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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

City Nature Challenge: Western Mass

Information and resources on Western Mass participation in the international City Nature Challenge community and citizen science ecology event.

In Your Own Home Or Backyard

You can find wildlife in the comfort and safety of your own home or backyard!

  • Keep an eye out for ladybugs in your house, this is the perfect time of year for them.  
    • Other housemates include spiders, daddy long legs (not spiders but actually harvestmen or crane flies), house centipedes, and more.
  • Leave your porch light on and see what bugs you attract.  Turn it off when you go to bed to help them stay healthy.
  • Put out the bird feeder you've been meaning to hang.  
  • A rotting log or even piece of wood you place in your backyard can shelter dozens of species of creepy crawlies.
  • Do you have weeds in your yard?  Maybe dandelions or crabgrass that you certainly didn't plant...

All Around Us!

Wildlife is all around us, even in the most urban landscape, from bugs to birds to weeds growing up through cracks in the sidewalk.  It is a little challenging to tell what's wild and what was planted in a city or on campuses.  Some tips: 

 - Avoid landscaped flower beds and manicured trees and bushes. 

 - Greenhouses are not found in the wild! 

 - Birds that visit your bird feeder are still wild, and the weeds you didn't plant in your lawn are fair game!



If you want to be surrounded by wildlife, check out the map below of Open Spaces - lands managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, MassAudubon, The Trustees of Reservations, or land trusts. 

black dot icon   The black dots indicate parking areas.  Click on them to get latitude and longitude to enter into your GPS (Point X and Y). 

green shape icon   The green shapes indicate the area of protected land: trails may not be available throughout the entire space.  Use the name of the area to look up the official website to confirm when they are open and more information.