It’s time to record any wildlife – plant, animal, or other evidence of life – you can find in Hawke’s Bay for this year’s global City Nature Challenge (CNC). 

From Friday 29 April to Monday 2 May people all over the world will photograph and record species using the free mobile app iNaturalist. Then from 3 May to Sunday 8 May scientists and specialists from each country will identify the species with results announced on Monday 9 May. 

Denise Fastier, Department of Conservation Senior Ranger (Biodiversity), strongly encourages everyone to get out and have a go. “Maybe you could have a family competition?” she suggests. “Let’s give the rest of the country a run for their money. You can even start in your own backyard! And it is not restricted to native species.” 

iNaturalist is a worldwide community science platform that allows you to connect with nature while assisting scientists with conservation, research, and monitoring. Started in 2016 as a competition between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the CNC has grown into an international event, motivating people around the world to find and document wildlife in their cities. 

The CNC is run by community science teams at the California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and is a collaboration-meets-friendly-competition to see not only what can be accomplished when we all work toward a common goal, but also which city can gather the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people in the event.

Hawke’s Bay, encompassing the Wairoa district down to Central Hawke’s Bay, is one of only six New Zealand regions to participate in the bioblitz competition and Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay general manager Debbie Monahan says she look forwards to seeing photos /observations from across the rohe. 

“The challenge is held over a weekend, giving families and children a great reason to get outside, connect with nature, and learn about the environment in which we live.”

“We made over four hundred observations last year, so let’s see if we can improve on that and challenge some of the other regions [Wellington, Taranaki, Auckland, Waikato, Canterbury] competing in New Zealand.”

Taking part in the bioblitz is easy.

  1. Find a species
  2. Take a photo using the iNaturalist app or your camera 
  3. Share your photos using the app

And you don’t even need to know what you are photographing as all species will be officially identified. The key is to take the best photos you can and there is a guide for how to take a good (identifiable) photo on the i-Naturalist website

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1 Comment

  1. This project is so exciting! I can’t wait to get out there and start taking photos. This seems as though it is something anybody can do to contribute to science and maybe the future protection of wildlife.

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