Want to help show the rest of the US just how amazing North Carolina’s citizen scientists are? Join the NC Museum of Natural Sciences for the City Nature Challenge! This competition pits several American cities against each other to see who can document the most biodiversity on the iNaturalist app over a 5-day period. We’re going up against cities that are a lot bigger than we are (Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, and others), but North Carolina’s amazing biodiversity and the great urban wildlife we see every day can help us win!
We likely need over 15,000 submissions to have a shot of taking home the gold, so we need YOUR help snapping photos of Triangle Area plants, animals, or fungi, April 14-18, and submitting them to iNaturalist by noon on April 22. We’ve got some great prizes for the top three local contributors as a thank you, too!
You can participate in the City Nature Challenge: Triangle Area by doing one or more of the following:
- Join us at the downtown Raleigh campus of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences on Friday, April 14 for special biodiversity-themed talks in the SECU Daily Planet Theater, hands-on training in how to use iNaturalist, and opportunities to go outside and collect data around the Museum with an iNaturalist expert. Be sure to stop by the cart outside the Naturalist Center for more information on how to get involved in the event!
- Visit Prairie Ridge Ecostation on Saturday, April 15 to help us document the wildlife of our grounds as you participate in the City Nature Challenge: Triangle Area. We’ll have guided nature hikes throughout the day and hands-on iNaturalist training to help you get started.
- Visit any outdoor space in the Triangle Area from April 14 to 18, take photos of the plants, animals, and fungi you see, and submit them to iNaturalist on your own! Download the iNaturalist smartphone app for Android or Apple and submit as you go or carry a camera with you and upload them through the website by noon on April 22.
Follow along with the local event, view our local leaderboard, or check out the map of the area that’s included at http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2017-triangle-area-nc. You can see how we’re stacking up against our competition on the national leaderboard during the event. Want to get ready for the City Nature Challenge: Triangle Area now? Create an iNaturalist account (it’s free!) through the website or the smartphone app and practice submitting your sightings so you’re ready to help us win! Need help getting your iNaturalist account set up or using the website/app? Download a printable quick guide that will walk you through the basics.
Scheduled Museum activities are listed below. Thanks for helping us show off our local citizen scientists in the City Nature Challenge: Triangle Area!
Friday, April 14
10:00am – 4:00pm
Research Center, Downtown Raleigh
We have several activities planned to help get you inspired and involved in the City Nature Challenge! All of the following are free and open to the public as drop-in programs.
- Daily Planet talks. We have three special Meet the Scientist talks for the City Nature Challenge! Learn about local biodiversity and how you can participate in the City Nature Challenge with the following Museum scientists:
- 12:00-1:00PM: Meet the Scientist: Candid Critters. Join Dr. Stephanie Schuttler of the Biodiversity Research Lab to learn how scientists at the Museum use camera traps to study mammal biodiversity.
- 1:00-2:00pm: Meet the Scientist: Introducing Your Neighborhood Bats. Lisa Gatens from the Biodiversity Research Lab will speak about bat biodiversity.
- 2:00-3:00PM: Meet the Scientist: Smartphone Nature Explorers. Chris Goforth, the Museum’s head of citizen science, will share how to use iNaturalist and what your City Nature Challenge data is good for. If you’d like to stay past the end of the talk, join Chris for an opportunity to try iNaturalist on a hands-on walk around downtown!
- Downtown Biodiversity Walks. Want help installing and/or using iNaturalist so you can participate in the City Nature Challenge? Bring a camera or smart phone and join Chris Goforth near the front desk of the Nature Research Center at the following times for a hands-on iNaturalist tutorial and a 20-30 minute walk outside to collect some data for the Challenge.
- Naturalist Center Cart. Stop by the cart outside the Naturalist Center for iNaturalist help and/or City Nature Challenge information throughout the day! The cart will be available throughout most of the rest of the Challenge as well.
Saturday, April 15
Prairie Ridge Ecostation, Western Raleigh
Join the Museum at our Prairie Ridge Ecostation for a day of biodiversity exploration and documentation! Bring a camera or a smartphone and drop by for any of the following activities to get involved in the City Nature Challenge. You’ll help us document the species we have living at Prairie Ridge and take home a fun vinyl water bottle sticker as a thank you for helping us beat the 15 other cities we’re competing against for the CNC! All of the following events are free and open to the public as drop-in activities.
- Biodiversity Walks. Want to learn more about the species that call the Triangle Area home? Drop in for a biodiversity walk to look for species with one of our naturalists, get identification help, and take photos for the Challenge:
- 9:30-10:30am: Native Plants
- 10:30-11:30am: Birds
- 1:00-2:00pm: Reptiles and Amphibians
- 3:00-4:00pm: Insects
- Exploration Stations. Drop by one of our stations to learn more about the following:
- North Carolina’s Native Plants. Visit our Nature Neighborhood Garden between 10:30 and 12:30 to check out some of the many wildflowers and natives trees that grow in North Carolina. You’ll also have a chance to take photos and ask native plant gardening questions.
- Aquatic Insects. Visit our aquatic insect station in the Outdoor Classroom from 9:30-2:00 to check out (and document!) some of our local aquatic insect species. Our aquatic entomologist will be on hand to answer questions and tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about aquatic insects.
- Species Identification Station. iNaturalist users will help you identify the things you see if you don’t know what they are when you upload your observations, but we’ll have an identification station available in our Outdoor Classroom if you want to look a species up! Check out field guides, look through our species lists (which you will help us build by participating in the CNC!), and ask questions.
- iNaturalist Station. Need help getting your iNaturalist app installed or your account set up? Want to see how to add an observation in the app or bulk upload your images on the website? We’ll have help on hand from 9:30am-4:00pm so you’ll be ready to tackle the City Nature Challenge on your own April 16-18!