Come April 2019, people from more than 100 cities around the world will be engaged in a global competition to log the highest number of species observations around their homes, schools, and surrounding areas. The competition makes use of the citizen science iNaturalist application which anyone can download on their smartphones. The international City Nature Challenge has become a great platform to raise awareness of the biodiversity all around us and to cultivate sensitivity towards the need to keep this planet habitable for all life forms. The Habitat Penang Hill and The Habitat Foundation are proud to be the lead organizers for the Penang Island challenge and we hope to enlist the competitive spirit of all Penang Islanders to showcase the amazing diversity of life on our small but significant island!
The Penang Island CNC 2019 is also being supported by Penang Hill Corporation, Friends of Penang Botanical Gardens Society, Malaysian Primatological Society, Malaysian Nature Society, Penang Forestry Department, Penang Education Department, Night Spotting Project, Nature Classroom and Nature Walks Penang Hill.
Background to the City Nature Challenge
The City Nature Challenge was first organized in the United States by the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and California Academy of Sciences in 2016. It was an inter-city competition between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The following year it went nationwide with tremendous success, and by 2018 the City Nature Challenge had grown into an international event involving 63 countries.
In this global celebration of urban biodiversity, participants searched for and document plants and wildlife in a bio blitz-style competition. Cities compete against each other to see which can make the most nature observations, document the most species, and engage the most people. Learning about the biodiversity living within cities has proven to be a great way to build awareness of urban flora and fauna and engage the public in ensuring its protection.
What to expect from City Nature Challenge 2019
For CNC 2019, more than a hundred cities around the world are expected to compete against each other for the highest number of observations and the highest number of species recorded by participants. This is the first year Penang Island is taking part. CNC 2019 will run from 26-29 April 2019 and will feature many supporting events held at multiple locations with the assistance of our event partners.
The Penang Island City Nature Challenge 2019 held in April is open to the general public. For this year’s challenge, participants will be making observations of flora and fauna which could include all kinds of insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, among others. Cash prizes of RM1000, RM700 and RM500 are up for grabs for the top three participants with the most observations on iNaturalist. Winners also stand to receive attractive Habitat merchandise.
The Penang Island Intersecondary School City Nature Challenge, February 2019
To make things more exciting, this year, to engage students in the quest for urban biodiversity, we will be holding the Penang Intersecondary School City Nature Challenge on 23 February 2019. On this day, students from Penang island schools will be vying for four all-expense paid trips to Hong Kong to participate in the Hong Kong City Nature Challenge from 26 to 29 April 2019!
Students interested in participating need only sign up online here. One of our team will be in touch with more details on the challenge. There will be many concurrent events on 23rd February organized with the event organizers and supporters. Be sure to visit this page again for further updates!
How to get started
You can participate in your own backyard, in your local park, on a school or university field trip, or on a hike or excursion with nature enthusiasts—as long as it is within the Penang Island! First you need to download the iNaturalist app using your smartphone & register yourself. Next, join the Penang Island City Nature Challenge 2019 under “Projects”. Once you have done that, you can begin to make observations!
Take photos of animals (insects, birds, reptile, sea water animals and so on). Try your best to identify the name of the animals you photographed. Fill in any additional information you have, and then add the observation to the Penang Island City Nature Challenge 2019 projects and click done! And that is all there is to it! You can make as many observations as you can.
The logged observations and species identification will take places between April 20 and May 5 2019, after which the winners will be announced.