Zoo Knoxville and the Tennessee Butterfly Monitoring Network (TBMN) will once again host the City Nature Challenge in Knox County. Plus, in 2021, the challenge has expanded to the area so more people can participate. There is no age requirement for participation, and it is a great opportunity to encourage young citizen scientists.
What: Cities all over the world will collaborate to observe as much wildlife as possible. Record observations of wild plants, animals, fungi and more to see how much nature can be found across the planet while learning who lives nearby.
Where and When: Anywhere in Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier and Union counties. Dates are April 30 – May 3.
Who: Everyone is welcome to record their observations. No experience is needed.
How: Download the iNaturalist app to a smartphone via Google Play or App Store, create an account and then start taking pictures using the app. Pictures can be taken with a digital camera and uploaded to the iNaturalist website. Observations can become research quality data that helps scientists learn more about nature.
Get updates: Visit the City Nature Challenge 2021: Knox Area project page for more information. With a free iNaturalist account, participants can join the project to receive updates about news and events happening before, during and after the challenge.
TBMN is a citizen science program of Zoo Knoxville to monitor butterfly population trends on managed lands across Tennessee. We strive to connect butterfly enthusiasts with public lands, help land owners manage their properties for the benefit of pollinators and inspire the public to enjoy and protect butterflies and other pollinators.
Trained volunteers adopt a one- to two-mile route that they monitor at least once every two weeks from mid-April to the end of July, identifying every butterfly they see to the best of their ability. To learn more about volunteering, email Steve McGaffin at email@example.com.
Tina Rolen is director of marketing and communications at Zoo Knoxville.