Black2Nature & me

Black2Nature & me

I am President of an organisation called Black2Nature, which I set up when I was 14 years old and is Visible Minority Ethnic (VME) led.  We campaign for equal access to nature for all, especially VME communities who are currently excluded from the countryside. We run nature camps,  arrange nature activities, organise race equality in nature conferences and campaign to make the nature conservation and environmental sectors ethnically diverse.

If you are able to donate money to us or you are able to volunteer for the nature camps or helping behind the scenes please contact equalityinnature@gmail.com.

I have organised eight nature camps for inner-city mainly VME children and teenagers, getting them engaged in nature by making it relevant to them and having plenty of VME role models. The most popular sessions are those where the young people can get close up to wildlife like bird ringing, mothing and even bio blitzes. The young people are all individuals and so, as such, like different sessions. The camp for teenagers is called Camp Avalon and is 2 nights and takes place on the Somerset Levels near Glastonbury. The camp for primary age children is called Camp Chew and is for 1 night and takes place in Compton Martin in the Chew Valley. Other activities are birding, nature sketching, nature photography, making nest boxes, looking for Nightjar, bats, mammal traps and camera traps.

Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig at Camp Avalon 2015
Photograph copyright young brder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig

Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig bird ringing & holding a Marsh Tit
Photograph copyright young brder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig

We ensure the young people attending our camps come from a varied background including different VME backgrounds and religions, White British young people from areas of deprivation within the city as well as those from affluent backgrounds in the countryside where they have little contact with VME young people with strong customs faiths. It is really important for community cohesion for the young people to mix together and spend time with people they do not normally get time with, to break down barriers and reduce radicalisation on all sides.

Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig at Camp Chew 2017
Photograph copyright young brder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig

Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig at Camp Chew 2017
Photograph copyright young brder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig

After my first nature camp in 2015, I wrote to the CEO’s of the four biggest nature conservation NGO’s starting a conversation about the lack of diversity in their organisations, whether Trustees, staff, volunteers or members. I had a positive response from them but I decided that due to school I needed to meet them all together and save time!  The Natural England’s Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) Report March 2019 looked at how often children visited green spaces. 73% of none-VME children visited frequently, which drops to 57 % for VME. 75% of children from higher socio-economic groups (A & B) visited frequently whilst 65% for lower socioeconomic groups (C & D). Therefore, clearly, race and ethnicity have a larger impact than poverty, although this does have an impact.

Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig at Camp Avalon 2016 Photograph copyright young birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig

I have interviewed VME elders about their lives growing up “back home”. All talked about their rural childhoods, swimming, being out in nature and helping with family smallholdings. However, their grandchildren’s generation mistakenly thinks their heritage is urban, however, we can still engage them by referring back to their country of ethnic origin. 83% of British people live in cities, with a disproportionate number of VME living in bleak inner cities. NGO’s must, therefore, start to communicate with people from all ethnicities and backgrounds. The starting point is for their HR, IT and Finance teams to become ethnically diverse, which leads to improved performance. Therefore, these discussions led me to organise a conference in June 2016, called Race Equality in Nature Conference kindly sponsored by Bristol Zoo which I opened and then with the Key Speakers being Bill Oddie, Kerry McCarthy, Stephen Moss, Dr Richard Benwell, Monira Ahmed Chowdhury, Rachel De Garang & Jini Reddy and lots of experts in race equality, diversity and inclusion. Those who were there commented that it was the first time that those working in conservation had met and discussed the issues with those from BME communities or experts in racism. We had workshops on what were the barriers to VME people getting out into nature, what could be done to overcome the hurdles and creating VME role models.

Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig with Bill Oddie at Race Equality in Nature Conference 2016
Photograph copyright young birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig
Young Scots at Race Equality in Nature Conference 2016Photograph copyright young birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig

Since 2015, I have been leading the campaign to make the environmental sector diverse. Of environmental professions, only 0.6% are VME the second-worst sector for diversity after only agricultural ownership. I have had meetings with many of the leaders of conservation organisations, speaking at conferences and writing on the topic. This is an article that I wrote for the Chartered Institute of Ecology & Environmental Management. I was also the Minister for Diversity in Conservation in Chris Packham’s People’s Manifesto for Wildlife and was the first speaker at his People’s Walk for Wildlife.   I and Black2Nature organised another conference with Emmanuel Adukwu at UWE Bristol which took place on 2nd October 2019 called Race Equality in Nature: The Next Gen 13-30. As set out above and would like to invite you to take part. The speakers including Asher Craig (Bristol Deputy Mayor), Cleo Lake (Bristol councillor for the Green Party),  Zakiya McKenzie (Black & Green Ambassador), Lara Lemi (Bristol University STEM student and organiser of BMEinSTEM Conference, Chris Packham (Nature presenter), Stephen Corry (CEO Survival International) and Becky Speight (CEO RSPB). The conference aimed to work through the journey of a VME young person, highlighting the racism within the sector that needed to be addressed.

Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig at Youth Strikes 2019
Photograph copyright young birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig

We expect half of those attending will be in senior roles in the nature conservation & environment sector, nature media and environmental education with the other half being BME educators, conservationists & environmentalists and experts in race, diversity & inclusion as well as BME communities.

Links

Camp Avalon

http://birdgirluk.blogspot.com/2015/06/camp-avalon-in-making.html

http://birdgirluk.blogspot.com/2015/06/camp-avalon-friday-19-june-2015.html

http://birdgirluk.blogspot.com/2015/06/camp-avalon-saturday-20-june-2015.html

http://birdgirluk.blogspot.com/2015/07/camp-avalon-sunday-21-june-2015.html

http://birdgirluk.blogspot.com/2015/06/camp-avalon-review-and-planning-for.html

http://birdgirluk.blogspot.com/2016/07/camp-avalon-2017.html 

Diversity

http://birdgirluk.blogspot.com/2016/06/how-ethnicity-and-wealth-are-impacting.html

Work With Me

If you would like to know more about what I do or what services I offer, you can find out more below.

Find Out More

Black2Nature

Black2Nature

Black2Nature is an organisation that was founded by Mya-Rose Craig AKA Birdgirl in September 2016.

Contact details

Helena Craig (Chair)helenabcraig@hotmail.co.uk

Vision

Delivering equal access to nature to the hugely under-represented VME demographic.

Aims/Objectives

  1. Enjoy – Promote learning on how to enjoy nature. Demonstrate the offering of a range of activities/sports activities (not necessarily with us). National parks/nature reserves. Spaces/places. Well-being. Opportunity.
  2. Benefits – Mental Health and physical well-being. Reduce the number of people from VME communities needing NHS care for mental health (currently a disproportionate 60% NHS mental health care is provided to VME people).
  3. Access – Aide physical access to nature through public transport and guides of what to do/where to go. Provide direct access to nature for VME communities. Break down barriers to entry for entry to nature by VME communities (barriers to entry have been summarised by Race equality in Nature). Provide access to green spaces once per person per week.
  4. Work – increase the drastically under-represented VME demographic working in the environmental sector from the current 0.6% to 13% it should be to represent the proportion of the VME population in the UK. Ensure VME communities work in a fair spread of roles across the sector.
  5. Engaged – being connected to nature  – encouraging VME communities not to see themselves as urban communities. Building emotional attachment to nature. Appreciating nature.
  6. Changing attitudes – use role models to inspire and educate (challenge the status quo and support change for the better).
  7. Education:
  • VME communities – Demonstrate the wide range of benefits not currently being appreciated by VME communities. VME communities should be encouraged to relate to nature in their cultural heritage. Breaking down barriers to encourage more VME communities accessing nature. We are uniquely the only organisation about accessing/engaging nature for VME communities. We need to ensure our messages and purpose remains relevant to our target audience.
  • NGOs – Influence and engage with their trustees, employees, volunteers and members. Congratulate the responsive organisations on their progress to date, but work with them and help them achieve complete parity. Primarily engage with CEOs, whilst also targeting their C-suite/boards.
  • Learn from other countries – learn valuable lessons and methodologies from other countries tackling similar issues. Notably, the USA leads the way; B2N should promote their success story and be seen to be the leader for a solution in the UK.

Mission

Entice VME communities to engage with their natural environment in order to better reflect the ethnic diversity of the UK in nature.

Our Values

What really matters to us:
Caring for nature and caring for diversity.
We are welcoming to all.
Caring and compassionate.

The Problem

A profound lack of representative diversity in nature.

What Black2Nature does

We arrange nature camps for VME children and teenagers, conferences on how the environmental sector (nature, nature conservation, environmental, environmental educators, environmental media and wildlife/environmental film-making) can become ethnically diverse and engage VME people and other talks and events as well as campaigning to the environmental sector and promoting our aims through use fo media and social media.

Example of Conference Speakers’ Bio’s

Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor of Bristol

Asher has over 30 years of experience as a community activist, leader, management consultant and now politician. She has championed the needs of the voiceless, with a particular emphasis on the social-economic development of BME and under-represented communities. She has led and chaired a number of major partnerships and organisations at a local, regional and national level and has worked in the field of employment & training, education & skills, recruitment, advocacy, equality & diversity within local government and the third sector.
Asher was elected as the Labour Councillor for the ward of St George West, Bristol in May 2016 and was appointed to the Cabinet with the wide-reaching portfolio of Neighbourhoods in August 2016. In March 2017 Asher was asked to step into the newly created role of Deputy Mayor for Communities, bringing into & elevating the issue of Public Health as part of this new portfolio.


Beccy Speight, CEO RSPB

The RSPB’s new Chief Executive is Beccy Speight, who was previously Chief Executive at the Woodland Trust where she has been Chief Executive since 2014. At the Woodland Trust Beccy successfully led a period of significant re-focus and expansion, growing income by over 35 per cent. Beccy oversaw the development and implementation of a ten-year strategy that has raised the profile of the Woodland Trust, built many new partnerships and developed a great leadership team, supported by more effective structures and a new culture. Prior to this Beccy worked for the National Trust for 14 years, most recently as Director for the Midlands region.

Chris Packham CBE, Naturalist & TV Presenter & Activist

Extraordinarily creative and prolific, Chris Packham has led a remarkable life. He’s gained recognition as a naturalist, television presenter, writer, photographer, conservationist, campaigner and filmmaker. As a broadcaster, he is a presenter of BBC’s BAFTA Award winning Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch series. He presents notable natural history series such as Nature’s Weirdest Events, World’s Weirdest Events, World’s Sneakiest Animals, Cats V Dogs, The Burrowers, Inside the Animal Mind, Operation Iceberg and Secrets of our Living Planet. He was featured in The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon (NBC – US) where he introduced Jimmy to a Porcupine and baby spotted Hyena, and sent a Black Vulture flying to him as he stood in the audience.

Critical Acclaim
In May 2016 Chris’s autobiography, ’Fingers in the Sparkle Jar: A Memoir’, was released to critical acclaim, reaching number 1 in The Sunday Times Bestsellers in just 2 weeks. It was featured as a Radio 4 ‘Book of the Week, read by Chris. Critics said it was ‘Astonishing… brilliantly written’, ‘… a flickering vat of life itself. A brilliant and remarkable book.’ ‘It’s bold and beautiful, both raw and lyrical, and a rather special book.’ 

Councillor Cleo Lake, Bristol Green Party

With a background in social justice activism, arts and culture, I was elected in 2016 to represent the ward of Cotham. It has been an incredible experience attending BCR partnership meetings and supporting residents with queries and community projects where I can. In addition to my ward work, I am also a go-to person for members of our diverse communities. I was particularly active with regards to the ‘Windrush Scandal’ a shocking and heartbreaking situation affecting longstanding community elders and others. I do my best to empower others to engage with local issues and take action. I am passionate about ‘de-colonising’ Bristol and was active with the Countering Colston movement which successfully intervened and got powerful institutions to question their ongoing celebrations of Edward Colston.


Dr Emmanuel Adukwu, Senior Lecturer Biomedical Sciences, UWE Bristol

EmmanuelAdukwu is a Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science within the Department of Applied Sciences. Prior to joining UWE in 2013, Emmanuel worked in other academic roles at Coventry University College and the University of Northampton. He carried out his PhD studies investigating Community-acquired infections at the University of Northampton under the guidance of Professor Carol Phillips. Emmanuel, before embarking on his PhD worked at ICON Plc, a multinational organisation and a key global player in the clinical research and drug development sector where he coordinated several clinical trial projects for major global biopharma organisations.
Emmanuel between 2014 and 2016 was Senior Lecturer and Module Leader on the Public Health Protection and Leadership in Public Health at UWE. He has supervised several MSc projects in Public Health in the areas of attitudes to antibiotic usage and global infectious diseases.
Emmanuel is currently leading on employability within the department as well as widening participation where he is actively engaged with developing and managing projects to increase the diversity of staff and students at the University. Emmanuel is also the coordinator of the Africa Staff Network and the creator of the Africa Week event.

Eric Heath, Head of Land Management, Avon Wildlife Trust
Eric grew up in inner London and was always fascinated by nature. He studied zoology at Bristol which despite the cultural shock this is Bristol University resulted in a love of Bristol City. Over the last 15 years, he has worked variously as an arboriculturalist and a consultant ecologist. During this time he spent many happy years developing an expertise in veteran trees and attempting to integrate ecological principles into developments like the Olympic Park in London and wind farms in the Outer Hebrides. He joined Avon Wildlife Trust in 2017 as the Head of Land Management, where he now takes responsibility for their suite of nature reserves and living landscape projects as well as providing a lead on the Wild Path programme. 

Gene Joyner, MD Better Food Company
Gene had been MD at Bristol’s Better Food Co for a year, before that leading many other similar organisations sector. He is from Bristol and was previously Chair of St Paul’s Carnival Committee and recently won Gold and Bronze medals at European Badminton Championships (Masters). Gene lives in the Compton Martin in the Chew Valley south of Bristol, in the same village as Mya-Rose.

Dr Lyn Newton, Head of Department Applied Sciences, UWE 
I started my scientific career working as a Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer at Leicester Royal Infirmary. After a number of years, I changed my scientific direction to follow my lifetime interest in marine life. After obtaining a BSc in Marine Biology from Newcastle University I continued my academic studies at Napier University, Scotland with an MSc Biology of Water Resource Management and my PhD on the effects of natural and induced stress on echinoderms. I moved to Bristol in 1997 as a post-doc to research the changes in fish communities of the Severn Estuary. More recent research projects have continued this theme and focus on the long-term changes in the plankton communities of the Severn Estuary. I have expanded my research interest to examine the long-term resilience of coral reef communities, through a collaboration with the University of Havana. My current PhD students are examining seagrass communities in Greece, and the role of eDNA in protecting common eel populations. After being appointed as a Lecturer in Environmental Biology I progressed to become programme cluster leader for environmental programmes before taking up the position of Associate Head of Department for the Biological and Environmental Sciences and Science Communication. I have recently worked as the external examiner for the MSc Ecological Assessment delivered by the University of Cork, Ireland. I am the partnership lead for Bristol Zoo Gardens. Despite my recent appointment to Head of Department of Applied Sciences, I keep my hand in teaching UG and PG students and help with the department expeditions, as I believe it is important to maintain contact with students to ensure an excellent student experience.

 


Lara Lalemi, Student Bristol University & organiser of BME in STEM 2019 conference
Lara Lalemi is currently studying a Postgraduate research student in Chemistry with a keenness to contribute to novelscientific research.  As an A-level student, Lara Lalemi was all too aware of the lack of role models in her chosen field of chemistry. Not letting this hold her back, she set out to be what she couldn’t see in the industry, instigating change from within. Now working towards her Chemistry PhD at the University of Bristol, Lara is passionate about making STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects accessible to all and improving diversity in the sector.She is one of a number of women in Bristol breaking the mould and making their way in what remains a very male-dominated field.

 

Mohammed Dhalech, Associate Director Centre for Public Policy Research & Rural Mosaic
Council Member Campaign for National Parks (CPN), Community Champion Mosaic (CPN) Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and YHA Chair Mosaic National Network, Associate Director (Community Engagement and Social Media, Centre for Policy, Partnerships and Research

Mohammed Saddiq, MD GENeco & Chair Bristol Green Capital Partnership
Mohammed is the Managing Director of Wessex Water Operations and Enterprises. He has held a number of senior engineering and management positions in the Water and Waste Industry over the past 20 years. His current portfolio of group directorships includes the Managing Director of Wessex Water Operations and Enterprises, Managing Director of the waste recycling and renewable energy company GENeco and Managing Director of Swiss Combi Technology (Switzerland). Mohammed is an Associate Fellow of the Institute of Chemical Engineers, Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Chartered Member of the Institution of Environmental Sciences. In 2012 he was awarded the Institute of Directors South West Corporate Responsibility Director the Year. In 2015 GENeco was the winner of The Guardian Sustainable Business Awards and in 2017 was the Institute of Chemical Engineers Global Award Winner for Sustainability. He is the Independent Chair of the Bristol Green Capital Partnership CIC, Trustee at Penny Brohn Cancer Care, Council-member at Bristol University, Governor at Colston’s Girls’ School, Board member at the Local Enterprise Partnership, member of the West of England Combined Authority Infrastructure Advisory Board and Non-Executive Director at Industrial Phycology.

Dr Mark Steer, Lecturer, Applied Sciences, UWE
Mark is a practical conservation biologist who works closely with other practitioners to answer questions of direct importance to conservation organisations, industrial stakeholders and volunteer organisations. His interests lie in the conservation and restoration of ecological processes in the UK and, recently, Madagascar and the Arabian peninsula.  His current research interests include the use of DNA techniques in the targeted survey of particular species and groups. These include a happily diverse bag of species from European eels and noble pen shells to brown bears and lemurs.  Other interests include the potential for new technologies in monitoring change and altering land use; the impacts of agriculture on ecosystem services and biodiversity and ecological networks.  He leads UWE’s fantastic new MSc in Advanced Wildlife Conservation in Practice as well as teaching on a number of undergraduate degrees principally BSc Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science and BSc Environmental Science.

Mya-Rose Craig, President Black2Nature & environmental and race activist
Mya-Rose Craig is a 17-year-old British Bangladeshi naturalist, environmentalist and writes the Birdgirl blog http://birdgirluk.blogspot.com. She was a Bristol European Green Capital 2015 Ambassador along with Kevin McCloud and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and was listed with George Ezra and Maisie Williams as Bristol’s most influential young people.  She has organised two Race Equality in Nature Conferences investigating getting Visible Minority Ethnic (VME) people engaged with nature and making the sector ethnically diverse. She has organised 9 nature camps for children and teenagers, written lots of articles, given talks and appeared in the media. She was on a panel about Sustainable Future Cities with George Monbiot and Caroline Lucas. She was a Minister in Chris Packham’s People’s Manifesto for Wildlife, speaking at his People’s Walk for Wildlife in front of 10,000 people in Hyde Park, has had meetings at Downing Street and was listed as one of Bristol’s BME top 100 power list in 2019. Mya-Rose is also involved in Youth Strikes, Youth for our Planet highlighting issues with biodiversity and species extinction and has set up a local Extinction Rebellion group.

Peter Venn – Programme Leader MA Wildlife Film Based at Bower Ashton, Peter is the programme leader of the MA Wildlife Film, producing many graduates into Bristol’s wildlife film-making sector. The city is the headquarters of the BBC Natural History Unit and also the base for large independent players in the nature film arena such as Silverback Films, Plimsoll Prods., True to Nature, Tigress Prods., Off the Fence, Keo Films and Icon Films. Top production and post-production houses in the area that cater to the genre include Films@59, Evolutions and Big Bang. Peter also oversees the Department scholarship for minority ethnic students sponsored by the Stephen Lawrence Trust.

Stephen Corry, CEO of Survival International
Stephen Corry, born in Malaysia in 1951, works for the self-determination of indigenous peoples and the protection of their lands. He has no formal training, but joined the NGO Survival International as a volunteer in 1972 and became its CEO in 1984. He has conducted fieldwork with tribal peoples in South America, East and southern Africa, and India. In 2011, he wrote the book Tribal Peoples for Tomorrow’s World as an introduction to the subject for lay readers. The book explains who tribal peoples are, how they live and why their disappearance is far from inevitable. He is currently writing a series of articles exploring how conservation initiatives can harm tribes. His work is dedicated to countering negative stereotypes and promoting the fact that tribal peoples live in today’s world, and are our contemporaries, not relics of an ancient past. He believes that they have their own ways of making the world a better place and rejects notions that they are backward, which he believes are based on prejudice and ignorance.

Tim Scoones, Independent Consultant in Media, Conservation and Public Engagement
Tim Scoones is an Ex Executive Producer at the BBC Natural History Unit being responsive for Springwatch, Autumn Watch, Winterwatch, Springwatch Unsprung, Nature’s Weirdest Events, Big Blue Live and Planet Earth Live.

“As the executive producer of Springwatch, if anyone can call themselves a ‘green person’ it is probably me. But sustainability isn’t a niche topic; keeping your family alive, happy and healthy is something that anyone can understand and that is precisely what sustainability is about. Across the broadcast industry we’ve yet to act on this realisation, however, considering the operational improvements we must make and the thought leadership we must show, we’ve barely started.

Ultimately everyone in the human race is going to have to understand a lot more about our sustainability; it will define our lives. But considering that globally 40% of adults have not even heard about climate change, the media industry has made a small step in the right direction regarding audience education. The trick to success here will not be worthy green programming, but bringing sustainability into the mainstream and making it a cultural norm. And the key to making that a reality will be open industry-wide discussion.

We must continue to propagate a culture of continuous improvement and we need the leaders within our industry’s largest organisations to help us choose which achievable steps we should prioritise next.”


Traci Lewis, Green Project Manager Catalyse Change CIC
Traci has developed and delivered many successful environmental and sustainability change programmes – across the EU & SW England – with a diverse range of people from organic farmers, Local Authorities to community groups. She now runs her own change agency Sustain-Live Consulting Ltd working with innovative businesses and social enterprises to achieve ‘One Planet Living.’ She lives in Bristol with her teenage daughter Kira and enjoys good food, festivals and camping in Devon. https://catalysechange.com/

Tracy Patfield – Operations and Outreach Manager, Icon Films
Icon Films does want to support your important initiative and would like to suggest that Tracy Patfield, our Operations and Outreach Manager, represent us on the panel. Tracy has worked in television for over a decade and has worked at Icon Films for five years overseeing our work experience and outreach programme. With a background in TV production, Tracy worked as a Production Manager for Thames/Fremantle Media in London for 10 years. She then moved to the south-west, working for the various public sector and charitable companies as a Communications Advisor.
Tracy is now in her 5th year as Operations and Outreach Manager at Icon Films; her role oversees the day-to-day running of the office, supporting production through managing a team of four runners, organising Icon’s work experience programme and ensuring an inclusive talent pipeline for entry-level roles. She is passionate about mentoring, nurturing talent and realising the potential in young people. Tracy works to increase fair access to work experience in the creative industry through community outreach, working with local schools and collaborative partnership working. At Icon Films, we are opening up our work experience programme, making sure that we can inspire and enthuse a wide-ranging and inclusive mix of young people who will become the next generation of TV makers.


Zakiya McKenzie, Nature writer & Green & Black Ambassador
Zakiya Mckenzie is a PhD student at the University of Exeter interested in the voice of Caribbean people in the written and spoken word. She is one of two resident writers for the Forest of Forestry England’s Centenary and has worked as a journalist in Johannesburg, a newswriter in New Kingston and a Caribbean TV show’s production assistant in the Bronx. In 2017, she completed a Master of Research degree in Sustainable Futures at the University of Bristol focusing on the environmental and economic implications of “black gold” – petroleum – off Guyana’s shore. She has led research projects focused on the contribution of Black and Minority Ethnic to Bristol’s tech industry and higher education for Up Our Street (a neighbourhood management company). Zakiya is a volunteer producer at Ujima 98FM Bristol and host of The Griot Sound on the station. She is also an Ujima Radio Green and Black Ambassador encouraging a better natural and built environment for all. She is very much interested in urban art and life in developing countries. She would probably trade it all to reason with Rasta’s on a remote riverside with reggae roaring in the background though.

BLACK2NATURE Camp Avalon

Friday – Sunday July 2020


I have been running camps for teenagers on the Somerset Levels since 2016. I have had around 250 teenagers 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 12-18 years. Into its 5th year, Camp Avalon has attracted a number of teenagers to the Somerset Levels near Glastonbury, to spend the weekend 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 teenagers 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.
Girls and boys are in separate tents with adults. DBS checked adults will be with the teenagers at all times. All food will be halal or vegetarian.

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Camp Avalon – Programme

The programme will be finalised shortly depending on final numbers.

Friday

All activities dependent on weather

5.00 pm

Pick-up St Paul’s Learning Centre (CPLC)

6.00 pm – 7.00 pm (CS)

Safety briefing, allocating tents and setting up camp

7.00 pm – 8.00 pm (CS)

Helping cooking and serving dinner

8.00 pm – 8.30 pm (CS)

Everybody to help with carrying dishes to the kitchen, washing up and drying and bringing dishes back

8.30 pm – 9.30 pm (CS)

Time to socialize and play football

9.30 pm – 10.30 pm

Toasting marshmallows over the fire

11 pm

Lights out and no more talking – just sleep

Saturday

7.00 am (CS)

Everybody up and get ready

7.30 am – 8.00 am (CS) Breakfast at the campsite

8.00 am – 11.30 am (HW)

Birding at Ham Wall, searching for Great White Egret, Bittern and lots of other great birds.  Meet at HWCP.

11.30 am – 12.00 pm (CS)

Refreshment break

12.00 pm – 12.30 pm

Feeding animals on the farm

12.30 pm – 1.30 pm (PFW)
Bio Blitzing in 2 teams

1.30 pm – 2.30 pm (CS)

Lunch

2.30 pm – 4.00 pm (PFW)

Wildlife Photography workshop

4.00 pm – 4.30 pm (CS)

Refreshment break

4.30 pm – 5.00 pm (CS)

Tent inspection

5.00 pm – 6.00 pm (CS)

Downtime (only after all belongings packed back into backpacks and tents tidied)

6.00 pm – 7.30 pm (CS)

Helping cooking and serving dinner

7.30 pm – 8.30 pm (CS)

Everybody to help with carrying dishes to the kitchen, washing up and drying and bringing dishes back

8.30 pm – 10.30 pm (MD)

Looking for Nightjar and bats on the Mendips (dependent on weather)

11 pm

Lights out and no more talking – just sleep

Sunday

7.00 am (CS)

Everybody up and get ready

7.30 am – 8.00 am (CS) Breakfast at the campsite


8.00 am – 10.30 am (PFW)

Bird ringing demonstration
Chris Craig and Mya-Rose Craig

10.30 am – 11.00 am (CS)

Refreshment break

11.00 am – 12.30 pm

Walk to Glastonbury Tor

12.30 pm – 1.00 pm (CS)

Lunch

1.00 pm – 2.30 pm (CS)

Taking down tents and packing up the campsite

2.30 pm – 3.00 pm (CS)

Refreshment break

3.00 pm 

Finish

4.00 pm

Drop off St Paul’s Learning Centre (SPLC)

Key to locations

SPLC – St Paul’s Learning Centre, Grosvenor Road, St Paul’s, Bristol, BS2 8XJ, telephone 0117 9145470.

CS – Paddington Farm, Maidencroft Lane, Glastonbury, Somerset BA6 8JN, Telephone: 01458 832752. PFW – Paddington Farm Woods, near to Camp Site HW – Ham Wall RSPB Reserve, park in the new Ham Wall Car Park if open or Shapwick Heath Car Park opposite, Ashcott Road, Glastonbury, Somerset BA6 9SX MP – Stockhill Woods, Priddy, Mendips, Somerset BA5 3BE (drive through Wells and then follow A39 towards Bristol and Bath, turn left onto Priddy Road and at the crossroads (with the Hunters Rest on the corner) turn right, the woods are on your right and park in the pull-in before the car park).  HWCP – Ham Wall RSPB Reserve Car Park, Ashcott Road, Glastonbury, Somerset BA6 9SX

Cost

£20.00 per person including food and camping costs

Grants

Free places are available to those young people from an area of deprivation or who are VME. Camp Avalon recognises that there are almost no young birders from VME backgrounds and so hope that these grants will encourage disadvantaged young people to be able to attend. All equipment needed will also be loaned for the weekend. Thank you to the volunteers who have offered their time in order to pass on their knowledge to young birders.

Black2Nature

Thank you to Paddington Farm 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 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 and tripods.

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, St Paul’s.

How to Book

Please place an advance booking by e-mail to helenabcraig@hotmail.co.uk or text 07798818772 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.

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 turn right 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.

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Equality in Nature: Making Wildlife Films Relevant to everyone

Equality in Nature: Making Wildlife Films Relevant to everyone

 


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



 

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

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).
 
 
To book: https://bit.ly/2m1ojSI

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.


Speakers
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
Sponsors

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.




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Philosophy behind Black2Nature camps

Philosophy behind Black2Nature camps

Camp Chew March 2019
Black2Nature is committed to Enabling Visible Minority People (VME) and those from disadvantaged and deprived backgrounds to get outside into green spaces where ever they find them and so engage with nature, by Working with nature conservation & environmental organisations, Nature TV & media & nature education sector to adopt diversity as a core value, ensuring their staff, volunteers, trustees and membership become diverse; ensuring training on equality, diversity and inclusion and VME communities; carrying out monitoring throughout their organisations and committing to making change;

Enabling those from VME and areas of deprivation to access nature and as the outdoors is essential for physical activity and health, mental well-being, enjoyment of our beautiful planet and to ensure our cities become sustainable;

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

Ensuring that the children and volunteers who attend our camps learn about nature conservation and environmental issues through our discussions;

Discussing how our camp being vegetarian benefits the planet, why litter is bad for the environment and wildlife and why we are aiming to make our camps zero waste.

Total waste from Camp Chew March 2019
Copyright Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig
Thank you

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 £2500 for 20 pairs 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.

 

Work With Me

If you would like to know more about what I do or what services I offer, you can find out more below.

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