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PNS Daily Newscast - July 18, 2018 


Trump now says he misspoke as he stood side-by-side with Putin. Also on the Wednesday rundown: A Senate committee looks at the latest attempt to weaken the Endangered Species Act; and public input is being sought on Great Lakes restoration.

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Denver to Vie for Best in "City Nature Challenge"

City Nature Challenge 2018, a crowd-sourced citizen science project documenting natural elements in urban centers, runs Friday through Monday. (Pixabay)
City Nature Challenge 2018, a crowd-sourced citizen science project documenting natural elements in urban centers, runs Friday through Monday. (Pixabay)
April 25, 2018

DENVER - Starting Friday, Denver residents will compete against more than 60 cities across the globe to find out which urban center is the most engaged with its natural environment. The winner will bring the most people out to document the greatest number of local plants, wildlife species and other nature snapshots – all in the name of science.

Chris Hawkins, urban conservation program manager for the Nature Conservancy in Colorado, encouraged residents to grab their smartphones and start snapping photos, whether in their back yard or on a hike.

"It's a great opportunity for citizens to get out and participate in a friendly competition," he said, "where the achievement really is to go out and see as much wildlife as possible."

Competitors will need to download the iNaturalist mobile app, which is free and works on both Android and iPhone platforms. Colorado Parks and Wildlife has created a set of Denver-specific guides in the app to make it easier for people to identify plants and animals.

At its core, Hawkins said, the competition is really a crowd-sourced citizen science project. He noted that participants will be adding important documentation about Colorado's biodiversity to a sophisticated database, and scientists can tap that data to make recommendations for protecting the state's natural environment.

"This citizen science, it's finally becoming something that provides robust enough data that we can use this data to inform how we think about important natural areas for important plants and animals," he said.

City Nature Challenge 2018 only lasts a few days, from Friday through Monday. The international effort is organized by the California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

More information is online at citynaturechallenge.org and the app is available at inaturalist.org.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO