‘Black Birders Week’ Promotes Diversity and Takes on Racism in the Outdoors

Last Friday morning, four days after a video of a racist incident in New York’s Central Park swept across the internet, birder Corina Newsome posted a video to Twitter.

“For far too long, Black people in the United States have been shown that outdoor exploration activities are not for us,” she said, standing before a backdrop of lush spring foliage. “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. Well, we’ve decided to change that narrative.”

With this speech, Newsome, a biology graduate student at Georgia Southern University who studies Seaside Sparrows, announced the first ever Black Birders Week. Starting Sunday and running through this Friday, Black Birders Week includes five days of virtual events (none are scheduled for Wednesday), 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. 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.

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