By Cambridge Local First, published on the Cambridge Chronicle on May 27.
Green Cambridge and Cambridge Local First have opened online portals for student art of local species in the 2021 Cambridge City Nature Art Challenge.
The global citizen science project called the City Nature Challenge supplies the list of 1,045 species that are eligible as subjects. The observations were logged at the end of April by citizen scientist observers in a large geographic area that includes Greater Boston and Cambridge. Species of animal, plants, and other organisms observed over the four-day CNC and are community-curated by the researchers and community members of iNaturalist.org as “research grade” may be drawn and entered by mail or through two online portals.
“It’s an opportunity to get more connected to the concept of biodiversity, the idea of citizen science, and of course the plants and animals that occupy the same environment that we do,” said Julie Croston, who coordinates the challenge for Cambridge Wildlife Arts, the arts-based environmental education wing of Green Cambridge. “Teachers, parents and guardians, and anyone who works with children can use the challenge as an opportunity to talk about the environment with kids, whether on a large scale or “bug-level,” according to what interests a particular child.”
The Cambridge City Nature Art Challenge entry guidelines and submission portal links are at greencambridge.org/artchallenge-21.
Prizes include art supplies and books for the youngest entrants. Ten entries will be drawn at random from the “5-year-old” category. For entries by older children, which extend through sixth grade students, the prizes consist of gift cards to local businesses that sell art supplies. Ranger Tim Puopolo, Fresh Pond Reservation will be the judge for entries from first to fifth grade students. A judge for the sixth grade entries only will be announced in June.
Cambridge Wildlife Arts is running the Art Challenge on the heels of a series of 10-minute video programs about animals in Cambridge. Called “Our Animal Neighbors in Cambridge,” the video series includes interviews with ALAANA/BIPOC biologists, rangers, and veterinarians and features community guests, including Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, local storyteller Yumi Izuyama and two local children. Hosts for the series are Jenny the Juggler and the CRLS-based Honk! Band called Band Land Brass Band.
For more information about “Our Animal Neighbors in Cambridge,” visit greencambiridge.org/ouranimalneighbors. To watch the full series of episodes, visit the Cambridge Wildlife Arts playlist, here: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAbigM6iBcMR8NcT0n5yVYhwGnUw6g3fW.