Ready, set, snap! Connect with fellow nature lovers from around the world in the 2021 City Nature Challenge, a worldwide bioblitz held April 30 – May 3 that encourages participants to get outside and celebrate their region’s biodiversity by taking photos of the plants and animals found in their communities and uploading them to iNaturalist. The Arboretum will be serving as the lead institution for the Western North Carolina region and will be offering a variety of online programming for adults and youth in conjunction with this collaborative citizen-science initiative that helps scientists across the globe gather valuable data about the organisms around us.
How to Participate
1) Download iNaturalist, a free mobile application on your iPhone or Android device.
2) From April 30 – May 3, get outside in your backyard or a nearby natural area (while practicing social distancing) and take pictures of wildlife, including plants and animals (no pets, please!).
3) Upload your photos to iNaturalist and tell your friends to join in on the fun! **Children 12 & under can submit their photos via ecoexplore.net.
4) BONUS: Help identify organisms on iNaturalist during the Challenge’s “identifying” stage from May 4 – 9.
Get to know the nature near you! This year, as part of the City Nature Challenge, the Arboretum’s ecoEXPLORE program will once again offer a special BioBlitz Bonus Badge to children in grades K-8 who complete the necessary “challenges.”
For adults looking for an extra challenge this spring, the Arboretum is offering the North Carolina BioBlitz patch. To earn the patch, participants will need to create a free iNaturalist account; attend the free “Intro to City Nature Challenge & iNaturalist“ course or stream it after the fact; make at least 40 nature observations during the City Nature Challenge; and help identify 10 or more observations made by others during the Challenge’s “identifying” stage (May 4 – 9). Students in the Arboretum’s Blue Ridge Naturalist and Blue Ridge Eco-Gardener certificate programs can earn 4 credit hours towards their Criteria 2 requirements by completing the steps necessary to earn their patch and will be asked to provide documentation of their observations and identifications in the form of screenshots. Candidates pursuing a North Carolina Environmental Education Certification can also receive these credits. Please contact Michelle Pearce, Teacher Education Coordinator, at email@example.com with any questions.
Education programs are supported in part by North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation; Duke Energy Foundation; The Ecology Wildlife Foundation; Biltmore Farms Hotels, Southeastern Container Inc.; The Laurel of Asheville; Wild Birds Unlimited Asheville; B.B. Barns Garden, Gift & Landscape Company; and The Compleat Naturalist.