Tips and Tricks and FAQs
WHAT IS CITY NATURE CHALLENGE?
City Nature Challenge is an epic, global contest to collect information about our local wildlife that contributes to long term research and informs how we look after our wildlife and green spaces. We have 4 days to identify as many species as we can, record as many sightings as we can and get as many people involved as we can. Here in Bristol and Bath we thing we have the most wildlife friendly citizens in the world so tell your friends to join the race!!
HAS IT HAPPENED BEFORE?
This is the second international City Nature Challenge. In 2016, Los Angeles and San Francisco developed the idea from their regular BioBlitz events (Bristol is the home of BioBlitz in the UK) and went head to head before inviting the rest of the USA to join in 2017 (16 cities). In 2018, 69 cities across the world took part with Bristol and Bath uploading more observations than any other city in Europe and coming 13th overall. So we’ve got a title to defend going into 2019 where over 160 cities worldwide will be taking up the challenge!
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE DATA?
Once entered into iNaturalist, observations will be collated and verified by Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre (BRERC) where they will help inform local conservation, planning and land management. Data will also be passed to the national NBN Atlas and international GBIF datasets contributing to wider research and conservation.
DO I HAVE TO USE THE iNATURALIST APP?
The international competition runs through the free iNaturalist platform which processes the species count and provides live updates throughout the event. If you don’t have a smartphone or prefer to use your SLR camera to capture your wildlife images, you can upload to iNaturalist via their website portal. www.iNaturalist.org.
If you are a regular recorder and usually collect records in a paper format we can accept these records but they will have to be manually entered by volunteers which takes time and may mean they don’t end up counting towards our score. BUT we would much rather you take part without using iNaturalist than not take part at all!
WHAT IF I CAN’T TAKE A PHOTO?
The app will accept records with no photo and if you have a positive identification but can’t quite capture an image do still submit the record! It just makes the sighting more difficult to verify so generally follow a rule that a really rubbish zoomed, distance photo is better than no photo at all.
WHERE CAN I SURVEY?
As long as you have appropriate permission, you can look for wildlife anywhere in the Bristol and Bath City Region as defined by the region covered under the Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre. The area includes not just the urban centres of Bristol and Bath, but also the wider towns and countryside of South Gloucestershire, Bath & North East Somerset and North Somerset Local Authority areas. We even squeezed in our friends at WWT Slimbridge. VISIT OUR iNATURALIST PAGE FOR A MAP.
Search your garden, street, local park, school grounds or visit one of the spectacular nature reserves, outdoor attractions and gardens that we have here in the West of England.
WHEN CAN I SURVEY?
Any observations you collect within the Bristol and Bath City Region over 26-29 April 2018 will go towards the Challenge. Observations have to be collected between midnight on April 26 and midnight on April 30 but records can be submitted up to 3rd May to give time for difficult specimens to be identified. The winning cities will be announced on 6th May. Records submitted outside of this time will still be taken into the long term datasets but will not contribute to our score for The Challenge.
WILL THE APP KILL MY PHONE BATTERY AND DATA?
You can save phone data and battery by photographing species as you go along and stopping at a pub or café to refresh, charge up and connect to WiFi whilst you upload your observations to iNaturalist.
Check your phone camera settings to make sure your camera allows location tagging so that your phone remembers where the photo was taken and not where you are uploading from
CAN I RECORD A SPECIES MORE THAN ONCE?
You can record the same species several times as long as it is in a different location
CAN I RECORD MY CAT, THE GIRAFFES AT THE ZOO AND ROSES IN MY GARDEN?
The rules of City Nature Challenge allow records of captive and cultivated species such as pets, zoo animals and planted trees, shrubs and flowers but we try not to encourage it as the data has limited scientific or conservation value. So please do concentrate on wild specimens but we appreciate it’s not always easy to tell if something is a wild plant or if it was planted there deliberately. If you do record any captive species tick the box at the bottom of the recording page so that it gets flagged to the researchers using the data.
Avon Wildlife Trust
Bath & North East Somerset Council
BBC Natural History Unit
Bristol City Council
Bristol Zoo Gardens
University of Bath
University of Bristol
University of the West of England
Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
The Natural History Consortium is a charitable collaboration between these member organisations.
Engaging people with the natural world through collaborative action. Reg Charity 1123432