This year's friendly global citizen science competition, the City Nature Challenge, ended up with 159 cities competing! These cities tried to get people out making nature observations using the free iNaturalist application to take photos that were uploaded during a 4 day competition to see who could get the most people involved, make the most observations, and identify (through crowd sourcing) the most species. These could all later be data mined by researchers and others to provide information for various projects.
This year the Greater Washington DC Region once again did very well, despite there being more cities competing this year from the 68 that participated last year. Reporting 29,976 observations, the DC Region came in 10th overall, behind, in this order: Cape Town, La Paz, San Francisco (who helped start the challenge), San Diego County, Tena (Ecuador), Klang Valley (Malaysia), Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong. You can find out more about the City Nature Challenge, including details of the leaderboard here: http://citynaturechallenge.org/ . For a summary from the Academy of Sciences, look here: https://calacademy.org/press/releases/city-nature-challenge-results-in-nearly-1-million-wildlife-observations.
As many other parts of the world have much greater biodiversity, the DC Region placed quite well coming in 15th on the globe with 2,261 species tallied. But where our area really stood out was in participation. The 1,259 particpants who entered their observations placed DC 4th overall! Only the 2 original founding member cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles, followed by La Paz placed better. What a wonderful testament to the interest in nature and the willingness to participate in citizen science the nation's capital has to show!
|A Nessus Sphinx Moth found in the Barcroft Natural Resource Conservation Area|
Locally, I'd like to feature Arlington, which while part of he DC Region team, did fairly well on its own. It contributed 4,635 observations of 803 species entered by 163 observers. The Mayapple was the commonly reported plant while the American Robin was the commonly reported animal. It will take quite a while to go over all the individual species reported and see if any should be further investigated, but the data is now there to do so. More over, 3 Arlington County staff placed in the top 11 in the DC region for species tallied.
I personally had my best City Nature Challenge ever, and am happy that I tallied 880 observations and topped the leaderboard with 430 species reported. That species count overall was good enough to place 25th in the whole global challenge.
So lots of reasons to be happy: with how great the DC region did, how Arlington did, and my personal tallies. But more importantly, I am so happy that 159 cities decided they would participate, that 32,781 people entered 32,781 observations, entering data on 31,837 species. What a great commitment to citizen science, to pride in what nature is found close to them, and that they were willing to have some great fun while in this friendly global competition. Now I can't wait until next year!