Young Birder speaks out about equality in birding and becomes the youngest person to get a doctorate

I have been following the adventures of Birdgirl aka Mya-Rose Craig since the tv program that aired in 2010 called "Twitchers" came out and she was 7 years old. If you haven't seen Twitchers here is a clip that talks about Mya. From even that young age she was a force to be reckoned with.



She lives in Britain and is now 17 years old. She is miles ahead of her time and has now been awarded an honorary doctorate from Bristol University. She preaches about the benefits of diversity in birding and how she has struggled with racism in this hobby. For speaking out about racism she has also been criticized which is difficult for someone so young. It is sad a 17 year old had but any person of colour would tell you this is not unusual. For far too long it was generally believed that minorities do not enjoy birding or outdoor activities as much as Caucasians. Even the local outdoor company MEC had to start including Black and Asians in their ads due to intense criticism (see HERE). Mya is now the UK's youngest receiver of the Doctorate of Science from any university. Mya-Rose Craig has even met her hero David Attenborough already.

This young woman has created a progressive initiative called "Black2Nature." Black2Nature was created to help engage more youth from minority backgrounds into birding and conservation. She created youth camps for minority children and children who were poor so they too could have access to birding camps that they could not afford. She is a true hero!

As I said it is these young people who will bring hope to us all (including wildlife conservation) in the future. They are changing the old traditional face of birding to one that is more progressive and inclusive to all races, sexual orientations and genders.

This young woman is passionate and truly courageous. This doctorate was well deserved. It is imperative that we keep speaking-out about the inclusion of diverse races in the environmental movement. That is what I tried to do in the young birder program as well. Nature is for us all and it doesn't care what we look like, who we date or what we identify as. We all need to work together so that we can all contribute to make our planet better. 

To read the full story of this amazing young woman click HERE

Comments

  1. The community of birders and environmentalists of minority backgrounds will never afade away and it is imperative that they (us) are enabled more visibility. I watched the clip of Twitchers and Mya is a sharp young lady from day one who will continue to help change the face and perceptions of birding and environmental conservation and will continue to do great things in her life. Bravo, Mya!

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    1. thanks for your thoughtful words Shou. I appreciate you taking the time to post here. nature is definitely one thing everyone should have access to and feel safe and included in doing so. Birding groups should continue to promote diversity and inclusion. There are clubs in the US and canada (like the feminist bird club) that are actively promoting in a bold way that their groups are a safe haven for minorities, LGBTQ and everyone. We still need to work on that overt promotion here in BC. Mya is definitely helping to change the face of birding with her amazing work. The next generation is doing tons to bring awareness to conservation plights, intolerance and the importance of inclusion. they give me a lot of hope for the future.

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  2. I shared the news of her doctorate award on an all female identified Birder Facebook group (Mya-Rose's mother is a member of it) and it's getting tons of re-shares. Mel, I know you are not on Facebook so I wanted you to know of the celebration going on there. Mya-Rose is an exemplary human being.

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    1. thank you so much bryony for sharing the great news about mya. I'm glad this phenomenal young woman is getting the celebration she so rightly deserves.

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  3. Thanks for highlighting the work of this amazing young woman. It is great that a minority woman is getting recognized for her work in birding and encouraging other people of colour to be more visible in nature. It is fantastic that she was honoured with a doctorate degree!

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    1. Funny I've got some very critical posts and some racists posts that I will not approve in my comments. This is a minor she is 17 a child and it's despicable some are upset she got an honourary degree and despicable some racist trolls use racist language against me for posting this. AS A black woman and birder I am not afraid of the haters and will not give them the time of day especially when they put down a child. It shows though in 2020 from these trolls and from racist attacks around the world that her work is very important. We must continue to promote inclusivity always.

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    2. Thank you also for your comment this teen has done more good for humanity than most adults do in their lifetime she certainly deserves this degree. She did not get it due to celebrity or fame but for genuine good words building a youth group from nothing to support the overlooked and under-represent children in her community

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  4. Thanks so much for this post, Mel! And for telling me (us) about Mya-Rose Craig. She is indeed an inspiration and I hope that her work (especially Black2Nature) continues to get more humans involved in environmental movements around the world.
    I'm also really sorry to hear about the backlash you've received here or elsewhere from people who don't celebrate difference. One of the unfortunate things about birding (I think) is that it is still very much the purview of mostly white, mostly men (myself included obviously), probably because it requires free time and at least a little disposable income. I look forward to seeing more people in the field who look different from me! Go Mya-Rose go!
    As a side note: doctorates are given out for all kinds of reasons, so I don't really understand the criticism there. I myself have the "traditional" (dissertation-based) kind of doctorate. I'm very happy to share that commonality with Mya-Rose, even though (Frankly) what she has done in the face of so much headwind and cultural backlash would have been similarly, if not more, challenging that what I did for mine.

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    1. thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful post. it means a lot and your words are especially valuable since you have a doctorate. Your words were very touching about that too dear jim. thank you.

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