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#BlackBirdersWeek aims to raise awareness, grow community

Jason and Jeffrey Ward and Corina Newsome are among the well-known Black birders involved in the project. Photos courtesy of the Ward brothers and Katherine Arntzen/Georgia Southern University

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.

The project is called #BlackBirdersWeek, and it will take place from Sunday, May 31, through Friday, June 5. Anyone who is interested should follow the hashtag #BlackBirdersWeek on Twitter and Instagram.

Activities will begin on Sunday with #BlackInNature “to celebrate Black nature enthusiasts everywhere.” A two-hour Q&A on Twitter with the hashtag #AskABlackBirder is also slated. See the full list of events at right.

Leaders of the initiative include Anna Opoku-Agyeman, an economist and co-founder and CEO of the Sadie Collective; Jason Ward of the “Birds of North America” YouTube series; his brother Jeffrey Ward, a science communicator; Corina Newsome, a graduate student at Georgia Southern University studying the Seaside Sparrow; Tykee James, host of the podcast OnWord4Wildlife; and herpetologist Earyn McGee, a PhD candidate at the University of Arizona. You can find the full list of organizers at this Twitter link.

“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.”

Newsome also posted this video message on Twitter announcing the project: 

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