My Personal Experience of the City Nature Challenge

Congratulations to the 803 New Yorkers who participated in the 2021 City Nature Challenge! Team NYC is in the top 95 percent world wide for observations and observers. We have a week to upload any remaining nature sightings and put names on everything. I have some bird recordings to upload and I’m going to scan through the rejects from the last four days for any that are identifiable. Results will be announced May 10.

The CNC has become the highlight of my year. For four days I’m totally immersed in nature. It’s like camping right here in the City or a retreat in the Catskills. From sunup to sundown I’m outside with the plants and animals, listening to bird song and reveling in our spectacular park landscapes. There are no scandals, no horrific tragedies, just the rhythm of life unfolding as it should.

Mother nature is in charge. Rain or shine, hot or cold, everyone is provided for and there are no favorites. I eat nuts and seeds like a bird (no insects!) and drink rainwater thanks to our amazing aqueduct system. Like the Turkey Vultures floating above, I’m always moving, always looking for something interesting. I go to sleep good-kind-of tired and wake up invigorated and excited by the day ahead, outside somewhere in the 300 square miles of New York City. My six senses are stimulated simultaneously, but not in a contrived way meant to inflame my emotions or put me to sleep. A whole years-worth of fat accumulation melts away, right where it counts. My mind is active too. “Did I already get that species of Hawkweed?”, “Was that Pelham Bay or High Rock Park where I saw the Swamp Loosestrife?” “I can’t forget to add a note that the Woodpecker was in the Shagbark Hickory, south of the trail leading to the meadow.”

It’s nature therapy for the mind, body and spirit. The Japanese call it Shinrin-yoku. Forty percent of New York City is open space and we are blessed with a diversity of forests, wetlands and seashore. Spending time in the fresh, nature-infused air lowers blood pressure, boosts the immune system, slows heart rate and calms the mind. After four days, I am reset physically, mentally and spiritually and the benefits last a whole year.

I’m grateful to iNaturalist, the California Academy of Science and the Natural History Museum Los Angeles County for organizing the City Nature Challenge, bringing Nature lovers around the world together to celebrate life on Earth. And we should all thank the New York City Parks Department for their great work protecting nature in New York City.

The May EcoQuest challenge is VERIFY VERONICA. If you find the Pink Ivy-Leaved Speedwell (pictured below) anywhere in New York this month, your observation will be cited in the publication.

Register here for the May 17 presentation by Dirk Albach The Genus Veronica (Speedwells) - In 15 Million Years to New York








Posted by danielatha danielatha, May 04, 2021 14:34

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