Join Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium to identify and count plants and animals that live among us. You can make a difference by participating in the City Nature Challenge to help document Omaha Metro biodiversity on April 30 through May 3, 2021.
The City Nature Challenge is an annual, global, community science competition to document urban biodiversity. The challenge engages residents to find and document plants, animals, and other organisms living in urban areas. Last year, more than 240 cities from all over the world counted species over the four-day event with Cape Town, South Africa taking home top honors for most biodiversity.
In response to the pandemic, this year’s Challenge will not be focused on competition, but rather global collaboration as more than 41,000 people around the world are estimated to participate however they can. Together, participants can embrace nature and the collaborative aspect of the City Nature Challenge by documenting biodiversity even from the safety of their own homes.
As always, please follow the public health guidelines provided by the Douglas County Health Department and Centers for Disease Control. Individual safety and public health are the utmost priority.
“This is our chance to get to know the plants, animals and fungi that are in our backyards and our neighborhoods to better understand how our lives affect the ecology around us,” said Elizabeth Mulkerrin, vice president of education at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. “Participants are ultimately helping scientists, land managers and the community work better together to study and protect wildlife.”
Taking part in the 2021 City Nature Challenge is free and easy. Anyone and everyone is welcome to become involved in the event. Participants will need to do the following:
- Download National Geographic’s free iNaturalist app, available on Apple’s App Store or Google Play for Android. Once downloaded, select the project titled “City Nature Challenge 2021: Omaha Metro Area,” and then find “Omahazoo.”
- Find wildlife around the Omaha community between 12:01 a.m. on April 30 and 11:59 p.m. on May 3, 2021. This can include any plant, animal, fungi, slime mold or other evidence of life, such as scat, fur, tracks, shells, and carcasses. Wildlife must be native to the participating city.
- Take a picture of what is discovered and take note of its location.
- Report the findings on the iNaturalist app.
After someone signs up, the participant will have access to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium resources of journal posts, activities, and information about what various partners are doing to help spread this fun and exciting experience throughout the Omaha area. For more information, please visit OmahaZoo.com/CityNatureChallenge and the Zoo’s social media channels.
For the 2021 challenge, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium’s partners include Omaha STEM Ecosystem, Heron Haven, Joslyn Castle, Mulhall’s, Fontenelle Forest, Nebraska Wildlife Rehab, Omaha Public Libraries, Omaha Parks and Recreation, Oriental Trading, and Keep Omaha Beautiful.