This weekend it’s the City Nature Challenge, a global event encouraging everyone to become a citizen scientist by discovering and recording wildlife.

As you may have gathered from my previous posts about Forest Bathing and going on a Bird Walk, I love spending time in nature and so it won’t surprise you to hear that I am fully in favour of any initiatives that encourage people to spend more time connecting with nature. Similar to the Big Garden Birdwatch, the City Nature Challenge is a fun & easy way to make those connections and it’s great to know that you’re a part of an international science event.

It's easy to take part as all you need to do is get outdoors and take photos, which for a lot of us is exactly what we would have been doing anyway. As you’re out and about each time you spot a pretty flower, an interesting plant or an animal take a snap, upload the image and location to the iNaturalist app and that’s it. You are now a scientist! Well, a citizen scientist, but that’s still helpful.

Close-up photo of Wild Garlic

While you can take part by making observations at any outdoor spot you may also want to use this as an opportunity to explore somewhere new. This weekend I visited Stanmer Park and if you follow the 5-mile Woodland Trail, you’ll see lots of beautiful bluebells. Although the other advantage of taking part in the Challenge is that in addition to recording wildlife you can already name, such as bluebells, you can also ask other iNaturalist users to help you identify what’s in your image. This would definitely have been useful this weekend as while we easily recognised bluebells there were plenty of other times, we ended up saying: “Oo that’s a pretty little flower” or “look at that cute fuzzy bee” – well if we went back this weekend, we could upload a photo and ask people to name that little flower.

Close-up photo of Forget-me-nots

Of course, Stanmer Park isn’t the only place to take part, take a stroll along the prom and we can guarantee you’ll see plenty of gulls but perhaps you’ll also spot Sea Kale? The Royal Pavilion Gardens, Preston Park and Valley Gardens are all great spots for observing wildlife in the city centre alternatively hop on a bus to visit either Devil’s Dyke or Ditchling Beacon.     

You can find more practical information, including how to use the app and which areas are included within The Brighton & Eastern Downs region, on The Living Coast website. Also if you like the idea of taking part in the challenge but are not sure where to start or simply want someone to go with then you can register for the free City Nature Challenge Walk in lovely Lewes.  

Photo of a bee on a flower

How ever you decide to take part I’m sure you’ll feel the benefits of spending time with nature, and you may even make an exciting discovery.


All photos taken by Charlotte in Brighton & Sussex




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