HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EARTH DAY!

The annual event turns the big 5-0 on Wednesday, April 22, marking five decades of environmental action and awareness worldwide. Islanders can mark the milestone, do their part for a healthy local ecology and learn more about the Nature all around us by becoming a Citizen Scientist through the City Nature Challenge.

Next week, April 24-27, practice safe social distancing while safely exploring and observing as many wild plants, animals, and fungi as you can within walking or biking distance of your home. Then, from April 28-May 3, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your findings with other participants, learn more about the species around you as they are identified by experts and other challenge participants, or participate in the identification process yourself!

BECOME A CITIZEN SCIENTIST

  1. Download the iNaturalist app (for Androidor iPhone) or create an account online
  2. Get out in the wild (safely) and take photos of all the local plants, animals and fungi you find. See the incredible biodiversity all around you!
  3. Join the Kitsap County iNaturalist project online
  4. Upload your photos and observations
  5. Identify and discuss your findings with other Citizen Scientists

Learn more about the Challenge in a webinar on Monday, April 20. The webinar will explore the importance of documenting biodiversity in Kitsap County, introduce you to iNaturalist (the online biodiversity observation tool used for this challenge), and share tips for making and documenting observations of the many amazing plants and animals that call Kitsap County home.

Can’t make the webinar? The full recording will be available to view afterwards. Too busy for the webinar? No problem! You can still fully participate in the Challenge. Find out more: email Mary Meier, [email protected]

“The silver lining of participating in the City Nature Challenge at during this strange time, is that we can focus on the biodiversity in our immediate surroundings and discover that nature is all around  us, in cities and neighborhoods and that we have a role to play in understanding and protecting it,” says Mary Meier, Community Education Manager for IslandWood. “Use this year to practice your iNaturalist skills from home and join the Bainbridge Island BioBlitz next spring!”

This marks the first time the City Nature Challenge “BioBlitz” has come to Kitsap County. Last year, some 35,000 Citizen Scientists across 159 cities joined the challenge, making more than 963,000 observations of local wildlife over the course of the four-day challenge.

The local City Nature Challenge is organized by IslandWood and the Bainbridge Island Land Trust, as part of Bainbridge Island Earth Month 2020 activities co-sponsored by Sustainable Bainbridge, 
the Bainbridge Island Parks Foundation, Bainbridge Island Metro Parks & Recreation District, Climate & Energy Forum, Montessori Country School and Movies That Matter. For more Earth Month activities, see www.sustainablebainbridge.org