Call of the wild: nature-lovers are invited to celebrate wildlife in the City Nature Challenge

Nature-lovers across Lancashire, Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region are being invited to participate in a global citizen science project, the City Nature Challenge, by submitting wildlife observations from each region.

City Nature Challenge is organised on a global scale by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences. Between Friday 30th April and Monday 3rd May, wildlife and science fans of all ages and abilities will be called on to observe and submit observations of nature using the free wildlife recording mobile app iNaturalist.

Whether it’s flocks of birds flying overhead, trees lining our streets, flowers in gardens or even spiders in our homes, nature can be found all around us, and by recording and sharing wildlife sightings, people can make a difference to the wildlife in their region. Wildlife records are an important resource for conservation organisations and charities, helping to build up a better picture of how particular areas or species are faring and how they might be responding to habitat losses or improvements, and climate change.

Garden bumblebee

Chris Gomersall/2020VISION

Rachel Cripps, Conservation Officer at Lancashire Wildlife Trust, says: “Wildlife sightings are used to promote and protect important natural places, and aid conservation and scientific research. With more people developing an appreciation for nature and greenspaces over the past year, the City Nature Challenge is the perfect opportunity for amateurs and experts to get involved in wildlife recording. By taking part, not only will people discover amazing plants, animals and fungi that live alongside us, their wildlife sightings will help us better understand and study the natural world.”

Participating is easy. People can join in the Challenge between Friday 30th April and Monday 3rd May by photographing wildlife in their homes, neighbourhoods, gardens, parks or anywhere else in their region. Photos can be of any wild plant, animal, fungus or any other evidence of life, such as scat, fur, feathers, tracks, shells or carcasses. The images then need to be uploaded onto the iNaturalist app, along with the date and location of the sighting. You don’t even have to know anything about the species you are observing, as iNaturalist uses photo-recognition to suggest what it could be. Teams of experts will also be reviewing and updating the information that’s submitted, so you can log back in later and learn more about what you’ve spotted. INaturalist can be downloaded through the Apple store, Google Play or www.inaturalist.org.

Wildlife recording inaturalist

Charlotte Varela

With more people developing an appreciation for nature and greenspaces over the past year, the City Nature Challenge is the perfect opportunity for amateurs and experts to get involved in wildlife recording...wildlife sightings will help us better understand and study the natural world.”
Rachel Cripps
Conservation Officer, Lancashire Wildlife Trust

Lancashire Wildlife Trust and local environmental records centres (Merseyside Biobank, Lancashire Environmental Records Network and Greater Manchester Record Centre) are leading the Challenge in Lancashire, Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region, with support from other environmental organisations and local friends of groups. This will be the third time Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester have taken part in the Challenge, and the second time for Lancashire. Last year, 16,067 observations of 1609 species were recorded by 546 people across all three regions, and local organisers hope to beat these numbers this year.

While in-person group events are still limited, and not possible for many organisations promoting the Challenge this year, participants are encouraged to search for wildlife themselves in parks, reserves, neighbourhoods, gardens and even in their own homes. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust will be posting tips for finding wildlife on social media over the weekend, and will be getting people ready for the Challenge with an online event on Wednesday 21st April between 6pm-7pm, explaining how to use iNaturalist, and discussing notable discoveries from previous years. All observations submitted will then be identified by members of the iNaturalist online community from Tuesday 4th May to Sunday 9th May. Final results will be announced on Monday, 10th May.

To find out more about the City Nature Challenge and self-led events, visit our City Nature Challenge page. If you are looking for inspiration where to record wildlife, our nature reserves are perfect locations, home to a variety of species. To discover a reserve near you, visit our reserves page.

CNC organisers