City Nature Challenge photo with logos

Competing against the world to discover wildlife

This World Wildlife Day, the University of Brighton is calling on everyone to take part in April’s City Nature Challenge to see who can find the most nature.

Dr Rachel White, senior lecturer in Ecology & Conservation, will be leading The Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere’s (The Living Coast) entry into the challenge, which aims to connect people with nature by discovering and recording as much wildlife as possible between 24-27 April 2020.

Taking on over 250 locations around the globe, the challenge is the flagship event of Nature 2020 and involves people taking photos of any wildlife discovered in the Biosphere region. This can involve wild plants, animals, fungi, slime mould, or any other evidence of life including fur, tracks, scat, shells and carcasses.

Using the free iNaturalist App, the number of observations, observers and identified species will be collated and logged to measure how successful each region has been, with the final results announced on 4 May.

Dr White said: “We are really pleased to be bringing the City Nature Challenge to The Living Coast, and we’re encouraging everyone to take part – residents and visitors, young and old, experienced naturalists and curious beginners.

“Working together we can hopefully make The Living Coast the top scorer in the UK!”

Sarah Dobson, The Living Coast Biosphere Programme Manager, said: “The event targets both rural and urban areas. We want observations to represent the full diversity of our Biosphere – land, freshwater, coastal and marine.

You can search your garden, local park, school ground, nature reserve, beach – there are endless possibilities. Nature exists in every city, and one of the best ways to study it is by connecting scientists and the community through citizen science. As global human populations become increasingly concentrated in cities, it’s more important than ever to document urban biodiversity and help ensure the future of our wildlife.”

The local organising team (which also includes Dr Maureen Berg, Principal Lecturer in Plant Ecology) are looking for individuals, community groups and nature organisations to get involved and host events either to record sightings or to identify species by expressing an interest on the Nature 2020 website.

You can find out more about the City Nature Challenge on their website.

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