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San Diego Natural History Museum Promotes Nature Challenge

Balboa Park Desert Garden taken on April 17th 2019.

Photo by Ebone Monet

Above: Balboa Park Desert Garden taken on April 17th 2019.

Calling all nature enthusiasts! Friday marks the start of the City Nature Challenge.

It is an international competition to record observations of wildlife, including plants. Last year, the San Diego region placed in the top three for the number of species observed, number of participants, and number of observations. Ahead of the competition, KPBS Evening Edition anchor Ebone Monet spoke to the NATs herpetology curator Brad Hollingsworth.

Q: What types of items should people document?

A: Wild plants and animals. Everything counts as long as it's not something planted in your yard or something like a pet or something captive like a horse in a corral. Well anything wild, so plants, that's easy. I mean, everybody can walk up to a plant and take its picture. The problem is there are so many plants and the people that identify plants will be processing 10,000 or more pictures of plants. The animals I like are the mammals and the reptiles and the birds. They're a little harder to get a picture of, but if we do, even better.

Q: What did we learn from San Diego's participation in last year's competition?

A: San Diego came in third in the global competition and it was an absolute blast. It's for everybody if you want to get out on the nature trails with your family, or just yourself or if you want to just stay home and document what comes to your bird feeder. All of that's part of the competition. We want everybody out, taking pictures of animals and plants.

Q: Here in San Diego, is there any indication of a negative climate change on our wildlife?

A: Well, the great thing about this competition is that it's going to provide a baseline data set for scientists like myself to analyze. So when we're looking at this data, we need a whole bunch of data to track those types of trends.

The City Nature Challenge ends Monday, April 29 at 11:59 p.m.

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