destress while learning about urban biodiversity. Learn more at citynaturechallenge.org/



EVENTS

SIPS WITH SCIENTISTS: KEN-ICHI UEDA
Apr. 13 | 6 p.m. MST
Ken-ichi has been fascinated by nature for as long as he can recall. He used to horrify his mom by waltzing into the house holding snakes and salamanders to show her. Eventually, he translated that love into a degree in biology. Since then, he’s worked as a GIS technician, web developer, and wildlife technician. iNaturalist grew out of the belief that he might not be alone in his desire to combine nature and the Web. iNat has rendered that belief unnecessary. In his spare time, he enjoys watching TV shows with spaceships.
Register Here

SCIENCE CAFÉ with CHANDLER PUBLIC LIBRARY
Apr. 14 | 6:30-7:30 p.m. MST
The Metro Phoenix EcoFlora will be presenting for Chandler Library and the Chandler Environmental Education Center on how to be a citizen scientist and why data collected by the community is important. Learn how you can be a citizen scientist in the upcoming City Nature Challenge, where you can help collect information on the nature around us.
Register Here

COMMUNITY SCIENCE FOR EDUCATORS with AZ GAME and FISH
Apr. 14 | 4-5 p.m. MST
Join educators from the Arizona Game and Fish Department as we explore iNaturalist and other digital citizen science tools. Through iNaturalist, educators and students can document animals and plants that they see anywhere in the world, including their own neighborhood. By using existing features within the program, teachers can create class projects that can connect student observations, even if they aren't in the same room! They can even contribute to other projects hosted by both professional and amateur scientists from around the world. Webinar will last approximately 1 hour. All participants will receive access to resources and a professional development certificate upon completion of the program.
Register Here

CNC INFO SESSION with EDUCATING CHILDREN OUTDOORS
Apr. 17 | 5-7 p.m. MST
Kathy Balman, director of Educating Children Outdoors will be hosting a Zoom info session to cover what the City Nature Challenge is, how you can help us, and how to use iNaturalist to submit your observations.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
We hope to see you there!
Register Here

AZNPS PHOENIX CHAPTER: CITY NATURE CHALLENGE
Apr. 18 | 3-4 p.m. MST
Jeny Davis, coordinator of the Desert Botanical Garden’s Metro Phoenix EcoFlora will share details about the City Nature Challenge, a global competition which takes place from April 30th to May 3rd. Participants use iNaturalist to document and identify as many plants, animals, and other living things that they can find. This year is the first time metro Phoenix is part of the City Nature Challenge, so join in and help our region come out on top!
Register Here

BIOBLITZ CHALLENGE: DESERT MUSEUM STYLE!
May 1
If you don't live in the Phoenix area and want to join the CNC we have great news, our southern friends are also part of this amazing challenge. Gather your friends, family, and fellow nature nerds for a day of searching, scouting and documenting the wild species at the Desert Museum! We will BioBlitz in a day — what surprise animals or plants can you find? The Desert Museum is joining in the 2021 Greater Tucson Area City Nature Challenge (CNC). CNCs have been growing in major cities in the past couple years as a way to connect to the outdoors, document biodiversity, build community, and data sets. Must pay general admission to the museum.
Register Here

GILBERT RIPARIAN PRESERVE YOUTH BIOBLITZ
May 3 | 1 p.m. at Gilbert Riparian Preserve
Come join Educating Children Outdoors on May 3rd (the last day of the challenge) at Gilbert Riparian Preserve to log as many observations as we can. This park is a birding and wildlife hot spot. We will meet at the pavilion by the lake which is across from the restrooms. Please RSVP so we know to expect you, we will send an email reminder a few days before the event with further details. We will also have digital cameras available that children can borrow if they don't have a cellphone or camera of their own.
Please email Kathy Balman at ecoexplorersatl@gmail.com if you have any questions.

CNC VIRTUAL ID PARTY
May 6 | 6 p.m. MST
Join us during the second half of the City Nature Challenge for a virtual identification party! We need to identify as many observations as possible that were made during the challenge. We can work together to make sure our observations reach research grade by May 9. Bring your favorite beverage and snacks and let's make identifications together!
Register Here

CNC IN-PERSON ID PARTY
May 8 | 9-11 a.m. at at Chandler Environmental Education Center
Join us for a City Nature Challenge Identification Party! If you didn’t have a chance to submit observations you can still help out. The identification of species does require some knowledge and background of flora and fauna but those looking to get more insight on observations are still welcome to attend. Pre-registration is required as capacity is limited for this event. Proper face masks will be required and worn, and we will practice social distancing.
Register Here

Posted on April 13, 2021 21:50 by jenydavis jenydavis | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Archives