What’s Growing at the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens

Samuel Jean, Conservation and Education Assistant

We need your help! Participate in the 2022 City Nature Challenge between April 29 and May 2 to help showcase the Annapolis Valley’s biodiversity.

Initiated by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences in 2016, the City Nature Challenge (CNC) quickly became an international event. During this annual four-day global bioblitz, participating cities and regions are encouraged to gather the most nature observations, find the most species, and engage the most people. In 2021, more than 1 million nature observations were made, and over 45,000 species were recorded by close to 53,000 participants.

Over 360 cities and regions will be participating in the challenge this year. Those participating in Nova Scotia are the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, the Halifax Regional Municipality, and Kings and Annapolis counties. More details about the CNC can be found here: citynaturechallenge.org.

To participate, create your iNaturalist account, find a living creature (plant, fungus, insect, worm, snail, spider, crustacea, bird, mammal, reptile, amphibian, or fish), take a picture or a sound recording of it, and share your observation through iNaturalist. Evidence of the presence of an organism also counts (nests, eggs, prints, droppings, etc.). If you are not sure about the identification of the species you are looking at, don’t worry, once your observation is uploaded, other naturalists will be able to suggest identifications. Note that observations can be submitted either with your smartphone through the iNaturalist app or with your computer through the iNaturalist website (iNaturalist.org).

iNaturalist is a great tool for learning about the organisms that live around you, connect with other naturalists, and share your knowledge. Submitted data is added to a global database and can help scientists understand how the ranges of native species expand, locate threatened species, and detect the presence of invasive ones. It can also help scientists understand how plant and animal populations change over time and detect new migration patterns or change in blooming and breeding periods.

An introduction to iNaturalist session will be happening in the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens on Friday April 29. Please confirm your presence by sending me an email to samuel.jean@acadiau.ca, and keep an eye on the News and Events section of the K.C.Irving Environmental Science Centre website for more details (kcirvingcentre.acadiau.ca/about/news-events/).

Now, get outside and have fun observing and identifying!

Image: Screen capture from the iNaturalist website. The mourning cloak hibernates in the winter months and is often observed in early spring; I challenge you to find and submit this species during the 2022 City Nature Challenge!