Black Birders Week: Changing the face of bird-watching When a white woman called the cops on an African American bird-watcher in New York, a group of Black nature lovers pushed back. The event was coordinated by the group @BlackAFinSTEM as a response to the recent incident in New York’s Central Park. Black Birders Week, which kicked off last week on May 31st, also coincides with World Environment Day today on Friday, June 5th. What happened to Christian Cooper in Central Park could easily deter a young Black person interested in natural science and conservation from pursing those interests, she says. “It’s like, ‘How did you get involved in this?’ Or, ‘Oh, you went to that school?’ These are all subtle ways of saying, ‘It’s weird that you’re here.’”. But just hours before Floyd’s death, another injustice was circulating on social media: a white woman made good on her threat to call the police on a black man who asked her to leash her dog, as required, in an area of New York City’s Central Park. https://gearjunkie.com/what-is-black-birders-week-importance She is an ornithologist and graduate student at Georgia Southern University studying avian ecology. For now, Newsome said the Black Birder Week organizers are discussing the possibility of forming a nonprofit and creating a permanent group. “Birds transcend what they are to being who they are. June 15, 2020 Berkeley Bryant Editor’s note: This is a guest piece written by Deja Perkins and Lauren Pharr, master’s students in Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology in NC State’s College of Natural Resources. Origin. Black Birders Week and the new Twitter group have three main goals, says Newsome. Participant Newton Zachary Hood, a graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Irvine, said via email that he’s been “surprised at the reaction and support from those outside the black community on Twitter.”, As for academe, science, technology, math and engineering departments are “saying the right things” about diversity, he said. While living in Germantown, she attended the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr. Black Birders Call Out Racism, Say Nature Should Be for Everyone. #BlackBirdersWeek, which began on May 31, has been a week-long event aimed to amplify Black people in every field and their experiences while outdoors. master of New College of the Humanities. Environment Black Birders Week: Changing the face of bird-watching. Black Birders Week takes flight. A white woman reacted inappropriately toward black birder Christian Cooper when he asked her to put her dog on a leash. Newsome noted that she has never been bothered, but her experiences as a light-skinned black woman are different than that of black men, she said. #BlackBirdersWeek seeks to interrupt stereotypes about who belongs in nature and science. “I was shocked how quickly it grew from the first tweet,” Amingwa said. He’ll be hosting a live Facebook conversation on the topic and other issues Monday at 1 p.m. Heinz Refuge is within the Atlantic Flyway, a north-south migration route for birds. 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Tolga Aktas is a UK-based conservation biologist who participated in Black Birders Week. Jerry Brown rallying support for Proposition 30 on election eve, Grand Valley State University - College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. Though some smaller birding groups have not always been welcoming, Newsome said the National Audubon Society has been. The week featured a variety of de-centralized events, which gave folks the opportunity to virtually participate from anywhere. Black Birders Week is part of WikiProject Birds, an attempt at creating a standardized, informative and easy-to-use ornithological resource.If you would like to participate, visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks. Throughout the week, Newsome and her fellow organizers and participants have been virtually meeting up and sharing experiences about what it’s like be black and love nature and science. This was why the awful racial events of the last week in the USA (one involving a black birder, another a racial murder) came as such a dreadful and painful hammer-blow to my hopes of an increasingly globalised and colour-blind world. “I got into it and really enjoyed it,” Newsome said. Within days, the group had 30,000 followers. This week, black birders around the world are rallying around Christian Cooper, a black man and avid birder, who was harassed by … Black Birders Week sparked a national discussion and the organizers, a group called the BlackAFinSTEM collective, hope that the result of this increased awareness and understanding of the black perspective will lead to a normalization of people of color in birding, nature, and science. Like so many in the birding community, American Birding Association staff and board were inspired by last week’s #BlackBirdersWeek, and greatly appreciate the effort to not only celebrate Black faces and voices in birding, but to draw attention to the unique difficulties birding can pose to Black people in terms of accessibility, safety, and community. Organizers encouraged participants to use the hashtag #BlackBirdersWeek to upload photos of birds they had spotted. But her parents worried for her when she ventured outdoors alone. The event concludes today, which is dedicated to #BlackWomenWhoBird. “There were folks from all over the world putting up tweets.”, Surprise! Earyn McGee poses with a Yarrow's spiny lizard. Corina Newsome, a lifelong lover of wildlife who’s passionate about birds, smiles at a barn owl. Black Birders Week. The refuge boasts 90 species of nesting birds and more than 300 species overall, including bald eagles. Some virtual events included panels, posting challenges, and hashtags. Harpswell Foundation students. We challenge everyone to #PostABird! They quickly settled on the source: a warbling vireo, a tiny songbird with a big-throated sound that rises and dips as if asking the same question over and over. Browse all jobs on Inside Higher Ed Careers », We are retiring comments and introducing Letters to the Editor. It’s Friday, June 5, and #BlackBirdersWeek has been a soaring success. Fish and Wildlife Refuge System. Be the first to know.Get our free daily newsletter. Drew Lanham, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Clemson University and a participant in Black Birders Week. Black Birders Week was a week-long series of online events, running from May 31st, 2020 to June 5th, 2020. Black Birders Week and Beyond. SA: In terms of Black Birders Week, that was a more focused group of us who were working to get it off the ground. They can range from a look of surprise at seeing a black person in an outdoor environment to deliberate actions to make them feel uncomfortable. “Birds transcend what they are to being who they are. The National Audubon Society had live-streamed two panels, featuring Newsome, Cooper, and other distinguished birders, to its 1.5 million followers. The group has three goals that don’t stop after the week of activism, says Tykee James, a Black Birders Week organizer and the National Audubon Society’s government affairs coordinator. Newsome said people can mistake birding as “creepy” if someone is walking around a neighborhood with binoculars. Philly native Corina Newsome is focusing on avian conservation while working towards her master's degree in biology at Georgia Southern University. That’s how the first-ever Black Birders Week, hosted from May 31 to June 5, was born. “There were way more supporters than naysayers,” Newsome said. Birders and bird researchers have declared this week as Black Birders Week. “My mom would take me and my sister to Chestnut Hill to get exposed to nature. Please do not substitute this template. It is a prime East Coast viewing spot, typically filled with birders toting binoculars, tripods, and heavy, long camera lenses. No charges were ever filed. Within days, the group had 30,000 followers on Twitter. BlackAFInSTEM, a community of Black scientists, kicked off the inaugural Black Birders Week from May 31 through June 5. Both Cooper and the woman left the scene when she finally leashed her dog. Cooper’s least favorite bird is the domestic chicken, he said. A group of approximately 30 black scientists, birders, and outdoor explorers are raising awareness of the black birding community and are encouraging new members. In response to what happened to Christian, 30 Black birders, scientists, and outdoor enthusiasts joined together to form @BlackAFinStem and launch the first ever Black Birders Week. Learn more about the inaugural event, including the list of activities, in Bird Watching Daily. This week is about highlighting the magic and thrill of taking a walk in the woods in search of a bird that’s migrating back north from its winter away. 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