City Nature Challenge, April 14 – 18 in DFW!

Short message:

Make iNaturalist observations anywhere in Dallas/Fort Worth on April 14 – 18 (Easter weekend)! Show the rest of the country how many different critters and plants and fungi live in our urban area! Citizen scientists unite!

Longer message with more details:

Last year, San Francisco and Los Angeles had a competition on which urban area has the most citizen scientists and most species. Well, they want to extend this competition to the rest of the country. New York City, Boston, Raleigh, Washington DC, Nashville, Duluth, Chicago, Miami, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Austin, Houston, and Dallas/Fort Worth are the participating cities… Which area has the most citizen scientists and most species?!? Can DFW compete with the rest of the country?!? I think so! We need your help though.

With your family and friends, or even by yourself, go outside anywhere in Dallas/Fort Worth (area defined as anywhere within these counties: Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant, Wise) and make iNaturalist observations. These observations will automatically be added to the DFW project on iNaturalist. If you don’t know what the organism is that you’re observing, that’s ok! Observe it, and others will help you ID it. If you do know what it is, you can enter in the ID and others will verify it. All observations have to be observed on April 14 through 18, and must be uploaded before April 22 to be counted in this City Nature Challenge. If you need to get out of work or out of school, I’ll write you a doctor’s note with a prescription for nature! ;)

Go to your favorite park or one you’ve not been to before. Observe some of the critters in your own back yard too! All of these count, and this data is useful. We can highlight the areas of high biodiversity, we can see where certain invasive species are, and we can even monitor changes in species distributions through time by documenting it today.

One of the products from this challenge with be updated species guides for our region. This is filterable, so you can search for ‘reptiles’ or ‘beetles’ or ‘legumes’ and get an idea of the ones that people have observed so far. With each observation, we gain more knowledge of the plants, animals, and fungi that live within the DFW urban environment. This digital field guide is the tool for the next generation of naturalists. Let’s embrace it!

We’ll be keeping up with the results daily on the Facebook page. We’ll show off some of the neat things that folks are seeing each day. There’s a Facebook event for this thing too (the Austin and Houston folks are on this too).

We’ll have leaderboards on the TPWD webpage too.

If you’re unfamiliar with the citizen science tool iNaturalist, here is a link to help you explore the website, and here are some handouts on how to use the app.

Now, if you want to get together with other naturalists to make observations, here is the tentative calendar of events going on in the DFW metroplex. Bring a camera, bug net, smart phone, water, snacks, comfortable shoes, and most importantly, your curiosity! Family friendly events.

Friday, April 14…

9 am – noon: Breckinridge Park in Richardson *
9 am – 11 am: White Rock Lake (Bath House) in Dallas
9:30 am – 12:30 pm: Twelve Hills Nature Center in Dallas
11:30 am - 1 pm: UNT campus (by student union and admin building) in Denton
1 pm – 4 pm: Bear Creek Nature Park in Lancaster *
5:30 pm - 8:30 pm: The Mound in Flower Mound
7 pm – 10 pm: Cedar Ridge Preserve in Cedar Hill (mothing!)
7 pm – 10 pm: Mockingbird Nature Park in Midlothian (mothing!) *

Saturday, April 15…

8 am - 11 am: LLELA in Lewisville
9 am – noon: OS Gray Natural Area in Arlington *
9 am - noon: Marion Sansom Park in Fort Worth
9 am – 1 pm: Heard Museum in McKinney
10 am – 11:30 am: Twelve Hills Nature Center in Dallas (butterfly walk!)
1 pm – 4 pm: South West Nature Preserve in Arlington *
1:30 pm – 3 pm: Fort Worth Nature Center in Fort Worth

Sunday, April 16 (Easter Sunday)…

9 am - 3 pm: Connemara Nature Preserve in Allen

Monday, April 17…

9 am – noon: Mike Lewis Park in Grand Prairie *
1 pm – 4 pm: Cross Timbers Park in North Richland Hills *

Tuesday, April 18…

9:30 am – 11 am: Blackland Prairie Conservatory & Atelier prairie in Dallas
4 pm - 7 pm: Tandy Hills Park in Fort Worth *

If you know of other organizations or parks that would be interested in promoting this city nature challenge or hosting a nature event, give them some flyers, or handouts, and let me know. We can include them on the partners list on the website and on the timeline of events.

Most of all, go outside and enjoy nature. Wildlife exists in the urban area – enjoy it. :)

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know. Thanks! Also, the ones with the * sign, I'm planning on being at these. All of the others will have other guides and leaders.

Sam Kieschnick
Urban Wildlife Biologist, DFW
Texas Parks and Wildlife
sambiology on iNaturalist!

Posted on 06 March, 2017 22:59 by sambiology sambiology


Looking forward to it. It sounds like fun.

Posted by charley almost 7 years ago

Uhhhh... Upload by April 22nd?! Ouch! I'm going to have to hire an assistant.

Posted by kimberlietx almost 7 years ago

You have me for O.S. Gray and Fort Worth Nature Center on Saturday. The other days will be kind of hard for me to get to but I will be there to help out. I will go to O.S. Gray from 9AM-11AM and then go over the Fort Worth Nature Center from 1:30- 3 AM. Let's do this!

Posted by galactic_bug_man almost 7 years ago

Yay! And I'm with Kimberlie - we need to hire assistants!

Posted by annikaml almost 7 years ago

I'm challenging myself to document a minimum of 25 species over those 5 days. Anyone want to join me? Can you do better? Barbara

Posted by jbe_fleischman_fam almost 7 years ago

Include The Flower Mound if you would like, We would love to have some more out documenting. Saturday April 15 9-noon. PS I'm in.

Posted by sy25805 almost 7 years ago

I think we need more sightings in Allen! I really want to know more about the wildlife in Allen!

Posted by huyct almost 7 years ago

If our observations are outside of the areas where the events are, does it count as long as its in the DFW area?

Posted by diatomwu almost 7 years ago

Observations anywhere in the DFW metroplex made during April 14 - 18 will count! So, explore, explore, explore, explore. :) Go to parks you know well, parks that you don't know at all, or anywhere!

Posted by sambiology almost 7 years ago

Roger that Sam I read you loud and clear. Friday- Tuesday of Easter Weekend. I can do a lot since I will be at school on Tuesday I will be able to get a lot of stuff if conditions are right. After school I can go to one of the parks that I am familiar with. I still will go places the rest of the week but I can really do a lot of damage on Tuesday of that week.

Posted by galactic_bug_man almost 7 years ago

Leaderboards up for the other participating cities. Right now, we're all tied. ;)

Posted by sambiology almost 7 years ago

Are you going to stay up until 12:01am on Friday to get us on the board first? ;)

Posted by kimberlietx almost 7 years ago

I think Duluth, Nashville, NYC, Boston, Raleigh, and Washington DC has a leg up on us time wise! :-)

Posted by annikaml almost 7 years ago

I do wonder how much I'm going to sleep on this weekend... Not much. ;)

Posted by sambiology almost 7 years ago

Or the following days... only a few days to upload. 0_0

Posted by kimberlietx almost 7 years ago

@sambiology, I am super impressed with all of the organizations you have lined up to do in person events for the CNC. Are all of these already active on iNaturalist already, or are some of them new for the CNC? I'm guessing based on iNat's footprint in Texas that most of them are on already! Just trying to pick your brain as we are shamefully far behind in DC, despite the BioBlitz last year.

Posted by carrieseltzer almost 7 years ago

@carrieseltzer -- at each of these events/gatherings, there will be at least one person to train folks how to use iNaturalist and distribute handouts on how to use the network and app (the ones here: I hope hope hope we get lots of new users for this competition, but I'm predicting we're going to rely on the heavy hitters in DFW to stand a chance to compete with the Californians. :)

My two cents -- you can just select some gathering places around DC, invite the iNatters up there, and tell them to bring them friends. Also, have Natalie sign up for a iNat account. She's really good at pointing out mosses. ;)

Posted by sambiology almost 7 years ago

if anyone in the DFW area would like to meet up with us sometime during the days of the nature challenge at Arcadia Trail Park in Fort Worth, just send a message and we will try to meet up and show you some of the areas that are blooming and buzzing...

Posted by taogirl almost 7 years ago

I am excited to learn about this app and join the community!

Posted by luvessy almost 7 years ago

Does this blitz include "cultivated" species?

Posted by luvessy almost 7 years ago

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments