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#bioPGH Blog: Black Birders Week
Jun 04

#bioPGH Blog: Black Birders Week

By Dr. Maria Wheeler-Dubas, Research and Science Education Outreach Manager

Biophilia NetworkA resource of Biophilia: Pittsburgh, #bioPGH is a weekly blog and social media series that aims to encourage both children and adults to reconnect with nature and enjoy what each of our distinctive seasons has to offer. 

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I am a bird nerd. I have attended Audubon Christmas Bird Counts for over a decade now. My husband and I have attended Kate St. John’s birding walks, gone on owl prowls, and often walk by ourselves in local country parks like Boyce or North Park and quiz ourselves on the bird calls we hear. While outside, though, we have rarely given a thought to what someone might think if they see us wandering around with binoculars, even at dusk or in the dark. That lack of concern is not true for everyone, though.

If you follow natural history pages and topics on social media, in the last few days you have probably come across sparks of celebration and belonging – Black Birders Week. Organized by a group of Black naturalists and birders on Twitter, Black Birders Week is a social media movement to celebrate and highlight the Black experience in the outdoors. The initiative arose as a response to a recent incident of racism in Central Park, and it has spread to become a global expression of acceptance and inclusion in the outdoors.

For a long time now, people of color in the US have not felt safe or welcomed into green spaces. A variety of organizations and coalitions around the country are working to address this (Outdoor Afro, Youth Outside, The Black Outdoors, Camber Outdoors, Diversify Outdoors, to name a few); but the social media movement this week is a step towards breaking the stereotypes of connecting to nature while Black or Brown, as well as serving as a vital reminder to us all that the outdoors are a space for everyone.

In honor of this movement, instead of focusing on a particular aspect of Western Pennsylvania biodiversity this week on the blog, we want to highlight the stories of #BlackBirdersWeek from Twitter. Let’s enjoy the beautiful images of nature, process the challenging stories, do our own work to combat racist stereotypes and embrace the fact that nature is for everyone.
















Cover, public domain; Header, Wikimedia Commons user Tony Hisgetta CC-BY-2.0


Thank you for finding and sharing these, Maria!

By Robert Mulvihill on Jun 4, 2020