Photo: Howard Arndt/Audubon Photography Awards, Great Egret. Drew Lanham’s keynote address from the 2017 Audubon Convention; Jason Ward’s essay on how the woods can be perilous for Black people; Journalist Brentin Mock’s interview on birding as a Black man; National Audubon Society’s statement on the threats NYC Audubon board member Christian Cooper received Central Park’s Ramble 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. The organizers, a group of Black scientists, nature lovers, and friends, say this … ", "When I'm in that cynical mindset," he says, "The only thing that gets me out is the joy and unapologetic strength and style of Black birders.". The name of our Audubon chapter should not add to that list of prejudices. Corina Newsome birding along the Savannah River in Georgia. Black Birders Week: An Ode to Our Allies. Along the way, she also became a passionate bird enthusiast and advocate for children from underprivileged backgrounds who want to pursue their interests in animals and nature. Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives. Audubon celebrates diversity and condemns racism. 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. "My work brings me so much joy," she says. #blackbirder #blackinnature #blackbirdersweek pic.twitter.com/C3xRdTaWD7, Decided to create a Twitter account today to take part in #BlackBirdersWeek and show me being #BlackInNature. Prejudice might drive police or private property owners to be suspicious of or antagonistic toward Black scientists doing field work in normal clothes, putting them in danger, she says. “I’m probably the most excited about the livestream because it’s not often you get to see this kind of panel discussing this kind of topic,” McGee says. They don't talk about Black ranchers.". Before her current work in avian conservation, Newsome did become a zookeeper. The week of events, organized by a group of STEM professionals and students, increased the visibility of Black birders, who face unique challenges and dangers when … Katherine Arntzen/Georgia Southern University, Last Friday morning, four days after a video of a, With this speech, Newsome, a biology graduate student at Georgia Southern University who studies Seaside Sparrows, announced the first ever Black Birders Week. This idea that Black people somehow don't belong in the outdoors fuels even more fear. "I had never been to a zoo, and before I saw her in action, it never crossed my mind that I could be a zookeeper," Newsome says. The National Audubon Society had live-streamed two panels, featuring Newsome, Cooper, and other distinguished birders, to its 1.5 million followers. We protect birds and the places they need. We encourage you to follow the hashtags on social media and amplify Black voices throughout the week. Hers was the blue jay. I'm Chidi Paige. It's hard to not be cynical when I know that an environmental regulation that was saving lives yesterday can be overturned today. Audubon protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. If you find joy in birds, you are part of Audubon’s family. The idea for the event grew out of a group chat with more than 100 Black outdoor enthusiasts. 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. Tune in now for Session 2 of Birding While Black, a candid conversation with young Black birdwatchers to hear their stories of discovering birds and their unique experiences of birding while Black in America. Photo: Dick Dickinson/Audubon Photography Awards. Can This Critically Endangered Bird Survive Australia's New Climate Reality? Overwhelmed and Understaffed, Our National Wildlife Refuges Need Help. Help power unparalleled conservation work for birds across the Americas, Stay informed on important news about birds and their habitats, Receive reduced or free admission across our network of centers and sanctuaries, Access a free guide of more than 800 species of North American birds, Discover the impacts of climate change on birds and their habitats, Learn more about the birds you love through audio clips, stunning photography, and in-depth text. Tell Congress to stop efforts to strip away critical protections in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. "People don't talk about the buffalo soldiers who were among the first to care for national parks. It's just where my mind placed it in the understanding of my world.". Troutman considers himself one of the lucky ones. Wildlife biologist and educator Alex Troutman. Hello everyone! Newsome announced the event on Twitter on Friday, as well as unveiling a new Twitter account. Black Birders Week was a week-long series of online events, running from May 31st, 2020 to June 5th, 2020. I began connecting with people all over the world. As demonstrations escalated on Sunday and images of pain and outrage filled many social media feeds, those following #BlackBirdersWeek also saw expressions of something more hopeful. Black Birders Week opened up a new network for me. "It's not only good for the people that have historically been excluded, it's good for the field as well," says Newsome. Some members of the group chat conduct field work not far from where Arbery was killed, in Georgia. Birders who aren’t Black can support the initiative by spreading the word, learning from the livestream, and retweeting the shared stories and images. While getting people hooked on birds is definitely a goal of Black Birders Week, there's a lot more at stake. The white ibis. Her moment of realization came when a Black woman working at the Philadelphia Zoo invited her to go behind the scenes. 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. Corina Newsome calls it a gateway bird, the one special species that sets an avian enthusiast on a lifetime course of discovery and environmental passion. Within days, a group of #BlackAFinSTEM organizers had come up with a whole week's worth of ways to support and encourage the Black birding community. “We can’t even organize for one Black trauma before another one happens,”. The hit TV show “Atlanta” offers a reminder that one black person's paradise can be another one's terror. 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. “We can’t even organize for one Black trauma before another one happens,” the group tweeted on Sunday, explaining that while the Central Park incident inspired Black Birders Week, it’s also a response to the recent killings of Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. 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. Just last week, on May 25, Cooper’s right to safely go birding in public was threatened—one of a recent string of incidents that exposed inequalities that Black people face in America. But as an economist, which is considered a STEM profession, she knows all about exclusivity, and the steps communities of color have taken to give new generations of STEM professionals a better chance at success. 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. The first Black Birders Week started on Sunday amidst ongoing protests over police brutality and racial injustice sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis on Monday. Furthermore, the series drew attention to several Black birders and naturalists, including Birds of North America''s host Jason Ward, wildlife biologist and author J. 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. Donations are encouraged and can be made online: Donate Today! Wildlife conservationist Corina Newsome and Tony, a Hyacinth Macaw. “The only reason I and countless other people are even in a career in biology or wildlife or interested in it is because [we] saw someone like [us] doing it,” she says. Or take action immediately with one of our current campaigns below: The Audubon Bird Guide is a free and complete field guide to more than 800 species of North American birds, right in your pocket. Think about the biological importance of diversity at any level, genetic all the way up to whole ecosystems, she explains. "This is something that all of us are passionate about, because we are increasing the visibility of a group of Black and brown professionals and we're starting a dialogue," says. "The importance is normalizing the fact that Black people exist in the birding and natural sciences community," says. In a now-infamous video exchange, a woman falsely accused Cooper of threatening violence and called the police after Cooper asked her to leash her dog. National Audubon Society The event was created as a response to the Central Park birdwatching incident and police brutality against Black Americans. To start, here are pictures of me birding and with my study species, the common murre pic.twitter.com/zokPwSEH6I, My favorite thing today? My name is Sean and I'm a graduate student researching #seabird foraging behavior. There is a connection between birds and people and place.". A group of Black scientists, birders, and outdoor explorers organized the campaign to celebrate Black people in the outdoors and birders specifically. In just a couple of days, more than 30 people organized Black Birders Week via text, Zoom, shared documents, and volunteered time. They're also promoting human diversity in birding and conservation. The week had been a huge success. Let us send you the latest in bird and conservation news. Black people aren't just excluded from natural spaces. 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. Homogeneity sets organisms and systems up for failure. Cooper’s experience was validated by other Black birders who have had racist encounters while out birding. It led into Black Birder’s Week.” The week has included black birders posting photos of themselves in nature, a Twitter chat called “Ask a black birder,” a day to highlight female birders, and a live discussion called “Birding While Black” on Facebook, hosted by the National Audubon Society. "You can tell me that something's a cool thing," Troutman says. The movement's organizers are hoping this visibility, this skeleton key, leads organizations and leaders in the field to pursue cultural and policy changes that open up these white-dominated disciplines. In just a couple of days, more than 30 people organized Black Birders Week via text, Zoom, shared documents, and volunteered time. He grew up outside of Atlanta searching for salamanders in the stream that ran through his backyard. "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. This is tremendous. The organizers, a group of Black scientists, nature lovers, and friends, say this event will be the first of many—a springboard to shape a more diverse future for birding, conservation, and the natural sciences. “The Black experience is not one of only trauma; it is one of joy and it is one of pride and it is one of strength.”. That connection between people and place also affects people's wellbeing -- the water they drink, the air they breathe. "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.". , with each day featuring its own theme and Twitter hashtag, allowing participants to connect with one another, post pictures, and ask questions from anywhere in the world. While getting people hooked on birds is definitely a goal of Black Birders Week, there's a lot more at stake. For some observers, it may seem like an initiative like Black Birders Week is meant solely for the benefit of Black naturalists and those who enjoy their work. The organizers of Black Birders Week were honored with New Jersey Audubon’s highest honor during the society’s virtual Cape May Fall Festival. So as protests roil, the country contends yet again with the deeply-entrenched racism that has led to Black scientists being excluded, to Black nature lovers feeling unsafe, to a minor disagreement in the park ending in a racially loaded call to police, and a Black man being killed on the Minneapolis pavement. In his work, he links environmental and social advocacy with the simple, natural pleasures of bird watching. "The biggest thing that we want people to see is that nature is for everyone, outdoor spaces are for everyone. Audubon did not found the National Audubon Society or any of the other organizations that bear his name; they were named after him posthumously beginning in the 1880s and 1890s because of his deep association with North American birds. Organizers have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of joy and support online already. 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. 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. Today is June 4, 2020. I've been a birder for 13 years, led a youth birding team for 7 years and designed 2 birding table-top games over the years. In their advocacy work, it's about straightening the path for those who want to follow joyfully in their footsteps. By demonstrating that Black people enjoy these spaces too, Newsome and her collaborators hope to encourage emerging birders and scientists to pursue their passions. Last week was the first-ever Black Birders Week. The third goal is to encourage increased diversity in birding and conservation. on Sunday, explaining that while the Central Park incident inspired Black Birders Week, it’s also a response to the recent killings of Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. 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,". Spread the word. "It's not that I actively thought zookeeping was for white people or that it wasn't for me. It's what changed Newsome's perception of her potential. Learn from top experts in the field and join us for these FREE presentations. Nature and the outdoors have historically been depicted as majority white spaces. It's about the very well being of Black and brown people now, and all people of future generations. The first is “to counter the narrative that the outdoors are not the place Black people should be,” she says. "Because that was the only Black person I saw working with animals.". “That could easily have been any one of us,” she says. , to unite and build a community of Black scientists. Dr. J. She grew up in Philadelphia, loving nature and animals, and assuming that, among the Steve Irwins and Jeff Corwins of the world, the only professional path for someone like her was to become a veterinarian. “From a social media standpoint, it has been absolutely breathtaking and just so remarkable to see the amount of Black faces, to see the regional diversity of Black joy across the world—not just the country even or the continent or hemisphere, but the world,” says Tykee James, government affairs coordinator for the National Audubon Society and a Black Birders Week co-founder. NJ: Black Birders Week to me was created to show people that Black people in nature exist, that we love bird watching and STEM. Black birders encounter overt hatred and racism in the field and are too often the only Black person, or person of color, in a group of bird or nature enthusiasts. It's the same if you have a group who are trying to solve a problem, whether you're a scientists or neighbors. Tykee James is the Government Affairs Coordinator for the National Audubon Society in Washington, DC, the gold standard for avian conservation and advocacy. “Whether it be the way the media chooses to present who is the ‘outdoorsy’ type, or the racism Black people experience when we do explore the outdoors, as we saw recently in Central Park. If everyone has had the same life experiences, you're less likely to have the solution to a problem.". Monday’s theme is the #PostABird Challenge, with a prompt to share a bird image or fact. And, of course, the penguin. "In my opinion, there is not better vehicle for advocacy for a bird," he says. For Tykee James, it was the belted kingfisher. Why is there such an internalized stereotype that Black people aren't interested, or are somehow alien to, nature and the studies therein? In the wake of a confrontation and false accusation against Black birder Christian Cooper by a white dog walker in New York City, a group of Black scientists, birders, and nature enthusiasts came together on social media to create the first ever Black Birders Week. “Diversity is important for the robustness of any community trying to do anything,” she says. Diversity is its own benefit, a concept proven in disciplines from genetics to, well, economics and natural sciences. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all of the events are taking place virtually. “We didn’t pick our moment, but we are going to rise to the occasion,” James says. Audubon does not participate in political campaigns, nor do we support or oppose candidates.”. This visibility is a master key that can open all kinds of doors for Black scientists to succeed, and for the world to benefit from their success. Seeing nature and wildlife up close still feels brand new and I hope it does for the rest of my life. ... a podcast host and a coordinator of government affairs for the National Audubon Society. “I feel like it’s going to open a lot of people’s eyes, and I’m really excited about that.” Newsome will be in the field this week and plans to post lots of pictures of sparrows and all the other birds she encounters in Georgia’s marshes. Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, center, with former Chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen. The value is immesurable. Starting Sunday and running through this Friday, Black Birders Week includes. On Tuesday is the #AskABlackBirder event, with a two-hour Q&A with Black birders on Twitter from 7pm to 9 pm ET, followed up with the #BirdingWhileBlack livestream discussions on Thursday, from 12pm-1:30pm ET and from 7pm-8:30pm ET. When asked what his favorite bird is, Alex Troutman paused. Nature is for everyone," Troutman says.
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