By Ginger DeShaney

The BioBus was in South Boston Saturday, April 30, and will be back tomorrow, May 1, in conjunction with the City Nature Challenge, a four-day international bio blitz, said Rachel Vincent, a biological science technician with the National Park Service.

In a joint effort between the New York-based BioBus, the National Park Service, Boston Harbor Now, and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, the bus is parked in Moakley Park across from the Carson Beach Bath House. The bus will be open tomorrow, May 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The City Nature Challenge started April 29 and continues through Monday, May 2.

According to Rachel, the city challenge started in 2016 and Boston joined the competition in 2017. Hundreds of cities around the world participate to document the biodiversity in their neighborhoods.

“Nature is everywhere,” she said. “You don’t need to go away to find it.”

Anyone can participate in the challenge. Just download the iNaturalist app to collect your data. You can upload photos or audio (of, for example, songbirds); every upload counts for the challenge … even plants you find in sidewalk cracks. After Monday, the identification period begins to see what Boston has.

“Boston is usually high on the list for number of participants,” Rachel said. This year’s goal: 27,000 observations. 

For more information and how to participate in the City Nature Challenge, visit

BioBus helps students discover, explore, and pursue science.

A group of kids was in the BioBus when South Boston Online stopped by Saturday morning. They had just returned from getting water samples across the street at the beach. Under the guidance of BioBus’ chief community scientist, Mollie Thurman, the kids poured their samples into petri dishes and put them under research-grade microscopes. Large computer screens showed the kids what they collected – little organisms darting around!

Next, the kids took smaller samples and put those under the microscopes, then the process of identifying the creatures commenced. 

The kids were in awe of the whole process!