April 29 – Nature may be closer than you think.
The seventh International City Nature Challenge, which begins Friday, allows anyone to become a citizen-scientist, collecting invaluable data from across the planet about species and their distribution.
The four-day event gives armchair naturalists the opportunity to participate by examining the area they know best: their backyards and neighborhoods.
The event runs until Monday, although participants have until May 8 to upload their comments to the website www.inaturalist.org.
Citizen-scientists can download the required free phone app for Apple or Android.
“For the challenge, take what’s in your own backyard and branch out into your neighborhood, city parks, country streets, or take a state or federal nature tour,” said Texas Master Naturalist, Anita Westervelt, who offers nature observations. To preserve is preserved.” ,
“What will you photograph for the challenge? Native plants and trees, insects, moths, butterflies, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, insects and beach and bay life are a good start,” he said. “Signs of life observation are also accepted – things that once lived or represent a living thing, such as roadkill, scat, owl pellets, tracks of animals and birds, snake skins, bones, feathers, seashells and Skeleton.”
The challenge began in 2016 as a competition between San Francisco and Los Angeles, building the citizen-science staff at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
Last year more than 50,000 participants submitted 1.2 million observations, with more than 45,000 species identified.
“It’s a bioblitz-style contest where cities are in a competition against each other to see who can observe the most nature, who can find the most species, and who can catch the most people.” may engage,” the iNaturalist website reads.
Westervelt says it is important to establish a species baseline right here in the Rio Grande Valley.
And the iNaturalist app isn’t just a four-day tool. The app can be used at any time to submit photographs of the species for identification by experts.
Westervelt said, “A lot of times, I use a phone app to identify a plant I’m not familiar with, to see if it’s beneficial, or something I don’t want to go to seed. And don’t want to propagate in your yard.” “I use it to identify and name birds that come to my yard, just to satisfy my curiosity.”
“Recently, after years of not hearing bobwhite quail near a nearby farm, I saw five quails chirping among the plants in the outdoor row,” she said. “I got a clear picture of one of the birds, uploaded it to my computer later on www.inaturalist.org; it wasn’t what I thought it was. It was a lark sparrow, a new species in my yard The glory of this citizen-scientist program is that the experts review Upload observations and correctly identify the species.”
The Lower Rio Grande Valley has entered the competition as a regional unit of Cameroon, Villesi, Hidalgo and Star counties.