Seattle City Nature Challenge

Beginning tonight, at midnight, the first Seattle City Nature Challenge begins. Launched last year as an effort between Los Angeles and San Francisco, this year it’s expanded to 16 US cities, including Seattle, which I’m organizing. 

The City Nature Challenge is a nationwide urban bioblitz for anyone and everyone to participate in. Together, we can help document the urban nature of Seattle for science. Anyone can be a citizen scientist from April 14-18 and it’s very easy:

  1. Download the iNaturalist app (available for Android and iOS)
  2. Get outside and take photos of everything in nature; moss/lichen/birds/insects/plants/sea life/etc.
  3. Record your photos as observations in the iNaturalist app
  4. Repeat!

You do not know what it is you’re taking photos of, others on iNaturalist can help identify it.

If you do not have a smart phone, no problem. You can take photos and post them on…

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Book Highlights 2013

This post was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

This year I had the opportunity to read several excellent books ranging in topics from vampire squids to garden insects. Here are five of my favorites, some which are older, some newer, but all very interesting.

The Urban Bestiary

830eaa3251c03fc3142a1562e93c3708 (1)Lyanda Lynn Haupt
Little, Brown and Company
September 17, 2013

When I heard the author of one of my favorite books, Crow Planet had a new book in the works I was very excited. This new book was as fascinating and really fun read. It’s written in the form of the ancient bestiaries and features a great many urban animals that we admire, hate, see and don’t see. There is a great deal of information about each animal featured, some of which you will find very surprising. The author…

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Foragings:: The latest news, resources and designs


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Foragings:: The latest news, resources, designs and more


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Growing Rivers of Flowers in the City

Whittington Park Meadow (River of Flowers North London) Photo Credit: River of Flowers

If you visit London, you may just notice trails of flowers winding through the city humming with pollinators. River of Flowers is the brainchild of Kathryn Lwin and while started in London, it now winds through much of the U.K. and is currently expanding into Europe and North America. The idea is simple and starts with the desire to create a connecting pathway of flowering plants for pollinators. Then you find and map three wild spaces in the area and finally partner with the local community to plant the areas in between with flowering plants.

In more detail however, they provide a number of guidelines on their websites which address the pollinators needs more than simply providing flowers. Among those are using “native, wild plants of known origin”, being pesticide…

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Book Review:: Ecosystem Services Come to Town

61qKV133GALThe most important objective in the management of the environment must the the maintenance of biodiversity and the habitats that support it, because without this we cannot survive.

When a book has a quote like this, it’s a must-have for me. Ecosystem Services Come to Town: Greening Cities by Working With Nature is a new book by Gary Grant, published last year by Wiley-Blackwell. It’s an excellent overview of urban design which features a topic near and dear to this blog, urban biodiversity. Too many books on urban design focus on solar power, alternative transportation, energy efficient buildings, zero waste and other buzz words but leave out the rest including habitat and plants. With the subheading of ‘Greening Requires Greenery’ in the conclusion, Grant illustrates perfectly something I’ve been trying to say for a long time:

Remember that a city, neighborhood or building…

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