Between Friday 30 April and Monday 3 May, nature enthusiasts from across Nottingham took part in the City Nature Challenge, an annual event documenting nature and helping residents and professionals alike to better understand urban biodiversity.
Wildlife observers from across Nottingham took part in Nottingham’s entry into the challenge, which was organised by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust City Local Group and Ignite!, with support from Heritage Lottery Fund, Nottingham City Council and the National Biodiversity Network Trust. Nature spotters took to their back gardens, parks, allotments and local nature reserves to use the mobile app iNaturalist to record the urban wildlife that is usually overlooked.
Over the weekend 2828 observations were made in Nottingham, including 744 different species, narrowly beating the city’s 2020 record. Out of the 14 areas across the UK that took part, Birmingham topped the table for the number of observations and species and Bristol and Bath had the most number of observers.
The most common recordings were of ladybirds, white deadnettle and herb robert, regularly spotted at this time of year. Ignite! supported 15 local primary schools to take part, providing them with environmental science kits and running a Q&A session between pupils and staff and students from Nottingham Trent University’s Wildlife Conservation course. The year 6 class from Dovecote Primary School in Clifton recorded over 120 observations and the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust youth group Keeping It Wild recorded over 50 observations.
Martin Willis from the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust said, “We’re really pleased once again with Nottingham’s response to the City Nature Challenge. Whilst the weather may have been against us over the bank holiday weekend, records were uploaded from all over the city, with photographs of birds, plants, fungi, insects and mammals, celebrating the rich biodiversity of our city”.
Megan Shore from Ignite! said “It’s been brilliant to be able to work with schools again this year after our plans for last year’s event were cancelled due to the lockdown in April 2020. City Nature Challenge is all about discovering urban wildlife, and pupils were able to discover the nature that surrounds their schools, in their playgrounds and on their school fields’.
The City Nature Challenge originally began as a competition between San Francisco and Los Angeles in 2016, and has now grown into an international competition with 422 cities taking part. Whilst the majority of public events were not able to go ahead due to the coronavirus pandemic, over 50,000 people still look part worldwide, recording over 1.2 million observations and over 45,000 species. The recordings made as part of the City Nature Challenge will enable researchers to better understand changes in biodiversity.