Courtesy of Ryutaro Tsukata via Pexels

Do you see raccoons in your backyard at night? Maybe you see bunnies when you’re walking your dog, squirrels while you’re playing at the park, or possums sauntering across the street.

From April 30-May 3, you can participate in the Family in the City Nature Challenge. The annual global event helps people in cities learn about the wildlife they share it with and helps scientists, too.

To participate, download the free iNaturalist app or access the forms on a computer. Then simply go outside and record what you see.

“Our goal is to help everyone in our community discover and appreciate native wildlife, whether it’s in a yard, park, or natural area,” said Craig Standridge, conservation engagement coordinator for Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. “We are surrounded by natural beauty and native wildlife if we just stop and take the time to observe.”

This global event is being promoted locally by Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Northwest Trek, and Woodland Park Zoo. The Seattle-Tacoma area represents one wildlife area.

Try to take photos of the things you see, from animals to plants and even fungi. Didn’t catch a photo? INaturalist might help you identify what you saw by making suggestions based on others’ observations of that odd speckled frog or slimy slug. Simply record your location, time and date, and voila! You’re a part of the City Nature Challenge.

The Seattle-Tacoma location for the City Nature Challenge 2021 includes Everett, Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, and all other places in Snohomish, King, and Pierce counties.