Photo credit: Erik Hedlin

Join the BiodiverCity Challenge!

If you’re near Edmonton and looking for a nature activity that’s both family- and social-distancing-friendly, why not take part in Edmonton’s first ever BiodiverCity Challenge this June 11–14?

The BiodiverCity Challenge is inspired by the City Nature Challenge, a global urban biodiversity “contest”, or bioblitz, where cities compete against one another to monitor biodiversity within their limits. It’s a collaborative effort: NatureLynx, the ABMI’s citizen science app, is teaming up with the City of Edmonton, Nature Alberta, Telus World of Science Edmonton, the Alberta Lepidopterists’ Guild, the Edmonton Nature Club, and the Edmonton Native Plant Society, to make it all happen.

Jordan Bell, the ABMI’s Citizen Science Coordinator, is excited for the opportunity to host a large, community-driven effort. “We’re lucky to have the Edmonton river valley and other natural areas throughout our city”, he says. He’s hoping that, in a time when communities may feel disconnected, the event will help Edmontonians connect virtually, have fun outside, and work toward a common goal. First and foremost, he says, “It’s a family friendly activity to safely enjoy the outdoors while still respecting current public health recommendations”.

But the BiodiverCity Challenge is also about supporting research and building our understanding of Edmonton’s amazing biodiversity. “The BiodiverCity Challenge will be a chance for Edmontonians to share their observations, learn from species experts, and contribute to a city-wide biodiversity inventory”, says Jordan. This is why the event is taking place June 11–14, later than other City Nature Challenges: “We wanted to host the event during a time that would best represent our northern city’s biodiversity”, Jordan explains. “Hosting the event in June [rather than April, like similar events elsewhere] will allow for a more comprehensive species inventory. We wanted to ensure that data collected through the initiative would be able to support research, municipal/provincial monitoring efforts, and so on”.

Visit the BiodiverCity Challenge website to find out more and get involved. If you’re in Edmonton, we hope you’ll join us! And if you’re not in the YEG area, we hope to make the event a made-in-Alberta tradition and expand to other cities in future, so we’ll see you then.