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"It's very easy for me to get cynical with a bunch of friends and stamp out or overlook or minimize any progress we've had or any momentum that we've gained," says James. The organizers, a group of Black scientists, nature lovers, and friends, say this … And as these nature lovers live their fullest experiences, they hope others will see them, and realize they can too. Donations are encouraged and can be made online: Donate Today! , to unite and build a community of Black scientists. The event was created as a response to the Central Park birdwatching incident and police brutality against Black Americans. James has already been birding in Long Island and posting along the way, and will also be helping with the live stream later this week. And the lenses of race, nature, and the environment are inextricably linked, meaning the diversity of the natural sciences could affect the very future of the Earth. Hers was the blue jay. I began connecting with people all over the world. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and the dozens of people in the group hail from all different kinds of disciplines within that sphere. It's what Troutman had, in a form, every time he went fishing with his family. Bald Eagle. Newsome says one of the chat members suggested a social media push to highlight Black birders in response to the Central Park incident, which started when Christian Cooper, an avid birdwatcher who is Black, asked a white woman to put her dog on a leash as required by park rules. There is a huge need for this conversation, she says. Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, center, with former Chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen. The National Parks Have a Diversity Problem. Audubon celebrates diversity and condemns racism. 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. Homogeneity sets organisms and systems up for failure. "The importance is normalizing the fact that Black people exist in the birding and natural sciences community," says. Before her current work in avian conservation, Newsome did become a zookeeper. Drew Lanham, wildlife conservation… The Black experience is also about witnessing a sea turtle nesting for the first time on a drive along the Texas coast, as Troutman did. "Black Birders Week has highlighted the beautiful diversity of the birding community, but also the racism Black birders face when it comes to enjoying the birds we all love. On top of it all, no one could have predicted that Black Birders Week, "We can't even organize for one Black trauma before another one happens,". McGee conducts research near the U.S.-Mexico border and worries about encountering U.S. Border Patrol on her own while searching for lizards. While it would be wonderful to gather in person, the digital nature of the event allows more people to participate, says Newsome. Why is there such an internalized stereotype that Black people aren't interested, or are somehow alien to, nature and the studies therein? Dreamers, Black people, and LGBTQIA+ people are also bird lovers, sc... ientists, and conservationists—their contributions to protect birds are important. “We all have this shared experience where we have to worry about going into the field,” says Earyn McGee, a herpetology Ph.D. student at the University of Arizona and Black Birders Week co-organizer. Paper Magazine: "Look out for #BlackBirdersWeek on Your Timeline" 6/1 /2020. In response, Black birders, researchers, outdoor enthusiasts and others created #BlackBirdersWeek. "Most of my friends are afraid of being harassed or assaulted if they were to leave the city to take in nature, because you hardly ever see Black people camping and enjoying outdoors. This idea that Black people somehow don't belong in the outdoors fuels even more fear. The resulting video shows Amy Cooper warning she is going to tell police that “there’s an African American man threatening my life,” then calling 911 and again emphasizing the birder’s race. It's in protecting species and environments the world can't afford to lose, like Newsome and James do. Today is June 4, 2020. The idea for the event grew out of a group chat with more than 100 Black outdoor enthusiasts. Prejudice might drive police or private property owners to be suspicious of or antagonistic toward Black scientists doing field work in normal clothes, The second goal is to educate the birding and broader outdoor-loving community about the challenges Black birders specifically face. Your support helps secure a future for birds at risk. Tykee James is the Government Affairs Coordinator for the National Audubon Society in Washington, DC, the gold standard for avian conservation and advocacy. "There is no environmental organization that can claim to advocate for a better future without understanding that white supremacy is a direct threat to that future, and that environment.". This week, we invite everyone to participate in the inaugural Black Birders Week, organized by a community of African American birders, scientists, and nature enthusiasts, including Tykee James, a former Audubon Pennsylvania/Alliance for Watershed Education Fellow who is now a member of National Audubon Society’s Government Relations team in Washington, DC. Membership benefits include one year of Audubon magazine and the latest on birds and their habitats. #blackbirder #blackinnature #blackbirdersweek pic.twitter.com/C3xRdTaWD7, Decided to create a Twitter account today to take part in #BlackBirdersWeek and show me being #BlackInNature. In just a couple of days, more than 30 people organized Black Birders Week via text, Zoom, shared documents, and volunteered time. It started with the help of two Philadelphia women. Black Birders Week: An Ode to Our Allies. The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Pumpkin Bird Feeder Makes a Happy Harvest For Birds, To Help Birds This Winter, Go Easy on Fall Yard Work, Learn to Identify Five Owls by Their Calls, The Woods Are My Safe Haven—But That's Not True for Everyone. Through education and open dialogue, “people in the community who are white can hold each other accountable to make sure these spaces are not hostile to Black people,” Newsome says. Learn from top experts in the field and join us for these FREE presentations. Live-streamed discussions took place for a week in early June in which participants highlighted their joy of birding, … A group of Black scientists, birders, and outdoor explorers organized the campaign to celebrate Black people in the outdoors and birders specifically. American Bird Conservancy: "#BlackBirdersWeek Aims To Raise Awareness, Grow Community " 6/1 /2020. There is a connection between birds and people and place.".
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