The Washington, D.C. Metro area is competing in a global competition to identify nature as citizen and community science initiatives bolster this year’s third annual City Nature Challenge. The challenge will expand to more than 65 cities across the globe in its third year and begins Friday, April 27 at 12:01 a.m. in each time zone and runs through Monday, April 30 at 11:59 pm.
The multi-city, global event calls on current and aspiring citizen scientists, nature and science fans and people of all ages and science backgrounds to observe and submit pictures of wild plants, animals, and fungi using the free app iNaturalist. Identification of photographed species will be crowdsourced through the online community May 1-3 and results will be announced on May 4.
All sightings made within the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area during April 27-30 and shared on iNaturalist will automatically be included. The area includes the District of Columbia, 14 counties in Northern Virginia west to the Shenandoah valley, five Maryland counties adjacent to D.C. and even Jefferson County, West Virginia, home to historic Harpers Ferry.
During the 2017 City Nature Challenge, participants in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area recorded 942 species.
For both new and veteran citizen scientists, this is how to participate:
1. Find wildlife. It can be any plant, animal, fungi, slime mold or any other evidence of life (scat, fur, tracks, shells, carcasses) found in your participating city.
2. Take a picture of what you find, and be sure to note the location of the critter or plant.
3. Share your observations by uploading your findings through iNaturalist.
There are plenty of locations and times to choose from throughout the D.C. area. All ages and levels of expertise are welcome to become citizen scientists and participate in an observation event.