The 2020 City Nature Challenge Starts on Maui Today!

While some of the cities participating in this year’s CNC started nearly a day ago (it’s that date line thing at work), the event here on Maui is finally live.  If you’d like to join in, it is as easy as downloading the iNaturalist or Seek app and making an observation.  Any observation made on Maui between now and Monday, April 27 at Midnight will be included in the CNC tally.  If you’d like to get more background on the CNC, their main page is https://citynaturechallenge.org.

Thanks to the current pandemic and inability to have group events and, in many locations travel restrictions, the focus this year is about finding nature at home. There is a guide produced by the global CNC organizers about how to find nature around your house (you might be surprised what you can find!) The pdf guide can be downloaded here: Nature In and Around Your Home.

Reminder – Look for Wildlife!!

Even though we are exploring nature at home, we are still looking for wildlife, not planted or domesticated animals. If you (or your kids) do want to make these sorts of observations, make sure you mark them as captured/cultivated on your observation.

Privacy Settings (at Home)

Because many of us will be making observations at home, it is possible to set your observation geoprivacy setting to “Obscured” rather than the default “Open.” If you want to do this, you will need to do this for every observation. If you forget to do so, you can always go back and edit it to the setting you desire. Note that setting geoprivacy to “Private” will ONLY make that observation available to you. It will not be publicly visible AND will not be included in the CNC tally because you will be the only person that can see it exists.

Social Media Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mauinuinaturalhistory

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MauiNuiNatHist @MauiNuiNatHist

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mauinui_natural_history/ @Mauinui_Natural_History

iNaturalist Project Page: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2020-maui

City Nature Challenge – Nature at Home this Weekend!

With increasing restrictions on areas that are accessible to search for nature, this year Maui (and many other CNC locations) are looking close to home. We will be focusing on the wildlife that you can find around (and in!!) your home. The Global CNC organizers (Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and California Academy of Sciences) have put together a nice guide to finding (and attracting) nature to your home here (Note that this is a downloadable PDF): https://citynaturechallenge.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Exploring-Nature-in-and-around-your-home.pdf

Because we won’t be meeting in person for the event this year, we will have several virtual meetings over the course of the observation period (April 24-27) and the identification period (April 29-May 4). We will have an iNaturalist app orientation for both mobile and desktop users on Thursday, April 23 at 6:30 PM and at 1 PM on Friday, April 24. If you would like email notifications/reminders, please sign up for the event on our Meetup page here: https://www.meetup.com/Maui-Nui-Natural-History/events/268987838/ Otherwise, check our main CNC page (Here: http://www.mauinui.org/cnc2018/) 15 minutes before the event to find the Google Meet link you’ll need to join the virtual session.

City Nature Challenge 2020 is coming to Maui

[ok, full disclosure, we don’t really have buildings like this on Maui…. 😉 ]

We are again organizing the City Nature Challenge on Maui, this time for April 2020.   The event participants will use the iNaturalist app or desktop program to record observations of plants and wildlife anywhere on Maui and help crowd source identifications for those observations. The event will start 12:01 AM (local time)  on Friday April 24 and go until 11:59 PM on Monday April 27. After the observation portion of the event, we will encourage participants to help identify unknowns or to improve or verify observations made by other participants.  To count as a contribution, three people need to agree on an identification – the minimum required for a ‘verified/research grade’ observation on iNaturalist.  If you’ve never tried a community science project before, this is a great chance to try it out! Look for events posted here and on our meetup page. If you are already an iNaturalist user, please “join” the event here: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2020-maui

🌊 Rising Water, Tides, & Waves 🌊 – Citizen Science Projects on Maui

Climate change is driving a rise in sea levels that are already having negative effects on coastal environments and infrastructure. The Pacific-wide King Tides project and the Maui-Specific West Maui Wave Run-up Forecast Validation are two citizen science projects that need your help. In both cases, scientists are looking for volunteers to take photographs of wave/tide generated effects on the coastal environment.

The Pacific Islands King Tides project is looking at the impacts wave and tide action during maximal “king” tides. This summer we will see king tides during July 2 and 3 and a second event during July 31 and August 1. Scientists need images of how high waves are reaching up the beach as well as any impacts to coastline and coastal infrastructure during the high tide periods. Get more details about how to participate at Pacific Island King Tides website.

The West Maui Wave Run-up Forecast Validation project is seeking to validate a predictive model that will better provide warning of extreme wave events. The project is being run by PacIOOS and an interactive viewer lets you explore images that have been submitted to date. Researchers are looking for images of wave that are topping over beach features or causing damage to coastal infrastructure.

For both of these projects, citizen scientists (i.e. you) can upload images taken with a mobile phone or with a digital camera. For further details about the process and both projects, click on the docs below.

West Maui Forecast Pacific Island King Tides Mobile Phone Upload Instructions

Another “cool tool” that you might want to check out, is rising sea level is of interest, is the the Hawai’i Sea Level Rise Viewer. Check out how passive flooding, storm surge and erosion are likely to affect our coastlines under sea level rise of 0.5 feet to 3 feet higher than present levels.

The 2019 City Nature Challenge has Started!

The global City Nature Challenge started with Christchurch, New Zealand at 3 AM Maui time yesterday and our event started right after midnight this morning. Any observation you take with iNaturalist on Maui over the next four days will be automatically included in the challenge (no need to add it to this project).

While we certainly encourage you to get out and keep making observations over the next four days, we also hope to see you at one of our organized events. The first is next to the Kihei Fourth Friday night market on Piikea Avenue. Join us as we night light for insects along the southern pond. Tomorrow we’ll have a morning nature walk along the Kealia Boardwalk. For event details visit https://www.meetup.com/Maui-Nui-Natural-History/ .

Happy iNatting!

🌏 Happy Earth Day, Maui! 🌎

Aloha! 
We are less than a week away from the City Nature Challenge and Earth Day is a great excuse (Like you needed one?) to add an observation to iNaturalist. Its easy to forget that iNat is indeed a citizen Science project and your observations provide actual data that can contribute to preventing the spread of invasive species here in Hawaii and help resource managers understand the distribution of rare and endangered species to better manage their recovery.


Also, now it a great time to help spread the word about Maui’s participation in the City Nature Challenge. Encourage your friends to participate in the Maui Event : https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2019-maui 

MNNH joins Coral.org for a Restoration Event at Kā’anapali on Maui🌱

We will again be joining the Coral Reef Alliance to plant native plants to reduce erosion and sediment reaching our coral reefs. We’ll also:
– Help protect West Maui Reefs and learn about ridge to reef restoration and ahupua’a management
– Learn about native plants and watershed restoration
– Get some amazing views of Kā’anapali, Lahaina and Lāna’i

If you are interested in joining us, check out the details here. https://www.meetup.com/Maui-Nui-Natural-History/events/260508766/

Seek : A Free, Kid-friendly app That Uses Computer Vision to ID What you are Seeing

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could point your phone at a plant or animal and it could tell you what you are looking at? Well, now, you can. Seek uses a computer vision algorithm, along with the species list for your area based on iNaturalist platform observations to give you its best guess as to what you are looking at. Considering that professional taxonomists can have a hard time (or even simply cannot) identify many organism from an image, what this app can do is pretty impressive. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices and gives you a live camera view along with IDs. This is an upgrade over the iNaturalist app model that requires you to take a photo first and then wait for an ID.

The Seek app by iNaturalist correctly identifies a gecko on Maui.
A screen capture of Seek identifying one of Maui’s species.

Unlike the iNaturalist app, is not intended for children under 13 because of concerns over the need to provide location along with observations, the Seek app does not share location information. The end result is a kid-friendly field guide on a device that gives real-time feedback on what you are seeing. What a great way to get kids engaged in seeking out (and identifying) biodiversity.

Read more about Seek on the iNaturalist blog, along with some videos of the app in action: https://www.inaturalist.org/blog/23075-real-time-computer-vision-predictions-in-seek-by-inaturalist-version-2-0

Join us on Maui for the 2019 City Nature Challenge

City Nature Challenge 2019 Maui

We are again organizing the City Nature Challenge on Maui, this time for April 2019.   The event participants will use the iNaturalist app or desktop program to record observations of plants and wildlife anywhere on Maui and help crowd source identifications for those observations. The event will start 12:01 AM (local time)  on Friday April 26 and go until 11:59 PM on Monday April 29. After the observation portion of the event, we’ll encourage participants to help identify unknowns or to improve or verify observations made by other participants.  To count as a contribution, three people need to agree on an identification – the minimum required for a ‘verified/research grade’ observation on iNaturalist.  If you’ve never tried a community science project before, this is a great chance to try it out! Look for events posted here and on our meetup page.