SAN DIEGO, CA—With participatory science gaining traction globally, the San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat) is spearheading a local effort to encourage San Diegans to opt outside and partake in the 2019 City Nature Challenge for the second year in a row.
Taking place from Friday, April 26 through Monday, April 29, 2019, City Nature Challenge is an international competition to see which city can document the most local flora and fauna over a 4-day period. Organizers are calling upon fans of nature and science and people of all ages and backgrounds to observe and submit pictures of plants, animals, and fungi using the free iNaturalist app and website.
The competition began in 2016 by Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco as a fun way to recognize urban biodiversity and capitalize on their cities’ friendly rivalry. It has grown to include more than 160 cities around the world. Last year, The Nat spearheaded San Diego County’s participation for the first time, and San Diego placed in the top three of all categories: number of observations, number of species observed, and number of people involved. In fact, San Diego added the most new iNaturalist users in the world--a total of 733.
“As all San Diegans know, we are lucky to live here—surrounded by natural beauty, we can easily go from the beach to the desert in the same day. The variety in our terrain is reflected in the amazing diversity of plants and animals that also call this place home,” said Lauren Marino Perez, citizen science manager at the San Diego Natural History Museum. “We’re hoping we can meet or beat last year’s record and show the world that we are a leader in biodiversity, we have the most nature-loving and environmentally-conscious residents, and that we’re proud of the abundance and diversity of life that exists in this region.”
Local partners are getting on board to make sure that’s the case. Individuals can participate on their own throughout the 4-day period or get involved as part of an organized event. Nature and conservation organizations around San Diego County are hosting their own programs, hikes, and events to drum up interest and participation. Examples include:
Most events are free and open to the public, but some require advance registration. A full list of events is listed at sdnat.org/cnc2019.
After April 29, observations will need to be tallied and vetted, and results will be announced one week later on Monday, May 6.
San Diego’s participation in City Nature Challenge 2019 is made possible in part through support from SDG&E.
For more information, please visit sdnat.org/cnc2019.
About the San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat)
The San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat) is the second oldest scientific institution in California and the third oldest west of the Mississippi. Founded in 1874 by a small group of citizen scientists, the Museum’s mission is to interpret the natural world through research, education, and exhibits; to promote understanding of the evolution and diversity of Southern California and the peninsula of Baja California, Mexico; and to inspire in all a respect for nature and the environment. The Museum is located at 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 in Balboa Park and is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. For more information, call 877.946.7797 or visit sdnat.org. To stay up to date on Museum news, follow The Nat on Instagram and Twitter and join the discussion on Facebook.