It's Nature-Observing Time, Citizen Scientists of SoCal - NBC Southern California

It's Nature-Observing Time, Citizen Scientists of SoCal

People in over 150 cities around the globe are observing the outdoors over the final weekend in April.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    It's Nature-Observing Time, Citizen Scientists of SoCal
    Courtesy of NHMLA
    Keep your camera ready from April 26-29. You may see a critter you'd like to snap and send in to this annual nature challenge, which helps scientists understand the wildlife that shares our urban home.

    What to Know

    • April 26-29, 2019

    • Keep an eye out for wildlife, plants, and fungi around SoCal

    • Snap pictures and report on what you see

    Living in a city means we can often hear our neighbors doing the most mundane things.

    That may mean that you experience the song your neighbor is obsessed with this week, over and over again, or that you know what show they're watching or game they're playing at any given moment.

    But in Southern California, our neighbors also happen to have wings, and bushy tails, and whiskers, and hearing them, whether it is a bird call or howl, is always a delight. (And unlike a song, a howl doesn't get stuck in your head.)

    Love our local wildlife? It's time to tune into our bushy-tailed, wing-rocking neighbors, from April 26-29, for the City Nature Challenge has returned.

    The charming but oh-so-important challenge? It involves you putting on your citizen scientist hat and focusing on whatever critters, fungi, plants, or such that may be in your general vicinity.

    Next step? You snap a photo. Next step? You submit your finding through the iNaturalist app.

    Next step? Everyone's findings are sifted through and considered, all to gain a better picture of the bigger picture, of the nature that is such an essential element of our urban day-to-days.

    "There is nature in every city, and the best way to study it is by connecting community and scientists through citizen science," shares the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, a co-founder of the event.

    It's an event that's popping up in "... over 150 cities on six continents," which, truly, will deliver a caboodle of cool wildlife observations to researchers.

    "The data collected gives scientists, educators, urban planners, and policymakers insight into the biodiversity of urban locales throughout the world, including Los Angeles."

    A few things to note? Signs of wildlife, in addition to actual before-your-eyes wildlife, is very much of interest to the project. So if you find tracks or scat or such, snap that pic.

    Also?

    The challenge element is real. San Francisco won for most observations submitted in 2018, while Los Angeles placed ninth with some 19,423 "records logged" (still quite impressive).

    Can we go further in 2019, SoCal? Let's do this: The City Nature Challenge begins, giving Southern Californians a chance to know their neighbors better, the neighbors with beaks, claws, and numerous legs.

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