This will be my 4th year volunteering and taking part in the City Nature Challenge and I love it. I do it mainly because its so fun but theres lot of other great reasons to take part.
I grew up playing pokemon on my gameboy colour and I like to describe iNaturalist as transforming your phone into a pokedex. I like the community and competition side of the challenge and connecting with other nature lovers. My identification skills have definitely improved by using the app - especially with plants and wildflowers - getting that instant confirmation on what I think a plant is really helps improve knowledge quickly.
The data is also really useful for local conservation efforts and monitoring wildlife populations. By taking part in the challenge you are actually collecting real conservation data that can be used by planners, conservation charities, ecologists or anyone that has access to the global biodiversity information facility. The more observations also improves the software making iNaturalist better and better at correctly identifying species.
Its also good for you, by taking notice of your surroundings, getting outside, connecting with others and learning new things you will be taking positive action to boost your own mental health. The five ways to well being as stated on the NHS website include being active, taking notice, learning, connecting with others and giving back all of which you will be doing when you take part in the City Nature Challenge.
Seeing wildlife, learning new things, connecting with others, having fun and improving your mental health?! Whats not to like!