Hong Kong has wrapped up its CITY NATURE CHALLENGE event that took place last week, along/against 68 other cities worldwide. I was pleased to be part of the 755 people that took part in Hong Kong, who together made 20,268 nature and wildlife observations/photos and identified 2,932 different species! But remember, this is also an ongoing programme, so have a look at the information below, download the APP and start knowing your animals better, whilst helping science.
Shaun Martin, the organiser of the event for Hong Kong says “We can be proud of the results….Hopefully, the CNC has helped to cultivate more curiosity for Hong Kong's amazing biodiversity and the feeling that YOU can contribute to it's monitoring. I hope many of you will continue engagement, either by joining more nature-based activities, using apps like iNaturalist or even joining focus groups with regard to biodiversity in their own area”. Shaun Martin is the BioBlitz Education head for the TaiTAmTuk Foundation, and can be contacted at email@example.com See excerpts from the Press Release below.
Its a great initiative, and I urge you to get involved, all year round.
Firstly, its really simple to download the iNaturalist App, on iPhone or Android. Registration is free and easy.
Anytime you see an animal (it works for plants too), simply take a picture. Don't worry if you don't know what it is ... this APP has a fantastic image recognition feature (which is admittedly USA biased), but it can help and prompt you to ID your creature. Or you can simply write in bird, or butterfly, or lizard, and someone more qualified will check your findings and update them later with the correct species. That way you are involved in a great project and get to learn more about our species in Hong Kong. You can also see wildlife hotspots near you, or on walks.
Look out for future events, which will be promoted.....not least the City Challenge 2019!
For more information also see https://www.inaturalist.org/ and http://citynaturechallenge.org/ there are some great education programmes linked to this, so if your school or other teaching establishment wants to get involved please do have a look, as this can be run at any time, not just 4 days in the year!
FROM THE PRESS RELEASE: Hong Kong’s City Nature Challenge results have officially been released with Hong Kong identifying the most species in the Asia region. “This is a tremendous win for Hong Kong, an urban financial hub, to be recognised globally for its biodiversity,” says Jenna Ho Marris, Director of Tai Tam Tuk Foundation.
Shaun Martin, the Hong Kong Co-Ordinator of the City Nature Challenge, also sees parallels with Hong Kong’s policy on biodiversity. “The City Nature Challenge’s objectives closely mirror action points laid out in Hong Kong’s Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (released by the Environment Bureau in December 2016) especially areas that refer to promoting community involvement and improving knowledge.
Events like this and other ‘BioBlitz’ style activities can really help the government reach its objectives. Plus, anyone can use the data that these citizen scientists collect for further study and it can even inform decisions on land use.” This event turned out to be the largest collaborative biodiversity engagement exercise that Hong Kong has ever seen. More than 30 local organisations, institutions and schools were involved, including WWF-HK, Caritas Chan Chun Ha Field Studies Centre, EcoBus and The Nature Conservancy, with many organising special activities over the four days. Many used this as a platform to highlight conservation issues and biodiversity threats from reclamation and housing. For many participants, it was their first time to use the iNaturalist app yet many rare and endemic species were logged. This included the treasured incense tree, Aquilaria sinensis, the very rare Romer’s Tree Frog, and migratory birds such as the Chinese Egret and Black-Faced Spoonbill. The community of amateur and professional ecologists on iNaturalist helped to identify these observations which facilitated further engagement with experts. There is general consensus among all partner organisations that this can be the start of many more collaborative territory-wide biodiversity engagement exercises and that Hong Kong citizens will feel empowered to continue to observe and record the amazing biodiversity that’s on their own doorstep.