Your city, your neighborhood or even your own backyard may be more biodiverse than you realize. When was the last time you paused and really examined the richness of wildlife all around you? In honor of Earth Month, we have the perfect opportunity for you to do exactly that and contribute to science at the same time!
For the second year, The Nature Conservancy, a global environmental nonprofit working to create a world where people and nature can thrive, is co-organizing the City Nature Challenge (CNC) in Orange County with Orange Audubon Society and the Tarflower Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society. Originally launched in 2016 as a friendly competition between the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles, the CNC has now expanded to more than 400 cities in at least 44 countries.
Here’s how it works: participants download the free iNaturalist app and join the project “City Nature Challenge 2022: Orange County.” This year’s event is set to take place from April 29 – May 2. Participants can walk around a park, a local wildlife preserve, their neighborhood or even their own property to take and share pictures of wild species, plants, insects and animals. The pictures are added to the app and the information is collected to help researchers identify urban biodiversity data.
“The CNC is aimed at connecting people to nature in urban areas,” says Christianah Oyenuga, Sustainable Manager with the Nature Conservancy. “The challenge also builds inclusion and increases awareness of conservation; engages residents to participate as community scientists; collects biodiversity data available to science, education and resource managers; and ultimately inspire residents to have fun through collaboration and friendly competition!”
The Center for Health & Wellbeing is dedicated to creating learning opportunities around Environmental wellbeing, one of our seven pillar Dimensions of Wellbeing. Environmental wellbeing is an awareness of the effects your daily habits have on the environment around you. It involves being socially responsible in protecting the environment, being aware of your footprint where you live, in the community, and on the earth. And we can think of no better way to put that philosophy into action than encouraging your friends and family to join you in this year’s CNC!
The CNC uses the iNaturalist app to record and track observations, as well as to identify species and location. The iNaturalist app can be downloaded on a phone or tablet, and is accessible via the website.
In its first year, the 2021 City Nature Challenge in Metro Orlando captured important data on species such as the Southeastern Five-lined Skink and the Bumblebee Millipede and plant life like Virginia Pepperweed and Florida Greeneyes.
“This year, we hope the CNC attracts even more participants in Orange County. This event is so important to learn about nature and how greenspaces are important for biodiversity that supports our physical and mental health and social wellbeing.”
Christianah Oyenuga, Sustainable Manager with the Nature Conservancy
Globally, in 2021, 52,000 observers recorded 1.2 million observations, identifying 45,300 species, including 2100+ rare/endangered/threatened species. The local chapter of the Nature Conservancy has partnered with several local government agencies and nonprofits to make this the most successful CNC yet, including Orange County Public Schools, the Orange County Government, the City of Orlando, the University of Central Florida, Full Sail University, the Hannibal Square Heritage Center and our frequent Center for Health & Wellbeing presenters IDEAS for Us.
Don’t miss out on your chance to make history! Learn more on the Orange County CNC Project page and don’t forget to use the hashtag #CNCOrange2022 in your posts.
Don’t let your Earth Day celebrations stop with the CNC! Make plans to join us from 8 – 11:30 AM on April 30th at the Center for Health & Wellbeing for the Ward & Wellbeing Earth Day Block Party. Additional details here >>>