Canada is set to take on the world April 29 through May 2!
No, it’s not World Cup soccer – it’s the 2022 City Nature Challenge! And unlike the World Cup, you don’t have to have mad soccer skills to actually contribute. All you need is a camera or mobile device and access to iNaturalist.ca.
The City Nature Challenge is a friendly annual international challenge to see which city can record and upload the most observations of wildlife species using the free iNaturalist platform. From the tiniest bug to the tallest tree, from belugas to birds to beavers, participants are encouraged to take pictures of all the flora and fauna they can find. By doing so, they’re contributing to an international database used to track biodiversity around the world. It’s a great way to turn a simple walk in the woods into truly impactful “citizen science” activity.
This year 42 Canadian cities are registered as part of the City Nature Challenge Canada collective, as participants across the country band together to compete against hundreds of cities in over 40 countries around the world. From as far west as Nanaimo to as far north as Yellowknife to as far east as St. John’s, City Nature Challenge participants will be contributing to Canada’s total observations.
Last year City Nature Challenge participants made over 1.2 million observations world-wide, finding over 45,000 different species of wildlife. In Canada, over 30,000 observations were made – not bad for a country that’s still covered in snow in some parts during the month of April!
How to Participate?
It’s easy to participate as part of Team Canada. Simply log into the platform at iNaturalist.ca (make sure you check your account settings are set to .ca rather than .org to ensure you’re part of the Canadian platform. To do so, edit your settings).
Head to the City Nature Canada 2022 project to see if your city is taking part in the City Nature Challenge. Any observations you make in a participating city and upload through the iNaturalist app or at iNaturalist.ca from April 29 through May 2 will be instantly added to the total. If your city is not participating, you can still make observations. If you have any expertise with individual species, you can also log in to verify species observations made by other people. You’ll become part of an active iNaturalist community dedicated to tracking biodiversity all year long.
Check back in on the CityNatureCanada 2022 project on May 9 to see which city is crowned the CNC champion of Canada. And visit the global project for the collective results and how we stacked up against the world.
The City Nature Challenge is just the first major event on a year-long calendar of activities where iNaturalist can play an important role in connecting Canadians to nature. Open your account today, and get familiar with the app. There are many instructional videos in English and French that can help you become a master at using iNaturalist. Who knows – you could find a rare species, an invasive species, or a species you didn’t even know was native to your area. That’s the fun of using iNaturalist. So join the team representing Canada during the City Nature Challenge. Let’s show the world that Canada’s wildlife is as abundant as ever.