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. The man -- who turned out to be avid birder Christian Cooper, a board member of the New York City Audubon Society -- videorecorded the incident, including the women’s escalating, performative pleas to 911 that “there’s an African American man threatening my life.”. https://gearjunkie.com/what-is-black-birders-week-importance “Black people want the same things that anybody else wants -- that’s freedom, that’s choice, that’s the ability to breathe,” he said. Black Birders Week is a week-long series of online events to highlight Black nature enthusiasts and to increase the visibility of Black birders, who face unique challenges and dangers when engaging in outdoor activities. Corina Newsome, a lifelong lover of wildlife who’s passionate about birds, smiles at a barn owl. We want to draw young black people into the STEM field. Cooper has gotten involved, including in a Facebook Live chat Thursday called “Birding While Black: A Candid Conversation.” The panel-style session hit on a range of topics, from inclusion and equity in conservation efforts to a bit of ornithology humor. Lanham, of Clemson, has written about his own experiences with racism in the field. The Twitter campaign, "Black Birders Week," runs from May 31 until June 5, with a different theme each day. It’s Friday, June 5, and #BlackBirdersWeek has been a soaring success. The National Audubon Society had live-streamed two panels, featuring Newsome, Cooper, and other distinguished birders, to its 1.5 million followers. That’s how the first-ever Black Birders Week, hosted from May 31 to June 5, was born. Cooper’s close encounter with racism, coupled with Arbery’s death, renewed national conversations about the dangers of simply “living while black.” Cooper, for example, had binoculars slung around his neck in a part of Central Park known for its wildlife, but he was nevertheless seen as dangerously out of place. On Sunday, organizers and participants celebrated Black … But the video was chilling to many who watched it and understood that things could have ended catastrophically for Christian Cooper, had the police or passersby quickly responded with antiblack bias and force. “That thing that happened to Christian is so familiar,” Newsome said. Newsome went on to announce #BlackBirdersWeek, which began Sunday with the theme #BlackInNature. For Black birders, it was business as usual, putting the daily issues they face in the outdoors on the national stage. Where I lived I wasn’t in touch with the natural world. Black Birders Week was announced on Twitter on May 29, 2020. Yet “I am waiting to see how they change their hiring practices and how much effort they will place on recruiting a truly diverse pool of graduate students.”, Now is a time “for our white allies to do some self-reflection and ask themselves what they can do to promote and support their black colleagues and students.”. Newsome said people can mistake birding as “creepy” if someone is walking around a neighborhood with binoculars. Just four days after the encounter between a white dog walker and African American birdwatcher Christian Cooper, a group of approximately 30 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. “I was shocked how quickly it grew from the first tweet,” Amingwa said. 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. Image courtesy of birdwatchingdaily.com. 1 thought on “ Black Birders Week: A Step Towards a More Inclusive Birding and Science Community ” Linda July 21, 2020 at 2:17 pm. What’s the most “obnoxious, infuriating” bird you've ever encountered, a viewer asked. As a cofounder of Black Birders Week, and in light of this year of social justice reckoning, Belleny will also touch on ways to advocate for equity in outdoor recreational spaces.. She sees Black Birders Week as a year-round celebration. Among them was Corina Newsome, a graduate student in biology at Georgia Southern University who has a large Twitter following under @hood_naturalist. Happy places are essential. Black Birders Week is a celebration of black people who love birding and the outdoors. A black birder livestream on the Audubon Society’s Facebook page drew 200,000 viewers, she said. In high school, she interned at the Philadelphia Zoo, where she learned about animal behavior. Be the first to know.Get our free daily newsletter. After consulting with friends and colleagues, she posted a video on her social media saying that for “far too long, black people in the U.S. have been shown that outdoor exploration activities are not for us.” From the way the “media chooses to present who is the outdoorsy type,” to the “racism black people experience when we do explore the outdoors,” she said, “we’ve decided to change that narrative.”. Brianna Amingwa, environmental education supervisor, at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia on Friday. SA: In terms of Black Birders Week, that was a more focused group of us who were working to get it off the ground. But he said the onus should be on the groups to reach out, not the other way around. 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. “All of us have professional expertise,” she said. 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Start This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale. Celebrate Black Birders Week. Black Birders Week is a way for Black birders, who may have not seen another Black birder, to join together and encourage more participation and diversity in outdoor spaces. Black Birders Week has the support of the National Audubon Society. Black Birders Week was a week-long series of online events, running from May 31st to June 5th, New Jersey Audubon President and CEO Eric Stiles said. Lamar Gore, manager of the Heinz refuge, listens to birds sing, at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia on Friday. 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. No charges were ever filed. Black Birders Week [Stuck in Vermont 614] Last week was the first-ever Black Birders Week. Some virtual events included panels, posting challenges, and hashtags. MORE Within days, the group had 30,000 followers on Twitter. Jess Michetti. The inaugural Black Birders Week will inspire a new generation of birders and nature-lovers. 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. “There were way more supporters than naysayers,” Newsome said. Both Cooper and the woman left the scene when she finally leashed her dog. Learn more about the inaugural event, including the list of activities, in Bird Watching Daily. Fish and Wildlife Refuge System. Origin. Gore, manager of the Heinz Refuge and a longtime birder, is a supporter of the movement. Founding Director Alan Lightman is pictured on the center right. University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, University of South Florida-Sarasota-Manatee, University of South Florida-St Petersburg, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, West Valley/Mission Community College District, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, Live Updates: Latest News on Coronavirus and Higher Education, University Employees Rely on Social Safety Net, CDC Panel Prioritizes Vaccine Distribution to Health-Care Workers, University of Arizona Completes Ashford Deal, Embedding Certifications Into Bachelor's Degrees, International Academies Urge More Language Ed. Cooper’s least favorite bird is the domestic chicken, he said. While unrelated to his bird-watching, the experience motivated other black birders to unite and create an online community. Brianna Amingwa and Lamar Gore stopped in mid-conversation when their ears caught a trill above the marshland at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum. “My mom would take me and my sister to Chestnut Hill to get exposed to nature. Launched as a social media campaign, Black Birders Week celebrated Black naturalists and broke down stereotypes of Black people in the outdoors and STEM. Interrupting Stereotypes About Who Belongs Outdoors. Celebrate #blackbirdersweek from May 31st-June 5th by following along … Reactions on trails toward black people can be overtly racist, but are mostly subtle, Amingwa and Gore say. I love the pop of color," she said. Birding organizations are mostly run and predominated by white people. Black Birders Week and the new Twitter group have three main goals, says Newsome. University of Queensland student Robert Carrol participates in a surgery rotation at the Ochsner Clinical School in New Orleans. They are building awareness for the challenges black birders face in the field, including underrepresentation and overt racism. NJ: Black Birders Week to me was created to show people that Black people in nature exist, that we love bird watching and STEM. Please do not substitute this template. Black Birders Week. 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. “All my family is in Philly and that’s where I go home to for all the breaks and holidays,” she said. Cooper was birding at the time. Here's my Killdeer to kick it off Lets see yours! BlackAFInSTEM, a community of Black scientists, kicked off the inaugural Black Birders Week from May 31 through June 5. There are still other clouds, namely racism and political turmoil, Lanham continued. The Central Park altercation followed another racially fraught incident that led to the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a black jogger in Georgia who was chased and gunned down by white men who assumed he was a burglar. Amingwa, who has been birding since 2012, noted that there have always been black farmers, environmentalists, and hikers. We proposed the idea in the group chat and then it just took off. 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. Five days of virtual events and activities were organized by a group of Black … For now, Newsome said the Black Birder Week organizers are discussing the possibility of forming a nonprofit and creating a permanent group. It started with the help of two Philadelphia women. 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. In the social and political tumult of the last week, it may have been easy to overlook a social media campaign celebrating black naturalists, and black birders in particular. Many black people won’t join unless they know upfront they will be accepted, he said. An interview with Corina Newsome, co-organizer of the first-ever Black Birders Week, created in 2020, and designed to spotlight and highlight black explorers in nature. Courtesy of Katherine Arntzen, Georgia Southern University, ‘It’s important you know I grew up in the ’hood,’ says this wildlife conservationist from Philly | We The People, N.J. Pinelands Commission offering free webinars on pine barrens unique plants, history, climate, have a fraught history with being outside, Why aren’t more black Americans going outdoors? The project is called #BlackBirdersWeek, and it will take place from Sunday, May 31, through Friday, … pic.twitter.com/yVtFpcZDk3. “People have no idea those kinds of situations happen.”. He said some groups ask why more black people don’t join. “There were folks from all over the world putting up tweets.”, Surprise! “Birds transcend what they are to being who they are. 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. Happy #BlackBirdersWeek! Birders and bird researchers have declared this week as Black Birders Week. Tykee James, its government affairs coordinator, is one of Black Birders Week’s organizers. Black Birders Week, which kicked off last week on May 31st, also coincides with World Environment Day today on Friday, June 5th. (Courtesy: University of Akron), University of Cincinnati-Blue Ash College, University of Cincinnati-Clermont College, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado BioFrontiers Institute, University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Maryland University College, University of Massachusetts Medical School, University of North Carolina at Asheville, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus. Black Birders Week June 1, 2020 June 1, 2020 Marty Nicolaus 1 Comment Black Birders. As much as I can sympathize with fellow birders who are people of color, they are not the only ones to have experienced the four bullet points above. Harpswell Foundation students. They’re the allegory for so much that’s good,” said J. 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. At the same time, recent events have imbued the inaugural Black Birders Week with even more meaning. [1] The event was created as a response to the Central Park birdwatching incident and police brutality against Black Americans. There wasn’t a lot of greenspace,” Newsome said. #BlackBirdersWeek seeks to interrupt stereotypes about who belongs in nature and science. A white woman reacted inappropriately toward black birder Christian Cooper when he asked her to put her dog on a leash. “Even as my binoculars become heavy and hard to look through with all that’s going on,” he said, “we find inspiration in birds in their freedom, in their struggle to survive and thrive, and in their unfettered ability to breathe, which is obviously not something you can take for granted.”, Lanham’s pointed reference to breath recalls the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis on May 25. "And we're all trying to navigate our way through, like migratory birds navigate their way through storms to look for a safe place to land. She and fellow birders have taken all manner of naturalists and scientists under their wing, as it were, including via a new Twitter account called @BlackAFinSTEM. Black Birders Week was a week-long series of online events, running from May 31st, 2020 to June 5th, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Earyn McGee/Noel Hamideh) "That's when I … Browse all jobs on Inside Higher Ed Careers », We are retiring comments and introducing Letters to the Editor. 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. 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. 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. About 25 black birders across the country put together the weeklong social media event using the Twitter handle @BlackAFinSTEM. Black Birders’ week was created to, “start a dialogue,” Grousis-Henderson explains. #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. Philly native Corina Newsome is focusing on avian conservation while working towards her master's degree in biology at Georgia Southern University. Starting May 31, organizers of the weeklong event aim to increase the visibility of black birders across the world in an effort to celebrate cultural diversity in the birding and naturalist communities. May 30, 2020. “Birds transcend what they are to being who they are. Amingwa’s favorite bird to spot at the refuge is the yellow warbler. 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. May 30, 2020. Black Birders Call Out Racism, Say Nature Should Be for Everyone. 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The first is “to counter the narrative that the outdoors are not the place Black people should be,” she says. It was born out of a group chat between Jason Ward [host of the YouTube series Birds of North America], Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman [co-organizer of Black Birders], myself, and many other people. I often say that birders always come across as a very amiable bunch, regardless of race. Newsome has said that Black Birders Week has two main goals, beyond interrupting stereotypes about who belongs in the outdoors. Blacker Birders Week events included a celebration of Black nature enthusiasts, a bird fact challenge, a Q&A with Black birders, a livestreamed discussion called #BirdingWhileBlack, and a day highlighting Black women involved with birding and ornithology. “That’s a story that hasn’t been told,” she said. A group of like-minded Black scientists and nature enthusiasts virtually connected through a GroupME account created by Black birders Jason and Jeffrey Ward.Following the incident in Central Park with our colleague Christian Cooper, member Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, pitched the idea of starting Black Birders Week. Photo courtesy of New College of the Humanities/Simon Jones. Photo: Red-winged Blackbirds, Amy Watts/Audubon Photography Awards. Drew Lanham, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Clemson University and a participant in Black Birders Week. (Apparently these birds are territorial: prepare to get dive-bombed.). “It’s so subtle,” Gore said. Just four days after the encounter between a white dog walker and African American birdwatcher Christian Cooper, a group of approximately 30 Black scientists, birders, and outdoor explorers have created a new awareness campaign to encourage birding among more people of color.. 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. » READ MORE: Why aren’t more black Americans going outdoors? “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.’”. While birding is a booming outdoor activity, Amingwa and Gore, both African American, fit into a much smaller slice of it that they hope grows. This week, black birders around the world are rallying around Christian Cooper, a black man and avid birder, who was harassed by … 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. Q&A with author Carolyn Finney, livestream on the Audubon Society’s Facebook page, California residents do not sell my data request. Q&A with author Carolyn Finney. As an adult, birds are his job, his hobby and way to understand the world. She said the goals were to make people aware there are black people actively involved in birding, as well as nature and science, and to start a conversation about what it’s like for “non-white folks to go birding.”. Corina Newsome, 27, who grew up in Germantown, was also one of the organizers of Black Birding Week. It is a prime East Coast viewing spot, typically filled with birders toting binoculars, tripods, and heavy, long camera lenses. Tolga Aktas is a UK-based conservation biologist who participated in Black Birders Week. 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. It’s Friday, June 5, and #BlackBirdersWeek has been a soaring success. That’s what I hope this week does -- gives us a safe place to land.". After the incident with Christian Cooper in New York, "we had a huge dialogue in a group chat about how that made us all feel,” Amingwa, of Drexel Hill, said. While living in Germantown, she attended the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr. In the social and political tumult of the last week, it may have been easy to overlook a social media campaign celebrating black naturalists, and black birders in particular. While birding has brought him face-to-face with the ugliest of humanity, it’s also where he feels most at home. Black Birders Week and Beyond. The week had been a huge success. He said in a statement that “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.”. But what’s most important is for black people to see their own faces in the outdoor space.”, © 2020 The Philadelphia Inquirer, LLC Terms of Use/Privacy Policy/California Notice California residents do not sell my data request. Happening the week of March 31 to June 5, Black Birders Week was featured by the Audubon Society and government agencies, including the U.S. Celebrate Black Birders Week. 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. Earyn McGee poses with a Yarrow's spiny lizard. Launched as a social media campaign, Black Birders Week celebrated Black naturalists and broke down stereotypes of Black people in the outdoors and STEM. Black Birders Week takes flight. The initiative was prompted in part by the Central Park birdwatching incident and episodes of killings and police brutality against Black Americans such as Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. It's Day 2 of #BlackBirdersWeek and we want you to get involved! They're also promoting human diversity in birding and conservation. “Adding blackness on top of that can make us feel particularly vulnerable,” she said. Brianna Amingwa (left), environmental education supervisor, and Lamar Gore, manager of the John Heinz at the National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia on Friday. But her parents worried for her when she ventured outdoors alone. 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Organizers encouraged participants to use the hashtag #BlackBirdersWeek to upload photos of birds they had spotted. Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus, Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne, Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, Instructional technology / distance education, Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College, Marketing / public relations / government relations. “Some are mathematicians, scientists, or bird people like me. However, Black Birders Week is not about building fear around what it’s like to bird while black. Black people who support environmental issues and enjoy the outdoors have a fraught history with being outside stemming from the Jim Crow-era when they could be harassed, or worse, if they ventured into woods or remote trails. “It’s bright yellow with red streaks on the chest.