City Nature Challenge 2019


Michelle Lindson from the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park writes:

Thank you to everyone who attended and took part in the fun and informative events held by Nature and Us over the weekend as part of City Nature Challenge 2019!

Children birdwatchingCity Nature Challenge is an international competition between cities to find the most wildlife across the city over a four-day period. This year’s competition was held over 26-29 April, and London was one of six UK cities, and over 160 cities worldwide, competing to record the greatest number of wild plants, fungi and animals, using the iNaturalist app.

London’s entry was led by the Natural History Museum, and the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, through our community cohesion project, ‘Nature and Us’, took part, delivering different activities, such as moth trapping, birdwatching (photo left), minibeast hunts, guided walks (header photo) across three different parks in Tower Hamlets: Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, Swedenborg Gardens and Shandy Park.

We think City Nature Challenge was a big success! We recorded a lot of nature across these parks: birds, squirrels, wildflowers, trees, moths and other minibeasts. We interacted with lots of wonderful local residents, of varying ages and backgrounds, and became better connected to our local area by exploring local nature. Here are a few of the fascinating things we did and discovered…

Children examining mothsWe investigated the catch from a moth trap (left) with May, the moth enthusiast. We learned that there are over 2,400 recorded species of moth in the UK (compared with just 71 species of butterfly)!?

We were surprised by just how many edible plants there are in the cemetery park (with Ken’s invaluable knowledge). There’s a plant that tastes like cucumber and another that tastes like leek (and one that smells like a hyena’s bottom – but you’ll probably have to take my word on that!)

Members of the community also got stuck in identifying different plants, trees and insects as well as bird spotting with binoculars at Swedenborg Gardens and Shandy Park.

map of City Nature Challenge recordsIt was wonderful to see so many local people coming together and using the iNaturalist app to engage with nature. Here’s a map that pinpoints every nature observation made on the app in the Cemetery Park – wow!

The iNaturalist app is free to download and is available for ios and Android.


All photos by Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park – click to enlarge

Guided walk in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

Looking at plants

Girl with jar of insects

Examining minibeasts

Nets and seciment jars

Minibeast hunting kit

Lichen through a hand lens

Looking at a lichen

Plant surveying

Plant survey at Swedenborg Gardens



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