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Families from across Bath and Bristol are being encouraged to take part in a special event this weekend to discover nature on their doorstep and record wildlife sightings.

The City Nature Challenge takes place over four days between 26-29 April. Bath has joined Bristol to compete with more than 160 cities across the world and defend the region’s title of the most observations recorded in Europe.

Staff and volunteers from Bathscape will be taking part in the Challenge – Bathscape is the National Lottery Heritage Fund supported project aimed at reconnecting people with the natural landscape surrounding Bath.

Lucy Bartlett, Bathscape Community Projects officer, said, “For hundreds of years people have monitored and recorded nature in the UK, helping to create huge databanks of information. However, conservationists, researchers, planners and policy makers in the West of England need more complete, up- to-date information to make better informed decisions to protect local wildlife and ecosystems.

“By taking part in the City Nature Challenge, residents can help to fill in the gaps in our knowledge about the wildlife on our doorsteps. Anyone can get involved and you don’t need to be a wildlife expert; you can search your garden, street, local park, school grounds or carry out your observations and you stroll along footpaths in our wonderful countryside.”

To take part in City Nature Challenge, simply download the free iNaturalist app by visiting www.inaturalist.org/ and start uploading photos of all the wild plants, animals and fungi you find.

To count towards the challenge, photos must be taken between 26-29 April from within the four local authority boundaries that make up the West of England (Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset) plus WWT Slimbridge Wetlands Centre.

The app features photo recognition to help people identify what they are looking at, as well as inviting them to join an online community of fellow wildlife enthusiasts to sense check each identification. Identification of any unknown photographed species will be crowd-sourced through the online community between April 30 – May 5 and results will be announced on May 6.

Amazing spaces across the region will be opening their doors over the weekend, and inviting groups, families and individuals to take part in City Nature Challenge. There will be a mix of free and ticketed, public and private events across the City Nature Challenge long weekend including a Bat Walk at Moorlands Park in Bath, a bug hunt on the Bath Two Tunnels path at Combe Down and a wildlife spotting bike ride on the Bristol and Bath cycle path. For more information and to book your place visit www.bnhc.org.uk/festival-of-nature-type/city-nature-challenge

The winning cities will be announced on Monday 6 May.