Bristol and Bath win best in Europe in the first global City Nature Challenge.
Between 27-30 April 2018 Bristol and Bath competed with 65 cities on five continents to show the world how amazing its region is for people and nature. Together they embarked on an epic contest: to discover and record as much wildlife as possible over 4 days. Observations counted towards local, national and international efforts to learn about and protect the regions’ amazing wildlife.
Despite less than ideal weather conditions, they got off to a flying start, with enthusiastic volunteers, school groups, businesses and families downloading the free iNaturalist app and uploading their wildlife sightings. Team Plant took an early lead and stunning displays of spring flowers went on to dominate the records as the animal life preferred to tuck themselves away from the drizzle until the sun finally came out.
As one of the smallest competing regions they had their work cut out against much bigger, wildlife rich cities like Hong Kong and San Francisco but found that they could hold their own in the increasingly hard fought battle around the top 15 to take on Stateside giants like Cleveland, St Louis and Chicago.
Hundreds of people took part in City Nature Challenge across the region with some amazing wildlife encounters reported. From a Sparrowhawk swooping after Starlings at Severn Beach to tracking bats around Eastville Park; From BioBlitzing at Chew Valley Lake to rooting around for fungi in Bathhampton!
After some colossal efforts and a series of inspiring public and private events they racked up an impressive 9,536 observations landing them in 13th place in the world and securing the top spot in Europe. Their fellow UK contenders, friends and rivals in London and Plymouth also put in strong performances finishing mid-table. Well done everyone!!
The data collected has a great impact locally, helping local authorities, land managers and nature reserves make informed decisions about looking after the regions’ wildlife and green spaces. On a national and international level, the data contributes to massive open and shared datasets that allow researchers and conservationists to monitor species distributions in a changing world.
The Bristol and Bath effort was coordinated by the Natural History Consortium which runs the annual Festival of Nature and BioBlitz activities in the region. Chief Executive Savita Willmott said: “Huge thanks to everyone who got involved and sent in their observations. It’s a great reflection of the West of England as a real centre for wildlife lovers! And of course thanks to National Lottery players for the support we gained for this project from Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund and all of our sponsors and supporters for helping make this amazing event happen! It’s an amazing way to celebrate our 15th year bringing nature to life in Bristol and Bath and we hope everyone will come back and join us for the Festival of Nature in June.”
Over 16 thousand people took part across the world contributing an astonishing 425,000 wildlife observations to local and global datasets that will go to help protect and manage our urban wildlife and green spaces.
View all the wildlife observations made on the city nature challenge website.
City Nature Challenge in Numbers
65 Cities | 5 Continents | 4 Days | 1 Mission: To record as much wildlife as possible!
Bristol & Bath City Region: >9500 Observations | >1000 Species | >300 Observers | >35 events
We identified: 631 Plant species | 93 Fungi species | 78 Bird species | 37 Mollusc species | 33 Mammal species | 22 Arachnid species | 5 Amphibian species
#1 in Europe: with more than 3 times the observations of our local rivals in London
#13 in the World: Of the cities covering an area less than 1000km2, only New York City made more observations
Festival of Nature
The 15th annual Festival of Nature takes place on Bristol Harbourside on 9th & 10th June and there is a free family festival and pop up wildlife party on Saturday 2nd June at Green Park, Bath. More details can be found on the Festival of Nature website.