Boston Area Biodiversity's News

January 13, 2020

Ready for the City Nature Challenge 2020?

The City Nature Challenge (CNC) is back! This year the CNC will have about 200 cities participating in this global effort to document urban biodiversity. The 2020 CNC: Boston Area will now include within the I-495 corridor, out to Stellwagen Bank, and include Cape Cod and islands. You can once again help boost Boston to the top of the leaderboard by making observations from April 24 - 27 and/or helping to identify observations from April 28 - May 3, 2020. Please join the 2020 project for more news and updates here. Join the 2020 iNaturalist project to keep up to date:

Thanks to your efforts in 2019, we recorded 20,443 observations of 1,480 species by 1,133 observers in the Boston Area! For 2020, we aim to increase participation, improve the quality of observations, and promote exploration of diverse habitats.

If you or your organization is interested in joining the 2020 CNC please join us on Monday, January 13th for a Welcome Webinar ( to learn more. We will meet using Zoom from 10:30 - 11:30 am. Our Welcome Webinar will provide an overview of the CNC and be an opportunity for new and returning organizations to ask questions, share feedback, and connect. We will also host a CNC Meet-up for participating organizations on the afternoon of Monday, February 10 at the Franklin Park Zoo - please save the date!

We look forward to another great City Nature Challenge!

On behalf of the Boston Area City Nature Challenge Steering Committee,

Aimee Bonanno, New England Aquarium and New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative
Colleen Hitchcock, Brandeis University
Eliza Forman and Cynthia Mead, Zoo New England
Peter Burn, Suffolk University
Pam DiBona, MassBays National Estuary Partnership
Stan Rullman and Mark Chandler, Earthwatch Institute
Rob Stevenson, University of Massachusetts Boston

Posted on January 13, 2020 01:16 by hitchco hitchco | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 20, 2019

Great Walden Bioblitz 2019!

Have you heard about the Great Walden Bioblitz! Register with them to learn more about how you can help on July 6 by documenting with iNaturalist. Check out their project page and website for more information.

Posted on June 20, 2019 10:47 by hitchco hitchco | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 12, 2018

Have you wondered about Seek? A Review of the Seek App

Seek by iNaturalist is a fun, safe way to engage kids and beginners in exploring local biodiversity with an interface half way between game and citizen science. Seek does not collect, use, or disclose personal information. Geo location is blurred so exact location of street name, even city is not identifiable. It also does not generate or share information with iNaturalist, but it does get information from iNaturalist. If you merely want to explore biodiversity nearby, it is a great way to learn about what you are seeing or what others have seen nearby.

To use the app, you simply take photos of the plants, animals, and fungi you encounter. When starting there is a friendly reminder to be safe while gathering your photos. To reward you and make it fun, there are many badges to earn. There is a series of badges for number of observations, and then badges for your first, fifth, and twenty-fifth observation of 9 different taxa. The app keeps count of what you’ve seen, how many species, and how many badges you have. The badges are the game part of it and encourage users to look for a variety of life.

The app uses the image recognition technology of iNaturalist. Once you take a picture, the app recognizes the species and adds it to your collection. A big drawback is that if the picture you take is not recognized, there is no way for you to enter it. Each species that is in your collection or that has been seen nearby will show up as a tile. Clicking on the tile will open more information on the species: common and scientific name, taxon, map, a graph of when sightings have been recorded, a blurb from wikipedia, and an observation count from iNaturalist. For example, I’ve shown here the Eastern Gray Squirrel information.


This app seems to be a way for iNaturalist to improve its image recognition capability and a way for novices and students to have fun learning about what else is living around them. It is currently only available on iOS devices, hopefully beta tests will soon be complete for Android.

Posted on December 12, 2018 20:29 by neosec neosec | 1 comments | Leave a comment