Calling current and aspiring community scientists, nature and science fans, and people of all ages and education backgrounds to take part in the annual City Nature Challenge.

The global event asks participants to get outside and explore nature all around them, whether it be in your own backyard, the local park, your school, or somewhere you like to visit. Observe and then take and submit pictures of wild plants, animals, and fungi using the free mobile app – iNaturalistNZ – Mātaki Taiao

The challenge begins this Friday 28 April at 12:01pm, and runs through until 1 May at 11:59 pm.

 The most convenient way to take part is to download the free iNaturalistNZ – Mātaki Taiao App (the platform used to collect the photos and data). Then it’s as easy as 1-2-3.

1. Get out in nature

2. Open the iNaturalist App and take a photo

3. Click the “share”  button on the app to share your photo with others so it can be identified

Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay general manager, Debbie Monahan, says that as human populations become increasingly concentrated in towns and cities, it is more important than ever to document urban biodiversity and help ensure the future of plants and wildlife.

“The Challenge is held over a weekend, giving families and children a great reason to get outside and learn about the environment in which they live.”

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? 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.”

Ms Fastier says that you don’t even need to know what you are photographing – there are scientists and specialists all over Aotearoa New Zealand keyed in to check on their area of interest who will help with that (which is where the education comes in). The key is to take the best photos you can which will enable them to do that.

Many endangered, endemic, or data deficient species are recorded during the City Nature Challenge, and this influx of information gives scientists, educators, urban planners, and policymakers insight into the biodiversity of Hawke’s Bay and hundreds of other urban locations throughout the world.

Learn more about the challenge and how to get involved here.

Public Interest Journalism funded by New Zealand on Air.


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