Sunday, 29 December 2019

The Observer Article about the need for diversity in nature writing By Stephen Moss


Last month, broadcaster and author Stephen Moss interviewed me about the lack of diversity in nature writing. I also referred him to Zakiya Mackenzie a brilliant VME nature writer.

This the piece that went into The Observer/The Guardian as an online article.


It is really important that VME people are given the opportunity to write authentically and honestly, allowing them to have a true voice.




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, race activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes posts about birding, nature conservation,  environmental issues and racism from around the world. 

Mya-Rose has been organising nature camps for teenagers since 2015, Camp Avalon, and nature camps for children, Camp Chew, since 2017. She has organised nine camps since then and is organising more for 2020. She also wrote to five of the biggest NGO's in 2015, after her first camp, asking them what steps they were taking to make their organisations ethnically diverse. 

Her first camp led to her organise a conference in 2016, Race Equality in Nature, aiming to increase the ethnic diversity in nature by looking at the barriers to Visual Minority Ethnic (VME) people going out into nature, what can be done to overcome these barriers and how we can create VME role models. She had speakers Bill Oddie and Kerry McCarthy MP. She also organised a second conference, Race Equality in Nature: The Next Generation 13-30 in October 2019 with Speakers Chris Packham, Bristol Deputy Mayor, Councillor Asher Craig, and RSPB CEO Beccy Speight.

She has also set up Black2Nature with the aim of working with organisations to increase the access to nature of VME 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 was a Bristol European Green Capital Ambassador along with Kevin McCloud, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tony Juniper, Simon King and Miranda Krestovnikoff. 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 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.   She is involved with Extinction Rebellion, setting up a local group. This is an interview in New Statesman. She has written articles for Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine, New Internationalist, The Big Issue and was listed as a local hero in The Guardian.


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 https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-the-silent-roars-2017-online. She has also appeared on Channel 4 News, local BBC News and BBC2's Hugh's Wild West.



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 and was nominated in the Birders' Choice Awards 2019 as Conservation Hero of the Year with Sir David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot.


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 half the birds of the world, 5369 birds in Brazil in August  2019 age 17. 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 helenabcraig@hotmail.co.uk.







Sunday, 1 December 2019

Equality in Nature: Making Wildlife Films Relevant to everyone


Birdgirl Filming with Jonathan Franzen (USA author) in California

Birdgirl Filming with Jonathan Franzen (USA author) in California



The environmental & wildlife TV sector has extremely low numbers of Visible Minority Ethnic (VME) people when looking in front of and behind the camera. It employs a huge number of people around the country including many in Bristol, which has the BBC Natural History Unit as well as 60 production companies. The sector is also poor on diversity generally.



I and Black2Nature have been campaigning for almost 5 years to make the sector ethnically diverse so that our communities have role models and make VME people feel that nature and the environment are something they should be interested in. The aim is to come up with practical ways to make wildlife films relevant to VME communities so that VME audiences gain an interest in watching programmes from this sector. This is to follow on from the conferences I organised in June 2016 and October 2019. 



This conference is being held in conjunction with Wildscreen Festival & University of Bristol at The Wills Memorial Building, Queens Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1RJ.



The cost will be fixed soon but there will be free tickets available for those who can not afford to pay including young people, students, community organisations, small film-making organisations, freelance people and staff from the secondary and higher education).


To book: Eventbrite will be available once speakers confirmed



What we will cover


We will have a panel discussion on quality, diversity and inclusion within the sector in terms of those working within the sector and the stories being told and to whom. 

We will also consider in a panel what and who are the barriers or potential barriers to wildlife films being made that are relevant or of interest to VME people, such as by location, species or other kinds of content.  In particular, we will consider whether it is possible to make programmes that are more accessible to those who are not already engaging with nature.

We will have two masterclasses, to choose from. One for sector leaders in covering overall policies and successfully implementing them and one for anyone working in the sector to consider the barriers and overcoming them.



Speakers

TBC but will include names you know from the sector.



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.

Unless the sector can start making wildlife programmes that are relevant to VME people, they will continue without nature role models who can harness interest in nature and environmental issues.




Programme - 13.30  - 19.00



13.30 - 14.00   Registration & refreshments

14.00 - 14.05   Rich Pancost - Welcome from UWE & housekeeping (provisional)

14.05 - 14.15   Mya-Rose Craig - Welcome & making wildlife film-making relevant


14.15 - 15.15 Panel Discussion 1



15.15 - 16.15 Panel Discussion 2

16.15 - 16.35 Key Note Speaker



16.35 - 17.20 Masterclasses, best practice & toolkits - choose 1

1 - Practical steps for wildlife film-makers 

2 - Masterclass for Sector Leaders and commissioners


17.20 - 17.30 Mya-Rose Craig, Closing notes

17.30 - 19.00 Refreshments & networking


Sponsors

Thank you to Wildscreen Festival for partnering with us, the University of Bristol for providing a venue and Icon Films and Plimsoll Productions for sponsoring the event.

Please let me know if you can sponsor this event. Thank you.


Who should attend

It is intended that attendees will include (but not limited to) leaders from wildlife, nature and environmental film-making, programme commissioners, those working in this sector and in nature media and universities offering biological science, ecology, wildlife, nature conservation or similar courses, Visible Minority Ethnic (VME) naturalists, groups working with VME and Faith communities, Bristol City Council leaders, 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, race activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes posts about birding, nature conservation,  environmental issues and racism from around the world. 

Mya-Rose has been organising nature camps for teenagers since 2015, Camp Avalon, and nature camps for children, Camp Chew, since 2017. She has organised nine camps since then and is organising more for 2020. She also wrote to five of the biggest NGO's in 2015, after her first camp, asking them what steps they were taking to make their organisations ethnically diverse. 

Her first camp led to her organise a conference in 2016, Race Equality in Nature, aiming to increase the ethnic diversity in nature by looking at the barriers to Visual Minority Ethnic (VME) people going out into nature, what can be done to overcome these barriers and how we can create VME role models. She had speakers Bill Oddie and Kerry McCarthy MP. She also organised a second conference, Race Equality in Nature: The Next Generation 13-30 in October 2019 with Speakers Chris Packham, Bristol Deputy Mayor, Councillor Asher Craig, and RSPB CEO Beccy Speight.

She has also set up Black2Nature with the aim of working with organisations to increase the access to nature of VME 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 was a Bristol European Green Capital Ambassador along with Kevin McCloud, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tony Juniper, Simon King and Miranda Krestovnikoff. 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 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.   She is involved with Extinction Rebellion, setting up a local group. This is an interview in New Statesman. She has written articles for Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine, New Internationalist, The Big Issue and was listed as a local hero in The Guardian.


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 https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-the-silent-roars-2017-online. She has also appeared on Channel 4 News, local BBC News and BBC2's Hugh's Wild West.



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 and was nominated in the Birders' Choice Awards 2019 as Conservation Hero of the Year with Sir David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot.


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 half the birds of the world, 5369 birds in Brazil in August  2019 age 17. 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 helenabcraig@hotmail.co.uk.







Thursday, 24 October 2019

My Article in Resurgence and Ecologist Magazine

This is an article I have written for Resurgence and Ecologist Magazine, about the racism within the nature conservation and environmental sector and the need for the sectors to become ethnically diverse.




"If the environmental sector fails to become ethnically diverse, it fails to bring on board an increasingly large section of our society. It will not have the widespread support it needs to stop climate breakdown, create sustainable cities or save the million species that are predicted to become extinct. We have to engage everyone in our society if we are to succeed in turning the tide of the environmental crisis."



The photograph was taken by Oliver Edwards for Scouts Magazine


A selection of articles (and accompanying images) from each issue from Resurgence and Ecologist are available as ‘free to read’ online and help to generate greater awareness about ecological issues and share new ideas, analysis and inspiration with both new and existing readers. You can find my article in the November/December 2019 Magazine.


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, race activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes posts about birding, nature conservation,  environmental issues and racism from around the world. 

Mya-Rose has been organising nature camps for teenagers since 2015, Camp Avalon, and nature camps for children, Camp Chew, since 2017. She has organised nine camps since then and is organising more for 2020. She also wrote to five of the biggest NGO's in 2015, after her first camp, asking them what steps they were taking to make their organisations ethnically diverse. 

Her first camp led to her organise a conference in 2016, Race Equality in Nature, aiming to increase the ethnic diversity in nature by looking at the barriers to Visual Minority Ethnic (VME) people going out into nature, what can be done to overcome these barriers and how we can create VME role models. She had speakers Bill Oddie and Kerry McCarthy MP. She also organised a second conference, Race Equality in Nature: The Next Generation 13-30 in October 2019 with Speakers Chris Packham, Bristol Deputy Mayor, Councillor Asher Craig, and RSPB CEO Beccy Speight.

She has also set up Black2Nature with the aim of working with organisations to increase the access to nature of VME 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 was a Bristol European Green Capital Ambassador along with Kevin McCloud, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tony Juniper, Simon King and Miranda Krestovnikoff. 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 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.   She is involved with Extinction Rebellion, setting up a local group. This is an interview in New Statesman. She has written articles for Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine, New Internationalist, The Big Issue and was listed as a local hero in The Guardian.


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 https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-the-silent-roars-2017-online. She has also appeared on Channel 4 News, local BBC News and BBC2's Hugh's Wild West.




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 and was nominated in the Birders' Choice Awards 2019 as Conservation Hero of the Year with Sir David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot.


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 half the birds of the world, 5369 birds in Brazil in August  2019 age 17. 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 helenabcraig@hotmail.co.uk.











Sunday, 20 October 2019

Camp Chew - Advance Bookings for July 2020



BLACK2NATURE 
CAMP CHEW

Saturday to Sunday July 2019


Camp Chew 2017
Copyright Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig


I have been running camps for primary age children in the Chew Valley since 2017. I have had around 150 children attend since then and each one has gone home having had an amazing time, got connected with nature and made new friends. We also make time to play sport and learn how o use the outdoors to relax.

We will talk about nature, how you can learn to enjoy it and use it to help your mental health, what's becoming extinct, what is happening environmentally, why you should care and how you can be an activist, fighting for your future.


Make an advance booking onto this amazing nature camp for young people aged 8-11 years. Into its 3rd year, Camp Chew has attracted a number of children to Chew Valley Lake near Bristol, to spend a night birding and getting involved with nature.  It is aimed at those who have no experience of nature and have never been to the countryside or camped as well as those already interested in being outdoors. 

In 2020 we hope to have lots of children who are Visible Minority Ethnic (VME) and or live in the city's areas of deprivation as well as those who live in the countryside. We will have plenty of activities for all those attending. 


Book onto this amazing nature camp for children aged 7-11 years. The camp is organised by Black2Nature who have been organising nature camps for inner-city Visible Minority Ethnic (VME) children and young people since 2015. The primary age children come to Camp Chew which takes place in Compton Martin in the Chew Valley just south of Bristol to spend the weekend birding and getting involved with nature. 






Camp Chew March 2019
Copyright Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig





It is aimed at children who have no experience of nature and in many cases have never been to the countryside or camped. One of our aims is to promote community cohesion and so we encourage children from all backgrounds and areas to attend, as well as those already with a keen interest in nature who we hope will share their passion. 



Camp Chew March 2019
Copyright Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig


Camp Chew March 2019
Copyright Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig



We take safety very seriously and so girls and boys sleep in separate tents with adults sleeping at the entrance, making it impossible for strangers to enter undetected. DBS checked adults will be supervising the children at all times. All food prepared at the camp is vegetarian. We may offer halal fish and chips and a vegetarian option for lunch on Saturday if this is available. Otherwise, we will be having a picnic lunch.



Camp Chew - Saturday 




Sports at Camp Chew March 2019
Copyright Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig



10.00 am Pick up St Paul's Learning Centre

11.00 am Drop off CMAF for Chew Valley children



Activities


















Setting up camp 
Camp cooking
Socialising/rugby & parachute sessions
Dinner by campfire


Camp Chew - Sunday




Camp Chew 2017
Copyright Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig 


Camp Chew March 2019
Copyright Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig



5.00 pm Pick up CMAF & finish


6.00 pm Drop off St Paul's Learning Centre 

- when parents and siblings are asked to meet and                                        share memories of the camp


Activities


Bird ringing
Mothing

Nature walk
Birdwatching from hides
Growing food at The Community Farm
Sports activities such as football/cricket
Ice-creams



Please see separate kit list & ask your children to bring only 1 small packet of veggie sweets/snacks, drop nothing & recycle everything 

Camp Chew – Programme



Saturday

All activities dependent on weather


6.00 pm – 7.00 pm (CMAF)
Set up camp, camp cooking, sports & time to socialize

7.00 pm – 8.00 pm (CMAF)
Dinner by the campfire & toasting marshmallows


Sunday


7.45 am – 8.30 am (CMAF) Camp breakfast



8.45 am - 11.15 am (CVRS)
Bird ringing demonstration and looking at moths



11.15 am – 11.30 am (CVRS)
Refreshments 


11.45 am – 1.15 pm (CVLPS)
Farming workshop & lunch


1.30 pm – 3.45 pm (CVL)
Birdwatching in bird hides & nature walk


4.00 pm - 4.30 pm (CVLHB)
Ice-creams

5.00 pm (CMAF)
Pick up and finish 


Key to locations

CMAF – Compton Martin Amenity Field, The Street, Compton Martin, Bristol, BS40 6JN


CVRS – Chew Valley Ringing Station, Bishop Sutton, Bristol, BS40 6HN (from Herriots Bridge turnright opposite mirror)



CVLHB - Chew Valley Lake, Herriots Bridge, A368, Bishop Sutton, Bristol, BS40 8XS



CVL – Chew Valley Lake using Morton Hide accessed from the B1134, coming from CMAF turn right between the Blue Bowl and Herons Green.



Camp Chew March 2019
Copyright Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig

Cost

£10.00 per person (or £15 for two siblings)


Grants

Free places are available to those children who would otherwise not be able to come for example who are from areas of deprivation, are VME or are disadvantaged. Camp Avalon recognises that there are almost no young birders from VME backgrounds and so hope that these grants will encourage disadvantaged children to be able to attend. All equipment needed will also be loaned for the weekend.


Black2Nature



Thank you to Compton Martin Village Hall and the many people who have supported Black2Nature and these camps and to Chew Valley Ringing Station and the birders who have offered their time in order to pass on their knowledge to young birders. Thank you also to Yeo Valley for the donation of ice-cream and butter.


Thank you to Opticron for the donation of five pairs of compact binoculars and discounted optical equipment to this project and to Bristol Ornithological Society for the donation of binoculars.

Thank you also to Go Outdoors for discounted camping equipment and Blenheim Scouts for discounted use of their minibus.



Thank you also to Burns Price Foundation, Quartet Community Funding, Community Access Support Services and Alpkit for helping to fund our projects. 



Transport

Free transport is available to and from Bristol, with pickup from St Paul's Learning Centre, Grosvenor Road, Bristol BS2 8JX.



How to Book

Please e-mail helenabcraig@hotmail.co.uk with your name, address, phone number and date of birth and your child's name and date of birth with any dietary requirements. Please also get in touch if you would like to get involved by volunteering.




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, race activist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes posts about birding, nature conservation,  environmental issues and racism from around the world. 

Mya-Rose has been organising nature camps for teenagers since 2015, Camp Avalon, and nature camps for children, Camp Chew, since 2017. She has organised nine camps since then and is organising more for 2020. She also wrote to five of the biggest NGO's in 2015, after her first camp, asking them what steps they were taking to make their organisations ethnically diverse. 

Her first camp led to her organise a conference in 2016, Race Equality in Nature, aiming to increase the ethnic diversity in nature by looking at the barriers to Visual Minority Ethnic (VME) people going out into nature, what can be done to overcome these barriers and how we can create VME role models. She had speakers Bill Oddie and Kerry McCarthy MP. She also organised a second conference, Race Equality in Nature: The Next Generation 13-30 in October 2019 with Speakers Chris Packham, Bristol Deputy Mayor, Councillor Asher Craig, and RSPB CEO Beccy Speight.

She has also set up Black2Nature with the aim of working with organisations to increase the access to nature of VME 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 was a Bristol European Green Capital Ambassador along with Kevin McCloud, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tony Juniper, Simon King and Miranda Krestovnikoff. 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 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.   She is involved with Extinction Rebellion, setting up a local group. This is an interview in New Statesman. She has written articles for Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine, New Internationalist, The Big Issue and was listed as a local hero in The Guardian.


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 https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-the-silent-roars-2017-online. She has also appeared on Channel 4 News, local BBC News and BBC2's Hugh's Wild West.



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 and was nominated in the Birders' Choice Awards 2019 as Conservation Hero of the Year with Sir David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot.


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 half the birds of the world, 5369 birds in Brazil in August  2019 age 17. 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 helenabcraig@hotmail.co.uk.