NC Aquariums Lead the City Nature Challenge

Fort Fisher News Room

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NC Aquariums Lead the City Nature Challenge

Terns on the coast It’s easy to run into a crab or a sandpiper in the coastal region of North Carolina – visitors and local folks are often witnesses to the marvels of nature that make up the state’s delicate ecosystems. Each organism from a frog to a fern is critical to the habitat and because of their importance, the North Carolina Aquariums are leading the Coastal North Carolina team in the global “bioblitz” known as the City Nature Challenge (CNC) April 29-May 2.

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. 

“City Nature Challenge is a great way to compete against other regions of the state and 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, N.C. Aquarium Fort Fisher.

To join in the excitement, nature enthusiasts, whether a novice or expert, can follow four easy steps:

  1. Download the free iNaturalist app and create an account. 
  2. Take photos of plants and animals you find. 
  3. Upload your observations to share with the iNaturalist community. 
  4. Learn more as your finds get identified! 

Anglers can 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 Morgan Freese, Virtual Programs Coordinator, N.C. Aquarium Fort Fisher, and organizer of the coastal region City Nature Challenge.

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.

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