Sunday, 20 November 2016

Forster's Tern, Essex

On Sunday 20 November 2016 we travelled to Mistley Quay in Essex to see a Forster's Tern. The bird had been seen the afternoon before, but we were due to see Mike Dilger speak at the Somerset Wildlife Trust AGM and so had to wait.

We turned up to the site to hear that the bird had been seen further along the river. We then drove past Mistley Quay, to where the bird had been seen. Unfortunately it had flown off 10 minutes before and so we headed back. This was what happened for the first few hours, chasing the bird up and down the river.

Finally, we decided to stay put at Mistely Quay itself and hope the bird flies past us.  It was now afternoon and it was cold standing there by the riverside.

Eventually, the first winter Forster's Tern flew up river from the right, coming in pretty close and giving us a good scope view. After a few minutes, the tern carried on flying and so I didn't get a photograph because of the fence between me and the bird.

This was another good bird for the autumn, which was a new bird for me. Apparently, this was my sister Ayesha's 400th bird on her British list.



Forster's Tern twitch



Forster's Tern twitch




About the Author


Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in Antarctica
Photograph copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



Mya-Rose Craig is a 14 year old young British Bangladeshi birder, naturalist, conservationist, environmentalist, activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She loved seeing Mountain Gorillas in East Africa and Penguins in Antarctica over Christmas 2015, her 7th continent.

Mya-Rose was a Bristol European Green Capital Ambassador along with Kevin McCloud, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tony Juniper, Simon King, Miranda Krestovnikoff and Shaun the Sheep! See the full list of Bristol Ambassadors. She has also been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people
She organised a conference in June 2016 aiming to increase the ethnic diversity in nature. Please connect with her on LinkedIn (Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig) so that she can invite you to join the Race Equality in Nature LinkedIn Group and be part of the change. Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter








Friday, 11 November 2016

RSPB & Cairngorms Nature Young Presenter Competition 2016

In October 2016, I entered a competition run by the RSPB and Cairngorms Nature which was a young presenter competition. This is my film http://bit.ly/2eftRmj


I wanted to be different from the usual films on badgers and foxes and also wanted to do something educational about birds. When 24 rare Great White Egrets turned up at my local patch Chew Valley Lake, I had the perfect choice.  For me, that was more important than choosing something that would be popular with the general public.

On the day I was filming, all my ideas for camera angles and heights I was going to stand, sit and crouch at had to be forgotten. We managed to find tiny spot in an enclosed area where I could stand  with the lake behind. I had the microphone tucked under my coat but you could still hear the wind blowing. It was only after I borrowed my Dad's scarf and put that over the microphone that we could do any filming.  By this point were starting to lose light, so we didn't have long to get the filming done.  I learnt a lot from the experience and in a way was glad that we didn't do lots of takes as I'm sure the professional nature TV presenters don't have that luxury and it makes you more able to speak on live TV.

I watched lots of the other videos only after mine was done, as I didn't want to be influenced by others. It was a real shame that I was the only ethnic minority young person to enter, especially as lots I know are into film-making. I will be contacting Cairngorms Nature and RSPB about the competition after the result as I think that they need to advertise and promote the competition where Minority Ethnic young people will see it and then encourage them to enter. When the results recently came out I was delighted to be in the final eight, but was disappointed that there was only myself and one other girl in the final eight. I did not understand this as I saw some excellent girls who entered. It would be interesting to know whether there were more men than women on the judging panel, as people tend to like kids like themselves.


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



It was interesting because the voting  for this competition is meant to be about who will inspire young people to like nature. I think that this should be someone who will inspire boys and girls and all ethnicities. However, by having a winner chosen by public vote only, where most birders are men who are likely to choose a boy who reminds them of themselves as a child or of the male presenters already on TV, I wonder if we'll ever get a girl winning. I am certainly interested in how myself and the other girl will do, though unless one of us wins, we'll never know how we got on.

One option for next year might be to have a public vote but then for the judging panel (made up of men, women and Minority Ethnic people) choose the winner from the top 3 voted by the public. So long as they chose who would inspire everyone  this would overcome the problems and ensure a fairer and more diverse outcome.


Thank you to Alice Owen, Omar Badr, Nardine Groch & Olivia Frost from the UWE MA Wildlife Film-making Course for their help with the filming. 


Vote for me if you think I will mot inspire the widest rage of young people. Thank you.




About the Author

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in Antarctica
Photograph copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



Mya-Rose Craig is a 14 year old young British Bangladeshi birder, naturalist, conservationist, environmentalist, activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She loved seeing Mountain Gorillas in East Africa and Penguins in Antarctica over Christmas 2015, her 7th continent.

Mya-Rose was a Bristol European Green Capital Ambassador along with Kevin McCloud, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tony Juniper, Simon King, Miranda Krestovnikoff and Shaun the Sheep! See the full list of Bristol Ambassadors. She has also been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people
She organised a conference in June 2016 aiming to increase the ethnic diversity in nature. Please connect with her on LinkedIn (Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig) so that she can invite you to join the Race Equality in Nature LinkedIn Group and be part of the change. Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter












Monday, 7 November 2016

Interview on Bristol's Ujima Radio

Recently, I did a radio interview with John Kennington at inner city Ujima Radio for their programme of Minority Ethnic elders.

I talked about Black2Nature, about how the majority of Minority Ethnic old people were born "back home" in rural places where they were able to play outside outside as children and connect with nature. I wanted them to talk about their experiences and make that connection between their inner city dwelling grandchildren and their rural heritage.

This is the link to a radio interview I did that was aired on Monday on Bristol's Ujima Radio http://listen-again.ujimaradio.com/index.php?id=32281

I will be interview some Minority Ethnic elders about their childhood experiences in nature for a Ujima Radio programme due to be aired in January 2017.




About the Author

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in Antarctica
Photograph copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



Mya-Rose Craig is a 14 year old young British Bangladeshi birder, naturalist, conservationist, environmentalist, activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She loved seeing Mountain Gorillas in East Africa and Penguins in Antarctica over Christmas 2015, her 7th continent.

Mya-Rose was a Bristol European Green Capital Ambassador along with Kevin McCloud, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tony Juniper, Simon King, Miranda Krestovnikoff and Shaun the Sheep! See the full list of Bristol Ambassadors. She has also been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people
She organised a conference in June 2016 aiming to increase the ethnic diversity in nature. Please connect with her on LinkedIn (Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig) so that she can invite you to join the Race Equality in Nature LinkedIn Group and be part of the change. Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter













Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Articles about Black to Nature in The Wildlife Trusts' Magazines



In November 2017, an article that I wrote about my Race Equality in Nature Conference and my Black2Nature project appeared in The Wildlife Trusts Winter Magazine, Natural World. The Magazine is read by all members of the individual Wildlife Trusts, to a huge 880,000 people.

I wrote about my experience as a young minority ethnic naturalist, noticing the lack of other minority ethnic people and how important it was to get more people engaged in nature.

I wrote about Camp Avalon which took place in June 2015 and 2016, what I learnt from that and my Race Equality in Nature Conference in June 2016.

The article contained some of the findings from the conference when we looked at the barriers to Minority Ethnic people getting out into nature, what can be done to overcome the barriers and how to create role models. 

Lots of people contacted me to say how important my article was and that in the future people would look back and say that it was when the issue came to many people's notice.









The week after the Natural World Magazine arrived, my Wildlife Watch Magazine arrived with my article inside about Camp Avalon, inviting young people to come and take part. It was really funny because my friends at The Wildlife Trust head office thought that it was the first time that someone had articles in both magazines at the same time!






About the Author

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in Antarctica
Photograph copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


Mya-Rose Craig is a 14 year old young British Bangladeshi birder, naturalist, conservationist, environmentalist, activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She loved seeing Mountain Gorillas in East Africa and Penguins in Antarctica over Christmas 2015, her 7th continent.

Mya-Rose was a Bristol European Green Capital Ambassador along with Kevin McCloud, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tony Juniper, Simon King, Miranda Krestovnikoff and Shaun the Sheep! See the full list of Bristol Ambassadors. She has also been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people
She organised a conference in June 2016 aiming to increase the ethnic diversity in nature. Please connect with her on LinkedIn (Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig) so that she can invite you to join the Race Equality in Nature LinkedIn Group and be part of the change. Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter


















Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Race Equality in Nature Conference - Black2Nature


Camelia Chowdhury



Bill Oddie and Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


On 3 June 2016 I organised a conference at Bristol Zoo called Race Equality in Nature which was sponsored by Bristol Zoo Gardens, The Wildlife Trusts, WWT, Swarovski Optik, Opticron, AFON, Bristol Multi Faith Forum (BMFF), Imayla, CASS and Brian Eversham. I am very grateful to all the sponsors and those who helped, without whom I could not have arranged the conference.


Stephen Moss


Panel


The speakers were myself opening, Bill Oddie, Kerry McCarthy (Environment Secretary at the time), Stephen Moss (broadcaster), Dr Richard Benwell (WWT), Jini Reddy (naturalist) & Experts in Race Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Monira Ahmed Chowdhury (CASS), Lily Khandker (BMFF), & Rachel De Garang. The speakers had a wide range of expertise to contribute.






The conference considered why there is in equality in access to nature by Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people by first identifying the barriers to BAME people accessing nature and secondly identifying who these barriers can be overcome, with a special additional focus on role models. 



85 people attended the conference from a diverse range of backgrounds including many of the nature charities, BBC NHU, Media, Universities, National Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, BAME people and those working with BAME communities such as housing, education and mental and physical health. It was the first time that so many people from such varied backgrounds and professions had got together to talk through the issues, with BAME led lively and honest discussions in workshops.



Introduction 

The conference came from the starting point that there is an inequality of access by BAME people to nature and that this was in addition to the effects of inner city deprivation, as concluded in the February 2016 Natural England Report. 

It then considered why and how there is this inequality by identifying the barriers to BAME people accessing nature, how these barriers can be overcome, with a special additional focus on role models. 

Action

The biggest challenge following the conference is how to make change? 

It was agreed, amongst other things:
  • To set up a group, which has been set up in LinkedIn, Race Equality in Nature 
  • Ask universities, AFON/NGB etc to identify BAME people studying nature subjects and members 
  • To set up a Whatsapp group of BAME naturalists, for mentoring & support 
  • To chose a snazzy project name (Black2Nature) and obtain funding 
  • To recruit an employee with expertise in race equality, diversity and inclusion and ideally nature to collaborate with nature charities & media, schools and universities etc 
  • Where possible, initiatives are BAME led 
  • To promote the project with BAME led articles and workshops 
  • Nature TV needs to meet commissioners quotas (see Linkedin Group “The ‘D’ Word”) 
  • Nature NGO’s to priortise recruiting BAME people for HR, Marketing & Finance roles 
Objectives 

Seeking equal access to nature for BAME people is a valid and justifiable aim. 

Due to nature organisations being almost all white, there was an ingrained lack of understanding of BAME communities and at times arrogance about this missing knowledge which acts as a hindrance. For this reason projects need to be BAME led where possible, which can happen through collaboration. 

Many barriers are within the BAME communities with those working within them having a lack of expertise in engaging people with nature. Hence, the need for collaboration with nature NGO’s. 

Nature charities/media need to engage in the project from highest levels, so that all staff can be trained and bought-in. For examples, to stop staff stating unhelpful things such as that the organisation is colourblind (we all see colour and so playing field needs to be leveled to compensate for stereotypes). 

It is important to involve political policymakers to highlight local/central funding needed 

Role Models 

In terms of role models for BAME people, we agreed that it was important to nurture young BAME naturalists as soon they show interest because support is needed from the earliest opportunity to help them overcome barriers. 

BAME mentors and champions are needed, be trained on the issues, to give a tailored scheme. Those from other professions can help support with general careers advice, internships/volunteering, isolation, lack of family understanding, racism and prejudice. 

Schools/universities need to encourage and educate BAME teenagers and their parents to choose degrees in biological sciences gain interest in careers in nature and conservation. 

Documents 

Conference Documents - 

Conference Documents Appendix 1.1 -

Conference Documents Appendix 1.2 -


The Natural Environment White Paper (2011) sets out the Government’s ambition to strengthen connections between people and nature, and in particular ‘for every child to be able to experience and learn in the natural environment’. The White Paper acknowledges that the “opportunities to benefit from spending time in natural environments are currently not open to everyone”, which can contribute to health and other inequalities. 

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Select Committee inquiry into the Natural Environment White Paper called for DEFRA to set a target to increase public engagement with nature and for the Department for Health (DoH) and the Department for Education (DoE) to define measurements which demonstrate how greater public engagement with nature delivers gains in public health and education. 

So Natural England in partnership with DEFRA, Public Health England, Historic England (previously English Heritage) and King’s College London launched a 2 year pilot to develop a national indicator for children’s access to the natural environment. This led to the February 2016 report, confirming with statistics what was concluded before. The results highlighted “clear social inequalities in how children are accessing natural environments, with both their ethnicity and socio-economic status having a detrimental impact”. 

Mya-Rose Craig - 30 Days Wild for BAME people


About the Author

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in Antarctica
Photograph copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig



Mya-Rose Craig is a 14 year old young British Bangladeshi birder, naturalist, conservationist, environmentalist, activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She loved seeing Mountain Gorillas in East Africa and Penguins in Antarctica over Christmas 2015, her 7th continent.

Mya-Rose was a Bristol European Green Capital Ambassador along with Kevin McCloud, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tony Juniper, Simon King, Miranda Krestovnikoff and Shaun the Sheep! See the full list of Bristol Ambassadors. She has also been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people
She organised a conference in June 2016 aiming to increase the ethnic diversity in nature. Please connect with her on LinkedIn (Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig) so that she can invite you to join the Race Equality in Nature LinkedIn Group and be part of the change. Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter