St. Catharines, Niagara Falls go head-to-head in the City Nature Challenge

Published April 6, 2023 at 2:05 pm

St. Catharines has sparked a friendly competition with neighbouring municipality Niagara Falls to encourage resident participation in this year’s City Nature Challenge – and they have accepted.

iNaturalist issues a challenge every year asking communities to take part in an intense weekend of biological surveying, joining citizens from across the globe to help catalogue native plants and animals found in their cities in the four-day bio blitz. This year’s challenge is happening over the weekend of April 28 to May 1.

“This year we are asking St. Catharines residents to download the iNaturalist app and use it to log as many photos of plants and animals as they can to develop iNaturalist’s database and also help us win our friendly race with Niagara Falls,” said Mayor Mat Siscoe.

“The City Nature Challenge is a fun way to connect with nature by becoming citizen scientists for the day. Have fun and help us win!”

Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati says his residents are up for the challenge.

“We are all ready to get outdoors and explore after a long winter. What better opportunity than to participate in the City Nature Challenge and show off all of our forms of life, plants, animals, insects and more,” says Diodati.

“Let’s get our phones out, and maybe a magnifying glass, if we want to get super-scientific about it, and find all the species we can!”

The challenge is an opportunity for residents to enjoy nature while making important discoveries that will help scientists better understand and protect nature. Participants will record and submit as many species as possible within the city boundaries followed by a week of identifying what was found using the free iNaturalist app.

“Species can include almost anything – living, dead or otherwise – as long as it provides evidence of life,” says Kaylea Cassano, community strategy and policy coordinator for St. Catharines. “Photos of plants, animals, fungi, slime moulds, scat, fur, tracks, shells, and even carcasses can be submitted.”

Challenge results will be announced on May 8.

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