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iNaturalist - a Guest blog

I have written before about this wonderful APP and programme. I often use it to ID species when I am out in the field, and also to help record species and locations for an ever growing database. Now we have a very exciting event coming up....the City Nature Challenge....I think over 30 schools have already signed up, so maybe you want to put a little team together yourself..... is happy to help promote CNC 2019 as a media sponsor.

Now over to Sean Martin, and more information about this great event.

Contact Sean at

Ever wanted to be an ecologist, citizen scientist and a world the same time?!

From April 26th - 29th, over 160 cities around the world will be competing against each other in the City Nature Challenge to log the most observations of the most species from the most observers using the free app, iNaturalist. This is a fantastic opportunity to engage people with the amazing biodiversity that surrounds them in their neighbourhoods and parks.

For Hong Kong, it is of major importance. While we boast a good proportion of our territory as a Country Park, the general public mostly seem oblivious to the diverse amount of habitats and life that reside here; from butterflies to boars, from mangroves to mudflats and from frogs to flowers. The recent policy 'Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan' puts emphasis on 'promoting community involvement' yet how this is to be enacted effectively still remains to be seen.

One such method is through smartphone technology. Citizen science apps like iNaturalist makes engagement and awareness simple. All one does is take a picture of a specimen, give it a basic identification (e.g. Insect, Plant, Bird, etc) and then share it. The location, date and time of the observation will be logged and from this your observation can be further identified by the myriad of enthusiasts and ecologists who use iNaturalist. The participant gets more informed while the iNat database becomes more comprehensive. For the City Nature Challenge, this can be done ANYWHERE in Hong Kong!

This pic was taken by Sean, and ID by the APP. It's a Cocoa Tussock Moth caterpillar.

We would love it if Hong Kong 'wins' the City Nature Challenge yet ultimately I hope this experience teaches participants that they can contribute to biodiversity monitoring anywhere, at anytime all through their smartphones. It takes just 15 seconds to make an observation on iNaturalist. The CNC is a genuine activity where people can learn, engage, contribute and compete all at the same time and I urge you all to get involved. Who knows?! You might discover something interesting....

The City Nature Challenge is jointly devised by the California Academy of Science and National History Museum of L.A. County: The Hong Kong and Macau projects have grant support from National Geographic Society.

For information on Hong Kong's effort:

Join the Facebook event page for more details -

Keep an eye on Hong Kong's progress -

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