Public is Invited to Join the 2019 City Nature Challenge in Fort Bend County
Are you interested in helping the 9 counties of the Houston Region claim the title as the wildest in Texas? Then look no further! Cities around the world will compete April 26 – 28 to see which urban areas can document the most of their local wild plant and animal life within their regions. The James B Harrison Foundation and Fort Bend County 4-H will be hosting challenge participants on Saturday, April 27thin Richmond at JBH Long Point Ranch. Texas Master Naturalist volunteers will be on hand to assist new citizen scientist. The event will be open from 8am-1pm and participants are welcome to come and go as they please.
We encourage our participants to come with their camera or smartphone (preloaded with the iNaturalist App) and dress appropriately for the outdoor activities. Participants are also welcome to bring a picnic lunch. You do not have to be a nature expert to participate in this event! All new or experienced citizen scientists are welcome. It is family friendly, open to all ages, and is absolutely free.
To participate in the challenge, visitors create and share observations using the iNaturalist smartphone app. An observation consists of a photo of an animal, bird, butterfly, plant, or ANY other signs of life. These are uploaded and shared online together with the location and date (must be in the challenge area and date range). The app assists by suggesting an ID based on photo recognition, then the iNaturalist online community helps to accurately identify the species by agreeing with an identification or giving a better suggestion. This challenge is a great learning opportunity to get the kids involved and engaged with nature.
The City Nature Challenge began in 2016 with a competition between San Francisco and Los Angeles and has now grown to 160 metro areas worldwide. Just in Texas, nine regions (Amarillo, Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas/Fort Worth, El Paso, Houston, Lower Rio Grande Valley, Port Aransas, and San Antonio) will soon square off to see which is the wildest. The Houston region consists of 9 counties: Harris, Galveston, Chambers, Liberty, Montgomery, Waller, Fort Bend, Brazoria, and Austin. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Master Naturalists, and Houston Audubon Society, are among many organizations in Texas that will also be joining in on the challenge. The data generated from iNaturalist is publicly available to help researchers, land managers, and even policy makers, so participation is highly encouraged!
Interested in joining in on the fun? Visit https://www.jbhfound.org/calendar or https://agrilife.org/ftbend4h/event/cnc/for more details, directions, and to RSVP for the event. The James B Harrison Foundation’s JBH Long Point Ranch is located near George Ranch and Brazos Bend State Park in the Long Point/Fairchilds area of Richmond at 8200 Whaley-Long Point Road. More information on the challenge can be found at http://citynaturechallenge.org/