City Nature Challenge

April 15, 2022

On April 9, Arizona Project WET hosted several teachers for a workshop to introduce community-based science tools and methods in anticipation of the upcoming City Nature Challenge (CNC). Starting 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 share wildlife in their cities. The CNC is an annual four-day bioblitz to document biodiversity. This year the CNC runs from April 29 to May 2. The workshop prepared teachers to utilize the online community science tool iNaturalist with their students to conduct a bioblitz on their school campus, local park, or other green space.

During the workshop, teachers learned how community science initiatives such as the CNC can connect youth in urban/metro areas to their local natural habitats. The efforts also connect youth to each other by building in-person and online connections around local nature and community science projects. As a result, teachers and students will collect urban biodiversity data and understand how it can be used for education, research, management, and conservation. The training demonstrated how hands-on activities focused on local phenomena can address K-12 academic standards.

Additional virtual workshops will be hosted by SARSEF over the next few weeks. These will include:

Using iNaturalist for Student Research

Wed. April 13, 4–5 pm: Register
Join us for a presentation and discussion about using iNaturalist, a community science app, as a tool for student research. Featured guests are Molly Hunter, University of Arizona Associate Research Professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, and Isabel Ross, a senior at Cienega High School. Isabel’s study that she entered into the 2021 SARSEF science fair was “Bighorn Fire: Effects on Wildlife in the Santa Catalina Mountains.” Isabel was chosen to proceed on from the SARSEF competition and virtually attend ISEF and National Junior Science Humanities Symposium in 2021.

iNaturalist and the National Phenology Network: Recording Biodiversity

Tues. April 19, 4–5 pm: Register
We’re hosting Theresa Crimmins, Director for the USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN), for a presentation about using community science resources to document and learn about biodiversity and phenology (the timing of seasonal life cycle events). Also a Research Professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona, Theresa works enthusiastically to support the growth and use of phenology data and resources curated by the USA-NPN, involvement in Nature’s Notebook, and a broader appreciation of phenology among scientists and non-scientists alike. The USA-NPN uses the internet to bring together community scientists, government agencies, non-profit groups, educators, and students of all ages to monitor the impacts of climate change on plants and animals in the US.

How Community Science Data is Used in Research

Tues. April 26, 4–5 pm: Register
In this presentation, you will learn how scientists use data from iNaturalist and other community science platforms in their research. SARSEF and the Pima County Master Naturalists welcome University of Arizona researcher Katy Prudic, an entomologist interested in discovering how ecological and evolutionary interactions promote biodiversity and how they can inform conservation decision-making. She is co-director of eButterfly, an online citizen science platform that harnesses the observations of thousands of butterfly enthusiasts across the globe to understand how and when butterflies and other pollinators react to environmental changes. Her research encompasses precision conservation, human-computer networks, and data science.