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Residents encouraged to partake in City Nature Challenge
To help Durban stand a chance of being the most biodiverse City in the world, residents are encouraged to partake in the City Nature Challenge taking place from 30 April to 3 May.
The challenge is an international event which encourages residents across the world to find and document living organisms in urban areas. Three cities which achieve the most observations and engage the most people are awarded the status of being the most biodiverse city.
Describing the challenge, Senior Manager for the Restoration Ecology Branch under the Environmental Planning and Climate Protection Department, Errol Douwes said: “It is designed to be a fun event to get people out into some of our amazing open space areas, as well as parks, gardens and reserves.”
For residents to participate, they will need to identify any living organisms around the City, including species of plants and animals, take pictures, sign up and upload the pictures on iNaturalist.
Bioblitzes, where a group of people survey all organisms, can be hosted in any open space site where individuals can participate in as many bioblitzes as they wish at the same site or different sites while following all Covid-19 regulations.
Pictures can be taken using a phone (android or iPhone) or camera from anywhere in the including the beach, around your neighborhood, parks and reserves and all observations made will subsequently be identified from 4 to 9 May.
To help residents better understand the ins and outs of the challenge, the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) is currently offering training which began on 6 April and are held virtually on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 to 11am and on Wednesdays from 7 to 8pm until 29 April. Residents can sign up for training by visiting crew@sanbi.org.za. In-person sessions are available through prior booking.
SANBI’s Suvarna Parbhoo Mohan said last year, Durban embarked on its first City Nature Challenge during the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent national lockdown.
“We had 54 observers contributing just over 2000 observations taken from people’s homes during lockdown level 4,” she said. 
To join the Open Spaces project which details all the sites across eThekwini that can be explored during the challenge and beyond, visit https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/open-spaces-within-ethekwini.
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