Natural Scenery

City Nature Challenge begins Friday

The ninth annual Texas City Nature Challenge event is beginning Friday and asks those within Texas to document their nature observations. The Rolling Hill Plains Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists challenge, which covers 10 counties, including Young County, will be competing.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is also inviting Texans to participate in the City Nature Challenge from April 26-29. The effort is organized by San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

“The City Nature Challenge is designed to assess biodiversity in the human-dominated landscapes in and around our major metropolitan areas,” TPWD states on its website. “The data collected during this survey helps researchers and conservation agencies better understand how, when, and where plants and animals — from non-native invasives to native Species of Greatest Conservation Need — are distributed across urban landscapes.”

The Rolling Plains Region is one of the 15 participating metropolitan areas and is made up of the counties Archer, Baylor, Clay, Foard, Hardeman, Jack, Montague, Wichita, Wilbarger and Young.

The event asks citizens of all ages to observe and take photos of wild plants, animals and fungi using the iNaturalist app on iOS and Android.

“The event allows participants to explore nature in their immediate surroundings: outside their front doors, in their yard or anywhere nature is found and can be safely and responsibly explored,” TPWD stated in a release. “Whether joining a group event, exploring nature with your family or venturing out on your own, participants are encouraged to embrace the collaborative aspect of sharing observations online with a digital community as they document their local biodiversity.”

Any observation made during the four days of the event will count towards the challenge. Participants can document life in their backyard, local parks or on a field trip to a local area. TPWD stated that in 2023 the program had 6,000 state participants which contributed over 174,000 observations of over 7,500 species across 93 counties.

The event is held in order to learn more about the biodiversity of the area and to support the Rolling Hill Plains Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists region in a global competition.

Participants can take photos of insects, birds, plants or any wild living organism which can then be uploaded to the iNaturalist website at inaturalist.org. The photos will be identified and counted by enthusiasts from around the world and area compared and counted to determine the city regions with winning cities.

More information about the nature observation program and local efforts can be found at citynaturechallenge.com.




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