Nature lovers in Bath and Bristol are being asked to join a race to discover and record as much wildlife as possible as part of a new international competition. The epic four-day City Nature Challenge runs from 27-30 April and will see the region compete with 64 cities on five different continents including Plymouth and London in the UK.
Residents in the Bath and Bristol city region are needed to become nature detectives and showcase as much of the area’s flora and fauna as they can find. There are two prizes up for grabs; one for the greatest number of species found and the other for the largest number of nature observations.
Savita Willmott, director of the Bristol Natural History Consortium, said, “We know how passionate people in this area are about wildlife and the environment and we want them to help us win this competition and show just how important the natural world is to our lives.
“We think this challenge will help show people just how much wildlife there is in our cities – from our gardens and parks to some of the more hidden urban areas – that we can be proud of and need to protect and nurture. It promises to be enormous fun but there’s a serious reason to get involved too as all the nature recorded will help us understand what actions we need to take to conserve the wildlife we find.”
There are plenty of ways residents and businesses can get involved including free events, volunteering or learning more on an expert expedition. Nature detectives are needed to explore the ‘forgotten areas’ of the region under the guidance of a specialist survey team or search for the ‘most wanted’ species to help map the nature in the West of England.
Families can embark on a wildlife spotting spree in the garden, local park or one of the region’s spectacular walking trails to snap photos of creatures and record findings on the iNaturalist app. From bugs and birds to amphibians and fungi, the free app will identify the species and add the wildlife to the international tally.
Wildlife enthusiasts can get even more hands on and join the region’s Survey Team. The team will be tasked with the challenge to gather most of the species data and showcase Bristol’s and Bath’s critters. For more information on how to join the team please visit www.bnhc.org.uk/festival-of-nature/survey-team/
It is hoped that school children across the area will also take up the challenge and a special schools pack is being released next week to encourage them to take part.
Residents can find out more information and collect free resources by dropping into We The Curious in Bristol or Bath Central Library over the weekend.
All data collected through the app will contribute to local, national and international decisions about conservation, parks and wildlife management.
You can follow the City Nature Challenge on twitter at @FestofNature, on Facebook at @festofnature and on Instagram at @festofnature