Get some fresh air and contribute to science!

Spring has sprung in Colorado, and while we are staying close to home these days, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the healing power of nature. 

The City Nature Challenge, a global initiative, is happening this weekend, and you can get involved.

"Join over 100 cities across the world for the City Nature Challenge! April 24 through April 27, take photos with your phone and identify plants and animals using the free iNaturalist app. Any nature counts, whether it’s at a local park or in your very own backyard," says Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) on its Facebook page.

According to the CPW, the City Nature Challenge 2020 is an international effort to find and document plants and wildlife across the globe. You are encouraged to get outside in whatever way is safe during this time (social distancing rules apply) and document the plants and animals in your areas. The City Nature Challenge is organized by the California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Of course, during the time of coronavirus, citizen scientists are encouraged to participate in the safest way you can. You can even take pictures of plants and animals from your own back yard, if that is where you are most comfortable. 

You will want to download the free iNaturalist app before you start taking pictures with your phone. Scientists then use this data to measure and make important decisions about nature in a variety of areas.

"In just under four years, the app has documented more than 91,000 observations of nature in Colorado’s 41 state parks. The new technology is helping CPW biologists track the wildlife resources, and in some cases, even contributing toward furthering important research," says the CPW

Check out the CPW City Nature Challenge page for more information about the contest, boundaries in state parks, and ways you can earn points during the challenge (including identifying species after the picture portion of the competition is over).

Will you participate in the competition? Let us know in the comments!