Wild Boulder: Citizen Science in Action
Join the Boulder County Wildlife Project
It’s no secret that Boulder County is home to some of the most diverse wildlife in all of Colorado. At least 64 mammal species, over 100 breeding bird species, more than 200 butterfly species, and countless reptiles, amphibians, and insects have been documented to date. Now that we know who some of our wild neighbors are, how can we better manage their habitats so these species can thrive?
That’s where you come in.
The Boulder County Wildlife Project, nicknamed “Wild Boulder,” is a call for community members to take an active role in protecting our open spaces and wildlife. By participating as citizen scientists, individuals will provide local land managers with a stronger understanding of where and when these animals are being observed, and what they need to thrive in this unique ecosystem we call home.
The Boulder County Wildlife Project utilizes iNaturalist, an online network that provides a platform for participants to record their wildlife observations. By taking and uploading photos, species identifications, geographic locations, observation dates, and other relevant notes, citizen scientists can assist open space experts as they create a database of wildlife in the area.
Be safe. Keep wildlife safe.
The Boulder County Wildlife Project on iNaturalist is not a site for reporting issues with wildlife. Please report sick or injured wildlife to Animal Control in the City of Boulder (303-441-3333) or Boulder County (303-441-4444).
When observing wildlife, always:
- Follow all rules and regulations posted at each property.
- Never harass or change the behavior of wildlife in any way. Watch from a distance and do not disturb their normal behavior.
- Observe animals from a safe distance. If the animal appears nervous, points its ears towards you, or runs away, you are too close.
- Do not disturb nesting birds, which may cause them to abandon their nest.
- Do not feed or approach animals, or call animals to you. Try to avoid eye contact, especially if they get alarmed.
- Respect all wildlife closures, posted on trailhead kiosks and in brochures.
City Nature Challenge 2018
From April 27-30, Boulder participated in the 2018 City Nature Challenge, a 4-day bioblitz where 68 cities across the globe competed to see who has the most nature. 108 of Boulder’s citizen scientists documented 3,500+ plant and wildlife observations and documented nearly 800 species throughout the region!
Any observations of plants and animals and fungus found throughout all of Boulder County’s urban areas or open space trails counted. Not only are these observations helping to build up the baseline of Boulder County biodiversity, but they are providing local land managers with the data they need to protect these wild spaces and animals.
Overall, 17,329 participants from 68 cities across the globe documented 441,888 observations of plants and wildlife, and identified 18,116 species! Collectively, our cities made 4,075 research grade observations of 599 rare, endangered, and threatened species globally, and added over 100 new species that had not previously been recorded on iNaturalist ever!
A collaboration through the City of Boulder, Boulder County, and the WILD Foundation
This partnership represents a local commitment to the concept of citizen science, which seeks to increase the pool of data available to scientists while also giving laypeople an opportunity to participate in research. Identified as one approach in Boulder’s Resilience Strategy, citizen science is a creative way to connect residents to our climate and environment, and unite them in a common effort.
“The Boulder County Wildlife Project provides an excellent record of the numerous species that call these wild lands home,” said Melanie Hill, communications director for the WILD Foundation. “We hope this unique collaboration between the City, County, and WILD Foundation will encourage residents to become dedicated stewards of Boulder’s open space.”
“By increasing individuals’ awareness of their surroundings, we can help them recognize and respond to changing conditions. We also want to encourage more social connections and bring people together based on shared interests and appreciation for what it means to live in the city of Boulder or the surrounding county,” said Greg Guibert, Boulder’s Chief Resilience Officer. “This combination of awareness and community connection is invaluable when challenges occur.”
“We live in an incredible place where we have the privilege of sharing our space with many species of wildlife,” said Deborah Price, education liaison for Boulder County Parks & Open Space. “iNaturalist will help us keep track of that diversity while we enjoy the outdoors, and provides future learning opportunities for people of all ages.”