A competition that celebrates biodiversity in the city

Arts & Culture Editorial Lifestyle

From April 26 to 29, the Urban Naturalist Challenge, a global competition on urban biodiversity, will be held for the first time in Panama.

There are 150 cities spread over five continents. And our city of Panama could not miss. It is the Urban Naturalist Challenge that we are part of for the first time. There are four days, between April 26 and 29, in which any citizen can become an observer and documenter of the rich wildlife that is intertwined day by day with the din and dizziness of human activities. It is an international competition whose objective is to document, through quality photos, the animal and plant species that can be discovered within urban spaces.

The city of Panama is a privileged space for the extraordinary natural presence that coexists with the spaces and people that inhabit the city. The parks, streets and even the most unexpected places are the living space for many species that have been there before the human presence appeared, and others that came later and adapted with tenacity and cunning.

The Urban Naturalist Challenge seeks to promote citizen science among individuals with curiosity about the biodiversity we share; as well as the institutions and environmental groups, the community and pedagogical centers, the companies and anyone with enough curiosity and affection for the life that surrounds us. At the local level, the organization of the activity is carried out by Audubon Panama, the Biomuseo, the Metropolitan Natural Park, the Summit Municipal Park and the Municipality of Panama. Worldwide, it has the support of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the California Academy of Sciences.

The challenge works in this way: the triumph will obtain the city that gets the largest number of participants, observations and species of any type of living organism in its natural environment, between the dates set by the organizers. To participate and register urban biodiversity it is necessary to use the iNaturalist mobile application.

It is suggested to take identifiable and good quality photos of plants, wild animals, mushrooms and others, to upload them to your iNaturalist account within the days of the challenge, making sure to incorporate your observations in the project "Urban Naturalist Challenge 2019: Panama City " It is also suggested to take multiple photos of each species documented, because often a single image is not enough to fully recognize the registered species. In the case of documenting species registered in gardens, these should be defined as "captives or cultivated".

We are facing a search that exalts scientific curiosity, love for nature and the ability to interact harmoniously with the living beings that surround us. The progress of the four days of enthusiastic and fun search of wild species can be followed online through the website www.citynaturechallenge.org; and the results, both national and global, will be announced on May 6. The Urban Natural Challenge 2019 or City Nature Challenge 2019, will also be a rich opportunity to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the founding of Panama City and show the world the explosive biodiversity that coexists with us in the urban environment.

Being part of the Urban Naturalist Challenge is a genuine tribute to the vibrant and powerful presence of nature within our city, and at the same time a much-needed reflection on the importance of a more positive, respectful and healthy coexistence among all living beings of our city