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The Cape Breton Regional Municipality City Nature Challenge


Come visit the Cape Breton Regional Municipality between April 24-27 and explore our coasts, parks, trails and green spaces. Take photos of wild plants and animals. Share your observations with Become a citizen scientist!

Citizen and community science initiatives continue to increase in popularity and this year’s fifth annual City Nature Challenge will be the largest single event of its kind in history. The multi-city, global event organized by the California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County calls on current and aspiring citizen scientists, nature and science fans, and people of all ages and science backgrounds to observe and submit pictures of wild plants, animals, and fungi using the free app iNaturalist. Canadian participants are encouraged to use the made-in-Canada version of the online mobile application iNaturalist Canada which is synchronized with the global platform. Kicking off April 24 at 12:01 am in each time zone, the Challenge runs through April 27, 11:59 pm and only observations made during this period count towards the competition. Identification of photographed species will be crowdsourced through the online community April 28-May 3 and results will be announced on May 4.

“Communities will be far more likely to protect and advocate for nature if they are part of the process,” says Dave Ireland, from Clean Foundation. “Scientists can’t do this on their own, they need our help to monitor, measure and ultimately protect biodiversity.”

With human populations worldwide increasingly concentrated in cities, the study of urban biodiversity is integral to the future of plants and wildlife on Earth. Large pools of data, including those built through iNaturalist, natural history museums, and science organizations, help authorities make informed conservation decisions.

Organizers estimate that 1,000,000 observations will be made by over 40,000 people in over 250 participating cities across 40 countries. Halifax is one of six Maritime areas participating. The data collected gives scientists, educators, urban planners, and policymakers insight into the biodiversity of urban locales throughout the world.

“During the City Nature Challenge, we are inviting residents and visitors to Cape Breton to come visit the 300-year-old fishing village of Gabarus and explore our part of the island” says Linda Bagnell president of the Gull Cove Trail Society. “The Gabarus Wilderness Area which is accessed by the Gull Cove Trail is a NS protected area encompassing 3,900 hectares, (nearly 10,000 acres), of coastal lands along the Atlantic shore of Cape Breton Island, with 20 km of ocean shoreline and numerous fresh and brackish-water lakes. The City Nature Challenge is a great opportunity to showcase to the world Cape Breton’s incredible beauty and an ecosystem with its abundance of natural diversity.”

For both budding and veteran citizen scientists, participating is easy:

  1. Find wildlife. It can be any plant, animal, fungi, slime mold, or any other evidence of life (scat, tracks, shells, carcasses!).
  2. Take a picture of what you find, and be sure to note the location of the critter or plant.
  3. Share your observations by uploading your findings to the iNaturalist Canada platform.

Every observation helps us understand urban nature, and helps us build communities that work better for humans and wildlife.

For more information on our Nova Scotian entries in the City Nature Challenge please visit our Facebook Page or contact us at [email protected].

Photo credits: to Jim Pagel and Allan MacMillan.

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