By Sam Kieschnick, Urban Wildlife Biologist in Dallas
On April 26-29, 2019, citizen scientists in the Dallas/Fort Worth area participated in the fourth annual City Nature Challenge. From the organizers at the California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County: The City Nature Challenge is an international celebration of urban biodiversity, where cities compete to see who can make the most observations of nature, find the most species, and get the most people involved.
Citizen scientists in the Dallas/Fort Worth area were indeed involved this year! 1016 participants made 36513 observations of 2625 species during these four days. This is tremendous! Last year, 826 participants made 35,048 observations of 2441 species, and the previous year, 542 participants made 24,077 observations of 2309 species. So, across the board, we improved.
Dallas/Fort Worth earned 7th place internationally for observations, 9th place for species, and 10th place for participants. The City Nature Challenge included 153 cities around the world this year with even more planned next year!
As with all citizen science, a few dots on a map aren’t incredibly informative, but when combined with thousands and millions of other dots, we can get some really fascinating results! This year’s city nature challenge engaged quite a few people, and as public land management decisions are made, the observations and constituency may guide this decision making process. For instance, in Gateway Park, 6 citizen scientists made 244 observations of 166 species in a single morning. That tells me that this area is a significant refuge for biodiversity. In Dallas County alone, 320 participants added 8,242 observations! The naturalist community is strong and biodiversity is present even in the urban ecosystem. Thanks to everyone that participated!
If you want to look at the results, here they are:
Global results: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2019
Dallas/Fort Worth City Nature Challenge page: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2019-dallas-fort-worth
Species most frequently seen in Dallas/Fort Worth: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2019-dallas-fort-worth?tab=species