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Sixth Annual Texas City Nature Challenge Encourages Citizen Scientists to Record Nature Observations

Media Contact: TPWD News Business Hours, 512-389-8030

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AUSTIN – Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), through the Texas Nature Trackers program, is inviting Texans to participate in the sixth annual City Nature Challenge, Friday, April 30 through Monday, May 3. This global community-based scientific effort, co-organized by San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, invites current and aspiring citizen scientists of all ages and backgrounds to observe and submit pictures of wild plants, animals and fungi using the free mobile app iNaturalist.

The 2021 City Nature Challenge will be a friendly competition between the 13 Texas metropolitan areas.  While group events will be limited or not done, participants are encouraged to embrace the collaborative aspect of sharing observations online with a digital community, and celebrate the healing power of nature safely as they document their local biodiversity to the best of their ability within public safety parameters. Participants are asked to continue to practice social distancing and are encouraged to wear a mask when in groups.

For the past four years, TPWD, through the Texas Nature Trackers program, has promoted Texans participation in the City Nature Challenge. In 2020 nearly 4,700 participants contributed over 101,000 observations across 45 counties of over 6,400 species. A record number of 14 project areas representing 78 counties across Texas are hosting the City Nature Challenge including: Abilene, Amarillo, Austin, Bryan-College Station, Corpus Christi, Dallas-Fort Worth, El Paso, Houston-Galveston, Lower Rio Grande Valley, Lubbock, Mustang Island, San Antonio, Wichita Falls and Waco.

Even if you do not live in one of these areas, you can still participate. Join the City Nature Challenge 2021 Global Project to enter your observations. Texans are invited to explore nature in their immediate surroundings: outside their front doors, in their yard, or anywhere nature is found which they can safely and responsibly explore.

Texas Nature Trackers is encouraging people to use the hashtag #CityNatureChallenge on social media or as a tag in iNaturalist to share how they are engaging in this year’s event.

Visit the Texas City Nature Challenge page on the TPWD website to find links to the Texas projects, and learn more about the global project at the City Nature Challenge website. Those interested in participating can also contact Craig Hensley and Tania Homayoun with the Texas Nature Trackers program at tracker@tpwd.texas.gov with any questions.