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#BlackBirdersWeek Celebrates Black Nature and Wildlife Lovers

by Eben Diskin Jun 1, 2020

In response to an incident in Central Park last week, in which a white dog walker wrongfully called the police on Christian Cooper, a black birdwatcher, the black birdwatching community is coming together in solidarity. A group of 30 black scientists, birders, and outdoor explorers created a campaign to raise awareness about the black birding community and encourage birding among people of color.

#BlackBirdersWeek started on May 31 and ends on June 5, with each day dedicated to a different event.

To participate in the daily events, just follow the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. Sunday was #BlackInNature day, which celebrated black nature enthusiasts around the world. Monday is the #PostABird challenge, encouraging users to post a photo of any bird you might spot in the wild. Tuesday is #AskABlackBirder — a two-hour Q&A session with the Black Birders on Twitter from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM EST. Thursday is a livestream community discussion called #BirdingWhileBlack, and Friday is #BlackWomenWhoBird, dedicated to female black birders.

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Join NYC Audubon in celebrating #BlackBirdersWeek online from May 31 to June 5! This week-long celebration is organized by @blackafinstem, so please follow along on their Twitter and Instagram. Check out the hashtags #BlackinNature and #PostaBird to see the outpouring of engagement with yesterday and today’s prompts, and tune in tomorrow on Twitter at 7pm ET for #AskABlackBirder. We’ve inserted a piece by Dr. J. Drew Lanham, one of the many #Blackbirder’s we admire, in the link in our bio. We hope that our followers will read his words of wisdom, an excerpt from “The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature.” Please join us in acknowledging the experiences of Black birders and committing to ways of actively making our communities safer for them.

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The initiative is led by economist Anna Opoky-Agyeman, Jason Ward of the “Birds of North America” YouTube series, herpetologist Earyn McGee, and other experts and activists.

Corina Newsome, a graduate student at Georgia Southern University and one of the organizers of the event, said, “This effort was borne out of a large friend group of Black scientists and outdoor explorers who want to make sure the world knows that Black birders belong here, we are thriving, and our community is growing,” Newsome says. “We want members of our community who might be interested in birding and outdoor exploration to know that they are welcome here and to not be deterred by people who have attempted to make these spaces hostile to us. We are changing the face of birding.”

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