Everyone can play a role in protecting biodiversity where they live. From joining citizen science initiatives where you document local species sightings in apps like iNaturalist or eBird, joining local species inventory events known as “bioblitzes”, to learning about pollinator-friendly plants to incorporate into your yard or garden, there is a wide variety of activities you can do to support biodiversity.
Are you an observant nature-lover? iNaturalist’s mission is to build a global community of 100 million naturalists by 2030 in order to connect people to nature and advance biodiversity science and conservation. iNaturalist is an online social network of people sharing biodiversity information to help each other learn about nature.
The app is a crowdsourced species identification system and an organism occurrence recording tool that you can use to record your own observations, get help with identifications, and collaborate with others. Your findings are shared with scientific data repositories like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, an invaluable source for data on the Half-Earth Project Map. iNaturalist is an initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society.
Are you a birder? eBird is a free online database of bird observations providing scientists, researchers, and amateur naturalists with real-time data about bird distribution and abundance. eBird transforms your bird sightings into science and conservation. Since 2002, eBird has become among the world’s largest citizen-science biodiversity-related projects, with more than 100 million bird sightings contributed annually by eBirders around the world. eBird is managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Live in an urban area? City Nature Challenge is an annual global urban event that motivates people around the world to find and document wildlife in their own cities. Through a community science competition participants in cities all over the world compete to see which one can observe the most species on the iNaturalist app. This friendly “bioblitz” competition between cities takes place over four days typically during the Spring. To date, more than 50,000 species have been counted in over forty cities, from Adelaide to Zagreb, by 67,000 people! You can take part as an individual, or if you’re an educator, as a class, or even become a city organizer.
Are you a gardener? The Homegrown National Park® (HNP) is a massive cooperative conservation movement in North America that engages and mobilizes anyone with a flowerpot, lawn, garden, woodlot, ranch, farm, or campus to plant and preserve native species and remove invasives to support the plants and animals that are essential for human survival. This grassroots call to action will regenerate biodiversity by restoring healthy habitats on millions of acres of private land, creating large, interconnected ecological networks outside of parks and preserves. Users post their native plantings to an interactive community-based map that shows each person’s contribution and progress towards a goal of 20 million acres of native plantings across the U.S.
Love maps? Use the Half-Earth Project Map to explore your own backyard or an area of the world that interests you. You download a National Report Card about your own country or through a simple search you can see the species that inhabit your area of interest, how rare they are, and the human pressures that affect them. On the map, users can now draw or upload their own “area of interest” ranging from 1000 sq.km up to 35,000 sq.km. Users can then easily name, share, and save the URL for easy reference at a later time.