City Nature Challenge: Mini Eco-Blitz at Marshall Park!

This is the first year the Greater Portland-Vancouver Metro Area is participating in the global City Nature Challenge (CNC)! Admittedly without a lot of lead time, we decided to not just spread the word, but to ride the regional wave by hosting a low-key Eco-Blitz at Marshall Park on Saturday, May 1st. We were joined by a few families and together our observations were recorded as part of the project on iNaturalist. iNaturalist is a smartphone app where people can upload photos of observations and identifications are crowdsourced until reaching Research Grade. Read more below about the City Nature Challenge.

We are looking forward to dipping our toes further into Community Science here at the Council. Thanks again to folks who joined us and expressed their enthusiasm for these kinds of projects!

For the slideshow below, we’ve chosen our favorite photos based on visual appeal, so if you want to dive into the science, great! Check out the message from the organizer -also included below- to contribute (til May 9)! Visit the project page here to check out stats & leaderboard, and mapped observations! Not included in the slideshow, click here to watch a video we took of a hungry banana slug munching on a leaf!

Boosting this message from the organizer: Observations are in; Time to identify!

What an incredible turnout! We had 455 people collect 5,476 observations of 932 species. This is a fantastic achievement for our first year of participation. Thank you so much for your part. Now it’s time to identify those observations.

To start identifying photos, visit our region’s project page (City Nature Challenge – Greater Portland-Vancouver Metro Area), click “Observations” and then “Identify” just below it. Here, you can restrict what it shows you by taxon, if you know how to ID certain groups.

What if I’m not an expert? We still need your help identifying! If you’re not an expert in any group, you can help by identifying the “unknowns” – the observations with no IDs at all! Click the “Filters” button and then select the dashed-line leaf with a question mark in it:
Here’s some observations that need your help!
These reptiles couldn’t slither away from us this weekend: CNC/PDX 2021 Reptiles
Brainy for birds? We have 36 observations that need help with identification: CNC/PDX 2021 Birds
Skilled at scat? Check this out: What’s that scat?
Are you a sucker for Saxifrage? Help us identify this observation: What saxifrage has such unique bracts?

Thanks again, your enthusiasm is the kind of contagious we need these days.
-Adrienne St Clair

City Nature Challenge:

Started in 2016 as a competition between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the City Nature Challenge (CNC) has grown into an international event, motivating people around the world to find and document wildlife in their cities. Run by the Community Science teams at the California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the CNC is an annual four-day global bioblitz at the end of April, where cities are in a collaboration-meets-friendly-competition to see not only what can be accomplished when we all work toward a common goal, but also which city can gather the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage the most people in the event. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 City Nature Challenge de-emphasized competition, instead embracing the healing power of nature and celebrating tens of thousands of people all around the world, searching for and documenting local biodiversity, together in this event.