23 Canadian cities join forces to track biodiversity

23 Canadian Cities Join Forces to Track Biodiversity

2021 City Nature Challenge sees Canada compete against the world to track wildlife species

APRIL 16, 2021 — Nature NB is inviting everyone in Fredericton, Westmorland County, and Charlotte County to participate in the 2021 City Nature Challenge (CNC) as they join 20 other Canadian cities in the event scheduled April 30 through May 3. The CNC is part of a friendly international collaboration designed to connect people to nature while taking an inventory of wildlife species around the globe. These  New Brunswick communities are three of more than 325 cities from over 40 countries regiestered to participate in this year’s event, which encourages use of the free iNaturalist app to track wildlife species and inventory biodiversity.

“We live in a big country and scientists can’t be everywhere,” said James Pagé, Species at Risk and Biodiversity Specialist with CWF. “During the CNC and year-round, individuals can be the scientist by contributing valuable observations for biodiversity research and conservation. Using smartphones and digital cameras as tolls, iNaturalist helps us connect with nature while helping to conserve it.”

With contributions from partners and volunteers in each Canadian city, CWF has established a CNC Canada umbrella project on iNaturalist.ca being coordinated nationally by Canadian Wildlife Federation and volunteers across the country. Observations made by anyone using iNaturalist.ca in each participating Canadian city will be automatically added to the CNC Canada project. While Canadian cities will compete against each other to see which one can engage the most people and accumulate the highest number of observations, the collective number will represent Canada’s total in the international competition. Last year 41,000 people in 244 cities participated, registering over 815,000 observations of 32,000 different species that included more than 1,3000 rare or endangered species.

“The CNC gives us a great reason to get out this spring and connect with the species and spaces just outside our door while at the same time providing valuable information for conservation,” said Pagé. “Everyone should check out the project page on iNaturalist.ca/projects to find out which cities are participating, and even if a city isn’t taking part, people everywhere can contribute by helping out online to identify what’s being found.”

The City Nature Challenge was established by the California Academy of Sciences and Natural Museum of Los Angeles. This year’s event runs in two parts: recording observations from April 30th to May 3rd and identifying observations April 30th through May 9th. If you are in one of the following communities and you want to participate, you can join the iNaturalist projects using the links below.

Fredericton CNC Project

Westmorland CNC Project

Charlotte County CNC Project

Please be sure to follow all local COVID-19 restrictions when participating in the event 

Contact: Rae Sharp, Conservation Coordinator for Nature NB