Joining cities and town all over the world, Blacksburg invites everyone to participate in The City Nature Challenge, “a friendly competition among cities all over the world to see which one can observe the most nature over four days.“

From l to r: VT Dr. Paul Marek and students Derek Hennen, Patricia Shorter, Jackson Means, Victoria Wong seek millipedes.

From April 26-29, people in places as diverse as Austin and the Klang Valley will take pictures of local wild plants and animals. Then, from April 30 to May 5, they’ll identify what they’ve found.

Using the iNaturalist app, people will take a picture of “any plant, animal, fungi, slime mold, or any other evidence of life (scat, fur, tracks, shells, carcasses!) found in the Town of Blacksburg limits,” note where those things are and upload your findings to the app.

Millipedes are one of many species, animals and plants that will be documented during the City Nature Challenge next week. Millipedes are decomposers, serving a critical role in ecosystems breaking down decaying leaves, wood, and other vegetation to unlock and recycle their nutrients for future generations of forest life.

According to the organization’s website, the first friendly Challenge was held in 2016 between Los Angeles and San Francisco when a thousand people collected 20,000 observations in a week cataloging approximately 1600 species in the cities. Citizen science helps residents, visitors and scientists understand the…

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