ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, The Nature Conservancy and the Cornell Lab of Ornothology launched Habitat Network, a free online citizen science platform that invites people to map their outdoor space, share it with others, and learn more about supporting wildlife habitat and other natural functions in cities and town across the country.
Forty million acres of U.S. land are covered by lawn – short grass that has minimal ecological function and costs property owners more than $30 billion to maintain. Habitat Network offers alternate solutions for yards, parks and other urban green spaces to support birds, pollinators, and other wildlife, plus manage water resources, and reduce chemical use like pesticides and fertizers to keep nature in balance. Habitat Network can be used on properties of all sizes and types – from a shared urban garden in a city park to a large suburban backyard or nature preserve.
"Science shows us that small changes in the way properties are managed can make a huge impact towards improving our environment," said Megan Whatton, project manager for Habitat Network at The Nature Conservancy.
The mapping tool is also a social network, inviting participants to share information and learn from their neighbors. And over time, the self-reported information from citizen scientists using the Habitat Network will provide data the Conservancy and the Lab can use to understand how much habitat exists in our cities and towns and what role that habitat can play in benefiting wildlife and humans.
The Habitat Network website, which builds on prior habitat programs at the Lab and the Conservancy, already has 345,000 users – primarily in the United States – who have mapped more than 20,000 yards, gardens and parks.
"It's a great way to get to know your yard better. You are really the expert about what's going on around your house or neighborhood, and we want to tap into that expertise in a way that can benefit the scientific community," said Rhiannon Crain, project leader for Habitat Network at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Go to www.habitat.network to sign up for an account and get started mapping, sharing, and learning about sustainable practices you can implement in backyards, schoolyards, parks, and corporate campuses.
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SOURCE The Nature Conservancy; The Cornell Lab of Ornithology