Finding diversity in northwest Ohio this weekend

Do you know what’s growing in your backyard? Metroparks Toledo is challenging you to get out and find out this weekend!
Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 3:50 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Metroparks Toledo is calling on everyone in Lucas County to get outside and document what plants and wildlife are living in your backyard. It’s called the “City Nature Challenge.”

You don’t have to be in the Metroparks to participate but the information you submit could help future planning in the parks.

It started in 2016 as a rivalry between two science institutions in California: the San Francisco California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.

Meredith Busic is a Volunteer Coordinator with Metroparks Toledo.

“It was a friendly competition of ‘we have more biodiversity than you do,’” Busic said.

Now, the City Nature Challenge involves more than 400 cities across multiple continents, including Toledo.

“This is a challenge that you don’t have to be in a park to do,” Busic said. “We’re encouraging people to go out into the neighborhoods, to walk around and just listen and see and just find what you can find.”

The goal is to find the diversity of our plants and wildlife here in the Toledo area.

“You have to know what’s there to know what to protect,” she explains. “It also gives us a good idea of how we’re doing. How we as a county are supporting our wildlife because it is very important that we have biodiversity because it helps keep our air and our water and our land clean. "

And when Metroparks Toledo finds room for improvement, they can plan future projects.

“It gives us a good idea of what is thriving and what isn’t thriving. It also helps us do things like map invasive species, 01 or other harmful things like algae or insects,” Busic tells 13abc.

The challenge ends Monday, May 2nd.

“So, this challenge encourages you to go out, find something you don’t know, take a picture, and submit it on to the iNaturalist app.”

You don’t have to know what you find but your pictures need to be as clear as possible.

“It is important that you take a good photo to help identify what it is,” Busic said. “Like if you just take a picture of a branch, someone who’s trying to identify it may not know what you’re looking at so if it’s something that has flowers, take a picture of the flower. Or if it’s something with leaves, take a good picture of the leaves. Make sure it’s focused and nice and centered.”

If you’re interested in taking part in the challenge, you can download the iNaturalist app through your app store, or visit the website.

How to use the iNaturalist app:

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