Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ Sarasota-Manatee EcoFlora Project is seeking partners and participants for this year’s City Nature Challenge.
The City Nature Challenge is an international effort to get people outside to document their local biodiversity. Over the course of four days, “citizen scientists” around the globe will log as many observations of the natural world as they can. Then experts will help to identify those observations to see how many different species were documented. Read on to see how you can participate here in our region.
The Challenge takes place in two parts:
April 29- May 2: Observing and taking pictures of wild plants and animals
May 4 – 8: Identifying what was found
The City Nature Challenge was started in 2016 by Lila Higgins at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and Alison Young at the California Academy of Sciences as a competition between LA and San Francisco. Since then, it has grown to include more than 400 cities, in more than 40 countries, across six continents!
This is the second year that Sarasota and Manatee counties are participating in the City Nature Challenge, through Selby Gardens’ Sarasota Manatee EcoFlora Project. We are partnering with many local organizations and are one of nine regions in Florida competing, and we are calling on everyone to participate! While the EcoFlora Project usually focuses on plant species, we will be celebrating and documenting plants and animals during this effort. Show us your flora and your fauna!
Who should participate?
YOU! You don’t need to be a professional photographer, botanist, or naturalist to be a helpful citizen scientist. All you need is a smartphone or GPS-enabled camera, a free iNaturalist account, and a willingness to get out and explore! Our team, and the iNaturalist community, will help you with troubleshooting, photo tips, and species identification. Anyone can participate, but only observations made in Sarasota or Manatee counties will contribute to this challenge!
Why should you participate?
There is nature all around us, even in our urban areas! Let’s get to know the plants and animals living around us in Sarasota and Manatee counties. By documenting what species we have, we will discover what we need to protect. By participating in the City Nature Challenge, you will learn more about nature in your community and make our region (and world) a better place for all species. And let’s not forget, it’s FUN and EASY to participate!
It can be a plant, animal, or any other evidence of life found in your city.
Take a Picture
Take a picture of what you find. Be sure to note the location of the critter or plant.
Share your observations through iNaturalist.