RALEIGH, N.C. — Have you ever come across something on the beach and have no idea what it is?
The North Carolina Aquariums are leading the Coastal North Carolina team in the NC Bioblitz—part of the City Nature Challenge (CNC) April 28-May 1.
It started in 2016 as a competition between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The CNC has grown into an international event, motivating people around the world to find and document wildlife in their cities.
Run by the Community Science teams at the California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the CNC is an annual four-day challenge at the end of April, where cities are in a “collaboration-meets-friendly” competition to see what can be accomplished when we all work toward a common goal. Now that the challenge has grown, the different regions of North Carolina will compete to gather the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people in the event. The NC Aquariums at Fort Fisher (NCAFF), Pine Knoll Shores (NCAPKS), Roanoke Island (NCARI) and Jennette’s Pier are all recruiting “Bioblitzers” in their area.
“City Nature Challenge is a great way to compete against other regions of the state. Everyone is a winner because of the valuable information collected during this all-out effort to observe and collect information on wild plants and animals,” said Andy Gould, Education Curator, NCAFF.
To join in the excitement, nature enthusiasts, whether a novice or expert, can follow four easy steps:
- Download the free iNaturalist app and create an account.
- Take photos of plants and animals you find April 28-May 1.
- Upload your observations to share with the iNaturalist community. To be counted for the CNC, be sure to upload by May 7.
- Learn more as your finds get identified!
Anglers also play an important role in the CNC by downloading the app and sharing photos of their catches, whether they keep them or not.
“We’re super excited to energize our fishing community in the City Nature Challenge, as the observation and sharing of local fish species is important to the goals for the competition—which is to better understand urban biodiversity,” said Leah Hernandez, Educator, NCAFF, and organizer of the coastal region during the NC Bioblitz.
NCAPKS will have a kick-off event with a Bird Walk Bioblitz along their trails. Download the app and meet April 28 at 8:30 a.m. at the front of the Aquarium. Learn to use the iNaturalist app and snap photos of nature finds along the trail.
NCAFF will host an activity table in their garden area all four days of the NC Bioblitz featuring a fun nature photography bingo game with prizes. The NCAFF team will lead outdoor instructional hikes twice a day April 28, 29, and May 1 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
NCARI will host hikes each day April 28 through May 1. Learn about native plants and animals in the NCARI Pollinator Garden and Maritime Forest on-site or explore Coquina Beach and Nags Head Woods with an educator. All hikes include an introduction to using the iNaturalist app.
More than 400 cities around the world are joining together to document nature during the challenge which pits Coastal NC. in the competition against the Charlotte-Metro area, Raleigh, and other regions around the state. For more information about the friendly competition, visit City Nature Challenge.