Diario del proyecto City Nature Challenge 2024: Hartford + New Haven counties

Archivos de diario de mayo 2024

04 de mayo de 2024

Reminder to upload any remaining pics and help with IDs

Happy Saturday everyone,

It's been great to see so many more observations coming in from the observation period of 4/26-29 - we are up to a whopping 937 species observed!! As a reminder, the official count will be taken at 9AM eastern time on Monday, 5/6 - so if you have more pictures to upload, make sure to do it before then.

Thanks to everyone who has helped with identification - as of noon today, 57.83% of our 3,201 observations are research-grade, which is great! We want to try to get that percentage up as much as possible before Monday, so please continue to weigh in on other people's observations.

There is an easy way to see which observations still need to be identified/confirmed: if you go to the City Nature Challenge Hartford/New Haven page and click on "Stats", you will see our dashboard (screenshot below):

On the left, you'll see a wheel depicting our observations. Green represents the percentage of our observations that are research grade, and yellow is those that still need IDs. If you click on the yellow portion, it will show you only those observations that need an ID. Take a look and see if there are any species you recognize!

One more tip - if one of your observations is still not research grade, you can tag other iNaturalist users who are familiar with that species and ask them to weigh in. Just type the species name into the search bar, and click the main page for that species. You will see something like this:

At the top right, you'll see the Top Observer listed. You can click "leaderboard" in green below their username, and you'll get a list of the people with the most observations of that species. In the comments on your observation, just use the @ symbol to tag them and ask them to weigh in. I usually tag the top several users listed on the leaderboard.

Let us know if you have any questions about identifying, or how to use filters to see only certain kinds of species - and thank you again all for your help and continued participation!

Enjoy the beautiful day,

-Sarah (@chiforager) + Chase (@hexagonaria)

Publicado el 04 de mayo de 2024 por chiforager chiforager | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

07 de mayo de 2024

Final counts and prizes!

As of 9:00 AM yesterday, the 2024 City Nature Challenge is officially complete! We can't thank everyone enough for your outstanding work and commitment to this project - as we have said before, we never thought we'd document nearly 1000 species on our first try. For the first-ever City Nature Challenge Hartford/New Haven, our stats are:

3,234 observations by 262 observers
952 species
311 identifiers

Comparing user data with the same weekend last year, our project clearly had an impact! The number of observations made in our geographic territory this year skyrocketed during the weekend of the City Nature Challenge - we are preparing some graphs to illustrate our project's impact, which we will share with you ASAP. I was happy to see that 8 of the top 10 most observed species in our project are native to our area:

Congratulations to @kellyfuerstenberg and @scmayo for placing first and second for the number of species observed, with 308 and 214 respectively! @ericpo1 and @codylimber topped the charts for number of identifications made, with 306 and 213 - thank you all so much for your contributions. I will get in touch with all of you via iNaturalist messages in the next day or two to get you your Wild Ones - Mountain Laurel Chapter memberships!

Perhaps most exciting is the fact that this April was a record-breaking month for iNaturalist!! In their April News Highlights post for the month, iNaturalist wrote:

"iNaturalist broke records this April thanks to an amazing City Nature Challenge. For the first time we logged more than 6 million observations and more than 400 thousand participants in a month!"

We can all be proud for playing our part of this record-setting month. We encourage you to read the April highlights from iNaturalist at https://www.inaturalist.org/blog/93798-inaturalist-april-news-highlights. There were some truly exciting observations made, including this Lagrecacanthops guyanensis mantis in French Guiana, the first living individual of its species ever photographed:

More insights from our project to come - for now, we will leave you with this infographic that City Nature Challenge put out, about international results (congratulations to La Paz, Bolivia for their impressive 5,352 species observed!)

Publicado el 07 de mayo de 2024 por chiforager chiforager | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

09 de mayo de 2024

A deeper dive into our CNC Hartford/New Haven data!

Congratulations to everyone who participated in central Connecticut’s first City Nature Challenge! We are so excited about the level of participation and quality of observations in Hartford and New Haven Counties' inaugural showing, and want to share some interesting insights from the data we all collected.

The stats tab of our project provides a great summary and overview of what was found. Additionally, iNaturalist allows users to export observation data, which gives us the opportunity for a deeper look at our project. Data was exported on Monday, May 6, and may change slightly should more observations from the April 26-29 period be uploaded.

Impact of the CNC on iNaturalist participation: 2024 vs. previous years

Across our two counties, there was a big increase in iNaturalist observations made during this year’s four-day CNC vs. the comparable four-day period in each of the past two years. In fact, there were 5.8 times more observations in our counties in 2024 vs. the CNC time period in 2023. You can see a breakdown of daily observations below:

Checking out this graph, it looks like Sundays are big days for observations, CNC or not!

It’s great to see that the diversity of these 2024 observations was also high - there were about 3.1 times more unique “species” values during the CNC this year than in the same time period in 2023, and 2.6x more than 2022. See the breakdown by day:

*Values may slightly differ vs. what is shared by iNaturalist stats. This analysis included all unique scientific names, even if not specified to the species level.

This year’s CNC period also saw a larger number of unique observers submitting observations each day compared to previous years. Some of this increase can likely be attributed to extra observation activity from existing users - that said, a number of people who followed our project page were brand new to the app, which means that our project succeeded in attracting some new iNaturalist users!

The data analyst in me must make the disclaimer that this is observational, rather than experimental data. We can't make confident claims about whether the CNC actually caused this increase in participation - but it’s more than plausible that our new project inspired a lot of additional participation this year. One hint is that, while participation also increased this year in some counties without a City Nature Challenge project, the increase was much smaller than what was observed in Hartford and New Haven Counties. In Litchfield county, for example, there were 500 observations made this year between April 26-29, vs. 421 in 2023, an increase of 18%. In contrast, across Hartford and New Haven Counties, we saw a whopping 478% increase.

It's also apparent from iNaturalist maps of the relevant weekends that Hartford and New Haven showed up in a bigger way this year:

Note that Fairfield County was the only Connecticut county with an established City Nature Challenge in 2023, and appears to have a higher concentration of 2023 observations with respect to the rest of the state - more evidence that the CNC is driving an increase in iNaturalist participation.

Observation hot spots

Within our counties, where were most observations taken? In many, but not all, cases, iNaturalist observation data gives us a clear indication of which town the observation was taken in. That data is mapped to Connecticut towns here:

Ignoring the 11% or so of observations for which a specific town couldn’t be determined (“NA” in this table), the top 5 sites of observation were Hamden, Madison, Guilford, Meriden, and New Haven – all towns in New Haven County. Interestingly, Hartford County towns took the next top 5 spots.

Rank Town count Percentage of total county
N/A (town couldn’t be determined) 356 11% ?
1 Hamden 295 9% New Haven
2 Madison 272 8% New Haven
3 Guilford 257 8% New Haven
4 Meriden 231 7% New Haven
5 New Haven 197 6% New Haven
6 Hartford 192 6% Hartford
7 Windsor 140 4% Hartford
8 Berlin 135 4% Hartford
9 West Hartford 135 4% Hartford
10 Granby 132 4% Hartford
11 New Britain 97 3% Hartford
12 Farmington 63 2% Hartford
13 Milford 62 2% New Haven
14 Burlington 59 2% Hartford
15 Simsbury 59 2% Hartford

Types of observation by county

iNaturalist groups user observations into some main “iconic taxa”: birds, mammals, plants, etc. This gives us the opportunity to see what forms of life were most observed in each county during the CNC. There are so many reasons why a particular organism would draw someone’s attention, that we can’t really draw conclusions about the populations of particular taxa in one county compared to another. However it is interesting to see this breakdown showing somewhat different rates of taxa observations in the different counties:

Plants were clearly the predominant type of observation in both counties. Hartford County had a higher proportion of insects and fungi, while New Haven County showed its shoreline side with more birds (Aves) and molluscs. It was interesting to see that the majority of mammals observed were in New Haven, too.

We think that the most well-supported takeaway is that the City Nature Challenge really does encourage more of us to tune into the nature around us, spend some time outside, and get a little more familiar with our non-human neighbors. Especially with the added knowledge that iNaturalist as a whole achieved record participation in April.

Considering that the only form of publicity we had for this event was emailing different nature groups, posting on iNaturalist, sharing info with Connecticut-based Facebook groups, and leaving fliers where we could, we are really happy with the amount of participation in this first year.

Collectively, we 260+ participants did an excellent job building up the record of Connecticut biodiversity this year. Let's plan to beat these newly-established records in '25! Anyone interested in helping to organize, please be in touch.

PS: This post is already quite long enough, but I (@hexagonaria) am happy to talk about methods or other potential analyses if anyone's interested!

Publicado el 09 de mayo de 2024 por hexagonaria hexagonaria | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario