Last week was the first-ever Black Birders Week. Five days of virtual events and activities were organized by a group of Black STEM professionals and students who post online as #BlackAFinSTEM. Initially inspired by the racist incident in Central Park that involved Christian Cooper, a Black birder, the group hopes to raise visibility and connect bird lovers. Across the country, protests in support of Black Lives Matter are fighting against racism and police brutality. Online, birders are sharing their experiences about being #BlackinNature and highlighting the work of Black scientists, nature lovers and academics.
Debbie Archer is the coordinator of the education program at Audubon Vermont, and she has been birding for a decade. Eva met Debbie at the Green Mountain Audubon Center in Huntington to go on an early morning bird walk. They encountered a veery and a yellow-bellied sapsucker and talked about the experience of #BirdingWhileBlack.
Eva also spoke via Zoom to Tykee James, one of the co-organizers of the event who is also a birder, a podcast host and a coordinator of government affairs for the National Audubon Society. Tykee spoke about the connection between racial justice and environmental progress and the importance of visibility, representation and hiring people of color in the fields of natural sciences.
Filming birds is not Eva’s forte so many thanks to Vermont photographer Peter Riley for sharing some of his wonderful bird photos with us for this video.