Home to one of Canada’s biodiversity hotspots, the capital region is bursting with an incredible diversity of plants and wildlife, from urban streams and dynamic shorelines to towering evergreens and Garry oak meadows blooming with native wildflowers.
These habitats are home to pollinating insects, migrating birds, salmon and other wildlife – a tapestry of flora and fauna that supports clean air and water, food security, recreational and cultural opportunities.
Essential to the high quality of life we enjoy in the region, this biodiversity offers us ample opportunity to boost mental health and well-being as we get outside and observe the natural world surrounding us. Beyond our immediate experience, by learning about biodiversity, we better understand how to protect nature for future generations.
From April 29 to May 2, the Capital Regional District and partners are hosting the Greater Victoria arm of the global City Nature Challenge – an opportunity to join a large community of local nature buffs who are helping to inventory and celebrate the capital region’s amazing flora and fauna.
Citizens from over 400 cities around the world are participating in this international bioblitz to celebrate urban nature. Help showcase Greater Victoria’s amazing biodiversity to the rest of the world. Even better? You can win some incredible prizes while you’re at it!
Simple to participate, the City Nature Challenge offers participants the chance to hunt for wild plants, animals and fungi within the capital region and record them using the iNaturalist app.
Looking for iNaturalist support or hoping to participate in a family friendly activity as part of the City Nature Challenge? A number of free events are available across the capital region between April 29 to May 2:
- April 30: City Nature Challenge drop-in event at Elk-Beaver Lake
- April 30: Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary iNaturalist event
- May 1: Beginner Birding Basics: Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park
- May 1: Friends of Uplands Park Camas Day Celebration
Here’s how to join the challenge:
- Create an account using the free iNaturalist app (AppStore or Google Play) or website iNaturalist.org
- Head online to join the Greater Victoria City Nature Challenge project for a chance to win prizes and receive project updates
- Join the hunt! Search for local nature in your backyard, neighbourhood, or favourite park or beach between April 29 and May 2. Observations of wild native plants, animals, fungi, insects, tracks, or even scat are all welcome.
- Use a digital camera or smart phone to capture your sightings, and upload to iNaturalist
- Identify your findings as best you can and have people from the iNaturalist community help confirm your identifications
By joining the CRD’s Greater Victoria City Nature Challenge project, you’ll have the chance to win one of three prizes, including a smartphone macro lens to take close-up photos of tiny creatures.
Learn more at www.crd.bc.ca/biodiversity.