LINCOLN, Neb. – Contributors to Lincoln’s 2020 City Nature Challenge entered 1,675 observations of wildlife and plants, of which 508 individual species were identified, in the iNaturalist project over four days this spring.
Lincoln and Lancaster County, for the first time, joined 243 other cities for the City Nature Challenge, a global event to observe and record all signs of nature and wildlife.
Lincoln’s City Nature Challenge recorded several species that are considered at-risk in the state, according to the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project. These species included savannah sparrow, marsh wren, pied-billed grebe, eastern meadowlark, American avocet, Blanchard’s cricket frog, and common five-lined skink.
Observations in iNaturalist that receive multiple positive identifications may be considered research grade. Of the 1,675 observations from Lancaster County, 34.8% of them were of high enough quality to be considered research grade for the project.
Globally, more than 41,000 people made 815,258 observations of over 32,600 species. Approximately 1,300 of the species were considered rare to find.
In response to the COVID-19 health crisis, participants completed the challenge online this year. The City Nature Challenge became a way to connect and engage others with nature while practicing safe distancing. Many of the observations were made from windows, yards, local parks, and other natural areas.
Photos and results from the 2020 Lincoln City Nature Challenge are available online at inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2020-lincoln-ne.
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences developed the worldwide program in 2016.
Partners in the City Nature Challenge in Lincoln included Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Lincoln Parks and Recreation, Lincoln Community Learning Centers, Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center, Friends of Wilderness Park, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Prairie Pines, Citizen Scientists of Nebraska, University of Nebraska State Museum – Morrill Hall, Nebraska Forest Service, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever of Nebraska, and Lincoln Earth Day.