Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Race Equality in Nature: The Next Generation 13-30 Conference 2 Oct 2019 at UWE

Camp Avalon 2019

The environmental & wildlife TV sector is the second least ethnically diverse sector in the UK, at 0.6% Visible Minority Ethnic (VME), only after gardening, employing a huge number of people around the country including many in Bristol. 

I and Black2Nature have been campaigning for almost 5 years to make the sector ethnically diverse so that it engages VME people with nature and the environment. In that time, have organised 9 nature camps for inner-city VME teenagers. The aim is to come up with solutions that sector leaders can implement. This is to follow on from the conference I organised in 2016, before setting up Black to Nature. 

This conference is held in conjunction with the Biological Sciences department at UWE. Please get in touch if you can help with Sponsorship. 

Cost £50.00 (with free tickets available for those who can not afford to pay including young people, community organisations, small environmental organisations and UWE staff).

What we will cover

We will work through the journey of a VME teenager age 13, how to engage them with nature and the environment, helping them choose appropriate GCSE's and A-Levels, supporting them and their parents through the university application process (after persuading them and educating their parents about careers in conservation), supporting them on courses and workplaces that are almost entirely White British, ensuring none drop out due to isolation, racism and discrimination, closing the attainment gap, mentoring through paid internships, making the most of good work experience opportunities and guiding them through the early years of their careers to age 30.


Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor of Bristol

Beccy Speight, CEO RSPB
Chris Packham CBE, Naturalist, TV Presenter & Activist
Cleo Lake, Bristol Green Party Councillor 

Dr Emmanuel Adukwu, Senior Lecturer Biomedical Sciences, UWE Bristol
Eric Heath, Head of Land Management Avon Wildlife Trust & Wild Paths
Gene Joyner, CEO Better Food Company
Dr Lyn Newton, Head of Applied Sciences, UWE Bristol
Lara Lalemi, Student Bristol University & organiser of BME in STEM 2019 Conference

Dr Mark Steer, Lecturer Department Applied Sciences, UWE 
Mohammed Dhalech, Associate Director Centre for Public Policy Research & Rural Mosaic
Mohammed Saddiq, MD GENeco & Chair Bristol Green Capital Partnership 

Dr Mark Steer, Lecturer Applied Sciences, UWE
Mya-Rose Craig, President Black2Nature and environmental and race activist 
Peter Venn, Programme Leader MA Wildlife Film, UWE
Dr Stephanie Sargeant, Senior Lecturer, Environmental Science
Stephen Corry, CEO Survival International 

Tim Scoones, Consultant in Media, Ex Executive Producer at BBC Natural History Unit
Traci Lewis, Director, Catalyse Change
Tracy Patfield, Operations & Outreach Manager, Icon Films
Zakiya McKenzie, Nature Writer & Green & Black Ambassador

Why is this relevant you?

The lack of engagement with nature has a dramatic impact on: 

Physical and mental health - so a crucial issue for anyone working in VME health; and 

Educational attainment for our children and young people - so critical for anyone working in education.

Programme - 8.45 am - 4.30 pm

8.45 - 9.15   Registration & refreshments

9.15 - 9.20   Dr Lyn Newton - Welcome from UWE & housekeeping (provisional)
9.20 - 9.30   Mya-Rose Craig - Welcome & making nature relevant

9.30 - 10.15 Panel - Is the environmental sector racist?

Cleo Lake - Chair
Gene Joyner
Mohammed Dhalech

Stephen Corry 

10.15 - 11.00 Panel - Engaging VME communities in the  environmental sector
Mohammed Saddiq - Chair
Asher Craig
Beccy Speight
Eric Heath

11.00 - 11.30 Refreshments

11.30 - 12.15 Panel - VME young people & Environmental education
Dr Emmanuel Adukwu - Chair
Lara Lalemi
Dr Mark Steer
Traci Lewis

12.15 - 12.35 Chris Packham CBE - The need for ethnic diversity

12.35 - 13.30 Lunch and networking

13.30 - 14.15 Facilitated workshops, best practice & toolkits - choose 1
1 - Practical steps for environmental organisations
2 - Practical steps for environmental educators

14.15 - 14.45 Feedback from workshops by facilitators 

14.45 - 15.45 Panel - Making Wildlife TV & ethnically diverse
Dr Stephanie Sargeant- Chair
Peter Venn
Tim Scoones
Tracy Patfield
Zakiya McKenzie

15.45 - 15.50 UWE Dean’s address (provisional)
15.50 - 16.00 Mya-Rose Craig, Closing notes

16.00 - 16.30 Refreshments & networking


Thank you to UWE for providing a venue and sponsoring the event, Avon Wildlife Trust, Bristol Multi-Faith Forum, Greenpeace, Icon Films, Plimsoll Productions, The Wildlife Trusts and Wild Paths for sponsoring the event.

Who should attend

It is intended that attendees will include (but not limited to) those from nature conservation charities and universities offering biological science, ecology, wildlife, nature conservation or similar courses, BAME naturalists, representatives of young naturalists and conservationists, policymakers, groups working with BAME and Faith communities, nature media, BBC and other nature TV production companies, inner-city secondary schools especially Heads of Science and Geography, Councils and Park Services working in BAME areas, Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Girl Guides and Scouts, City Farms, optics companies and wildlife publishers as well as other interested organisations.

Social Media

We will be posting through the day. It would be fantastic if you could also share the day using the hashtag #raceequalityinnature. Please, can you follow and tag Mya-Rose Craig; Twitter @BirdgirlUK, FB myarosebirdgirlcraig, Instagram @birdgirluk and LinkedIn Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig.

About the Author

Young environmentalist and birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig
Copyright Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig 

Mya-Rose Craig is a 17-year-old young British Bangladeshi birder, naturalist, conservationist, environmentalist, activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes posts about birding, conservation and environmental issues from around the world. 

She has been involved in the UK organisation of the Youth Strikes encouraging young people from around the world to not go to school once a month and protest instead demanding immediate action to prevent climate breakdown. This is an interview in New Statesman.

She 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 four nature is helping to run four more in 2019. She also organised a conference, Race Equality in Nature, in June 2016 aiming to increase the ethnic diversity in nature and plans two more in 2019. She has also set up Black2Nature with the aim of working with organisations to increase the access to nature of Visible Minority Ethnic people and is President. 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. 

She has given over 50 talks, speaking at conferences such as being on a panel with George Monbiot and Caroline Lucas on Sustainability and the Future of Cities. She is a Minister in Chris Packham's Manifesto for Nature in 2018 and spoke in front of 10,000 people at the Walk for Nature. She has also appeared on TV and radio and is particularly proud of being in Silent Roars, a short film which was part of Listen to Britain 2017

She has been awarded the Bath and West Show Environmental Youth Award 2017 for Bristol for her Black2Nature work EYA 2017. She was also listed as one of Bristol's BME top 100 powerlist.

She loved seeing Mountain Gorillas in East Africa and Penguins in Antarctica over Christmas 2015, her 7th continent. She became the youngest person to see 5000 birds in 2019 age 16 and is looking forward to visiting Brazil birding in 2019 and hopes to see half the birds in the world there. Please also like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter. If you would like to contact Mya-Rose about her work, please e-mail

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