Ashy Mining Bee by Charlotte Varela

Nature-lovers across Lancashire, Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region are being invited to participate in a global citizen science project, the City Nature Challenge, by submitting wildlife observations from each region.

City Nature Challenge is organised on a global scale by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences. Between Friday 30th April and Monday 3rd May, wildlife and science fans of all ages and abilities will be called on to observe and submit observations of nature using the free wildlife recording mobile app iNaturalist. 

Whether it’s flocks of birds flying overhead, trees lining our streets, flowers in our gardens or even spiders in our homes, nature can be found all around us, and by recording and sharing wildlife sightings, people can make a difference to wildlife in Lancashire. Wildlife records are an important resource for conservation organisations and charities, helping to build up a better picture of how particular areas or species are faring and how they might be responding to habitat losses or improvements, and climate change. 

Rachel Cripps, Conservation Officer at Lancashire Wildlife Trust, says: “Wildlife sightings are used to promote and protect important natural places, and aid conservation and scientific research. With more people developing an appreciation for nature and greenspaces over the past year, the City Nature Challenge is the perfect opportunity for amateurs and experts to get involved in wildlife recording. By taking part, not only will people discover amazing plants, animals and fungi that live alongside us, their wildlife sightings will help us better understand and study the natural world.”

Participating is easy. People can join in the Challenge between Friday 30th April and Monday 3rd May by photographing wildlife in their homes, neighbourhoods, gardens, parks or anywhere else in Lancashire. Photos can be of any wild plant, animal, fungus or any other evidence of life, such as scat, fur, feathers, tracks, shells or carcasses. The images then need to be uploaded onto the iNaturalist app, along with the date and location of the sighting. You don’t even have to know anything about the species you are observing, as iNaturalist uses photo-recognition to suggest what it could be. Teams of experts will also be reviewing and updating the information that’s submitted, so you can log back in later and learn more about what you’ve spotted. INaturalist can be downloaded through the Apple store, Google Play or www.inaturalist.org.

Lancashire Wildlife Trust and the Lancashire Environment Record Network (LERN) are leading the Challenge in Lancashire, with support from other environmental organisations and local friends of groups. This will be the second time that Lancashire has taken part in the Challenge. Last year, 16,067 observations of 1,609 species were recorded by 546 people across all three regions, with Lancashire recording 1,047 individual species – the highest of the three regions. 90 of these were important Lancashire Key Species, and local organisers hope to beat these numbers this year.

The Lancashire Wildlife Trust will be posting tips for finding wildlife on social media over the weekend, and will be getting people ready for the Challenge with an online event on Wednesday 21st April between 6pm-7pm, explaining how to use iNaturalist and discussing notable discoveries from previous years. All observations submitted will then be identified by members of the iNaturalist online community from Tuesday 4th May to Sunday 9th May. Final results will be announced on Monday, 10th May.

To find out more about the City Nature Challenge and self-led events, visit: https://www.lancswt.org.uk/events/city-nature-challenge. If you are looking for inspiration where to record wildlife, our nature reserves are perfect locations, home to a variety of species. To discover a reserve near you, visit our reserves page: https://www.lancswt.org.uk/visit.

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