City Nature Challenge aims to get people outdoors and learning - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

City Nature Challenge aims to get people outdoors and learning

Using the iNaturalist app to document plants; Source: KFDA Using the iNaturalist app to document plants; Source: KFDA
The iNaturalist app after being downloaded on to a smart phone; Source: KFDA The iNaturalist app after being downloaded on to a smart phone; Source: KFDA
A duck captured in the Panhandle community; Source: KFDA A duck captured in the Panhandle community; Source: KFDA
A picture of a cow captured in the Panhandle; Source; KFDA A picture of a cow captured in the Panhandle; Source; KFDA
AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) -

A new app-based challenge is having the local community help researchers find more points of scientific data.

Researchers can sometimes have trouble locating certain animals and plant species out in the field.

The City Nature Challenge is looking to help change that on a global scale.

"It's a competition between cities all over the world," said Wildlife Biologist for Texas Parks & Wildlife James Hoskins. "65 cities, five continents, [and] seven cities in Texas."

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To take part, first go outside and download the 'iNaturalist' app. To download the app, visit the app store on your smart phone.

Then, you snap a photo of what you see. Upload it to the app. If you know what it is, name it.

If you do not know the name, anyone who has the app and the knowledge about what the species is can help fill in the blanks.

"You can pool everyone's resources together to identify animals, and plants and insects," said Hoskins. "If you don't know what it is but you saw it, somebody else can look at the pictures you took and uploaded and try and help identify that critter."

People from across the Panhandle community can chime in about what they think the animal, plant or insect could be.

If they don't know, the app can serve as a teaching tool.

"You know we're a pretty rural community, even being in Amarillo," said Hoskins. "[However,] there [are] a lot of kids in Amarillo that don't know what's going on around them as far as birds, and plants and insects."

It's not just the local community that benefits from this app - it's the whole state.

"The state of Texas uses this information to look at currents of species across the range and document the range of certain species," said Hoskins.

Even, the entire world.

"The app is also designed to document diversity across a huge landscape with minimal effort," said Hoskins. "That is because everyone can be involved in doing it. You don't have to be an expert to identify things or document stuff."

Don't limit yourself to one particular species. Instead, see how many you can get.

"You may be more interested in a certain kind of animal, like a snake or lizard, or plants," said Hoskins. "But I suggest you try to take a picture of everything you see."

The challenge can also motivate you to exercise with the incentive to learn.

"This would give you another avenue to learn while you're getting in shape and maybe give you a reason to be out there besides I just want to be in shape," said Hoskins. "I also want to learn what's going on around me."

There is no limit to the number of submissions you can have, and the more rare the animal, insect or plant the better.

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