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Your Bio Pic Could be the Winner!

Biopics are making headlines this year as films like Oppenheimer win big at the Grammys. You, too, can be part of headlines by making your own “bio pics” in Seattle’s parks this year as part of the 2024 City Nature Challenge.

“Bio” is the Latin root word meaning “life.” And Seattle parks are teeming with many species. This biodiversity is a mix of native and ornamental species (and some invasive species), and includes plants, animals, and fungi. While we have a grasp of many of the species in our parks, YOU can be a part of gathering detailed park-level information to improve our understanding of what lives here, which can help our staff manage our parks even better.

The City Nature Challenge is the perfect opportunity to gather biodiversity information in a way that not only helps locally but is part of a global community science movement. Each year amateur naturalists, scientists, school children, and others grab their smartphones and head to their local park or natural area to observe and record the life they see. Each observation helps create a more robust picture of the biodiversity in our communities.

In 2024, the City Nature Challenge will occur between Friday April 26th and Monday April 29th. Participants will download the iNaturalist app, visit their local park, and take photos and notes of observations. While the focus is on native species, there is also an option to mark species as “cultivated.” To ensure your observations are part of our local effort, we ask that you also join the Seattle-Tacoma Metropolitan Area iNaturalist Project.

Not sure what that plant or insect is? No worries. Do your best to identify it and leave the rest to experts! Following the weekend event between April 30th and May 5th, experts will review, confirm, and/or update observations to ensure they are as accurate as possible. If you have a specialty, please get involved!

Looking to join Seattle Parks and Recreation for a City Nature Challenge event? Our educators are hosting two free events on Saturday, April 27th from 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. (Low Tide Beach Walk at Constellation Park) and Monday, April 29th from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Native Plant Forest Walk at Seward Park). Sign up online.

Or if you want to participate on your own and would like some tips, join our team for an informational webinar on April 23rd from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Advanced registration is required!

The City Nature Challenge is a collaboration of the Natural History Museum and the California Academy of Sciences, who started the initiative in 2016. Locally, the Woodland Park Zoo and the Point Defiance Zoo have led the effort. Download their flyer to share! Then get the iNaturalist app, sign up for our local Project, and mark the dates on your calendar. See you in the park, community scientist!