Interviewed in Economic Injustice

Interviewed in Economic Injustice

“Mya-Rose Craig tells the story of how she set up Black2Nature to help give young people in visible minority ethnic communities access to nature and tackle the lack of diversity in green spaces. She also talks about the climate emergency and the need for more urgent action.”

Find their post here: https://economicinjustice.org.uk/black-to-nature/

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Panel Interview for Rob Hopkins at Transition Network

Panel Interview for Rob Hopkins at Transition Network

Panel Interview for Rob Hopkins at Transition Network
In May 2020 I did a panel interview with Rob Hoskins and Sam Lee.

It was based on ‘From What If to What Next’ which asked listeners to send in their ‘What If’ questions about the future we can create going forward from now, and then Rob found myself and Sam to discuss it, to explore what in their mind the future would be like if that thing were to come to be, what the benefits would be, and how we might get there.

The first one was “What if the birdsong were so loud it drowned out the traffic?” which I was talking about.

‘From What If to What Next’: Episode One

These we some of the reviews people wrote afterwards:
David wrote “As a bird lover, I enjoyed this podcast very much. One of the reasons why I joined XR is because I am so afraid that one day there will be no birdsong. I think that would lead me to die of a broken heart. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure about the continuous birdsong in the background, but I loved it. I didn’t distract or disturb you at all. It was beautiful. Thank you for this podcast and everything you do.”

Rodrigue wrote “Perfect podcast to take a break during this stressful era of coronavirus, and climate breakdown, and and and… This podcast does not hide from reality but glances with the most intense eyes to the not even hidden gems of it. I’m reading a lot about the climate situation, leading to an emotional roller-coaster. When I’m at the bottom, I usually take a shot of Rob’s work to restore a bit of joy and hope. So, thank you for that :)”.

Keith wrote “I very much enjoyed this podcast. I must admit that at first glance I felt there were more pressing topics to discuss. But having just listened to your panel, I realized that birdsong is a universal signal of lush ecosystems. I have had numerous discussions with friends and Neighbours about how nice it has been to have clean air and quiet streets where birdsong seems to magically have returned during this lockdown. A very poignant topic and very well-timed. Cheers!”.

Jessica wrote, “Loved it: exactly what I needed to listen to today. I closed my eyes and imagined what my town would be like if bird song drowned out the traffic and it brought a huge smile to my face. Thank you :)”.

Greta wrote “Beautiful, thank you Rob. Mya’s work engaging young BME people is so important and inspiring and Sam’s description of nightingale song and sitting around a campfire sounds so appealing right now as I stand washing dishes in a suburban flat with a view of next door’s wall! I love the line at the end, equating getting to know nature as being like growing old with a lover. Great first podcast!” are urged to ‘leave it wild’ for International Biodiversity Day – Friday 22 May 2020.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

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

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. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/dec/28/new-nature-writing-gender-race-climate 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

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

 

Chatting to Lush

Chatting to Lush

I am really really pleased to be on Lush Player with Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig’s Podcast which I am particularly excited about as Lush is my favourite shop and perfect for me as a teen vegetarian/almost vegan, environmentally friendly, low impact products that actually work and smell great too. Also, Lush is a Bristolian slang word that means lovely or gorgeous. If you Add Gert to make it “Gert Lush” that adds “very”. So Mark Constantine, if you ever read this, I’d love to be a Lush Ambassador!

This is a podcast that I originally did for Charlie Moores which was published on The Sound Approach (TSA) podcast. I am talking about birding in the UK, world birding, Race Equality in Nature, racism, Twitter trolls and being President of Black2Nature.

This is a really interesting article on the Lush Website called The cost of beauty: Why inclusivity isn’t just about shades foundation

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Interview for BBC Radio 4 “You and Yours”

Interview for BBC Radio 4 “You and Yours”

Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig in her garden
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

During the Easter holidays, I was contacted by a journalist, Jess Quayle, from the ‘You and Yours’ consumer programme from Radio 4. They were planning a feature about the number of people feeding birds in their gardens and how this had increased massively in recent years. They wanted me to answer a few questions on the topic and talk about how I feed my garden birds.

Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig in her garden
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig
Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig in her garden
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

The only problem was that I was away skiing and then was going straight to Paris to spend a week with my grandmother in Disneyland.

Luckily, the programme wasn’t due to be aired for a couple of weeks, so after I was home, I got up at 7 am midweek to record the last bit of dawn chorus in our garden in the Chew Valley, south of Bristol. If I am ever up at 5 am for ringing or twitching, hearing the dawn chorus is a truly fantastic experience. I was too tired to actually talk then, so fitted the recording in at Chew Valley Lake after school. The only problem was that the Bristol Water gardeners were out cutting and strimming the grass, so I had to do my recordings in between the noise. I always learn a lot about being a presenter, every time I have to do anything like this so is a brilliant experience.

It was amazing to have my first interview for BBC Radio 4 aired last Friday 5th May 2017, which you can still hear on BBC IPlayer for the “You & Yours” programme in the section about the increase in people feeding the birds in their gardens. I am at 10:45 into the programme on http://bbc.in/2qeC28M with images at http://bbc.in/2qMuXts.

Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig in her garden
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig
Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig in her garden
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Interview with University of West of England first year journalism student Tamara Toothill

Interview with University of West of England first year journalism student Tamara Toothill

In March I did an interview for a University of West of England (UWE) first year journalism student, Tamara Toothill, for her end of year project. I always like to give time to students as I hope that when I need help someone will give a little of their time.

Tamara was lovely and this was the article she wrote about me, which she submitted last week.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Interview on BBC Points West News

Interview on BBC Points West News

On Thursday 1st December 2016 I did a live interview on BBC Radio Bristol breakfast show about Black2Nature, my Race Equality in Nature Conference and getting ethnic Minority people out into nature.

That morning and evening, BBC1 Points West News also showed an interview with me about Black2Nature, Camp Avalon and why getting Minority ethnic people outside into nature was important.

This is my interview on BBC West Local News, Points West https://youtu.be/9kR_BCEMU5c with Hamza Khandker who attended both Camps Avalon for young people and Dr Richard Benwell from WWT who spoke at my Race Equality in Nature Conference in June about the citizen’s right to access Nature.

Lots of people at school saw my interview, even though I didn’t tell anyone about it, which made me realise that the piece reached out to a large audience on this topic, which is great news.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and Mike Bailey in filming
Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on BBC1 Points West News

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Interview on Bristol’s Ujima Radio

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 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

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Interview in BBC Wildlife Magazine

Interview in BBC Wildlife Magazine

The BBC Wildlife Magazine October 2016 Edition had an article about Minority Ethnic people and about the fact that they were not going out into nature. Parts of an interview by me were included on page 32, “Diverse Nature” with a photo. The article is an interesting one and raises awareness of this topic to a wider audience who will know nothing about it. Well done to Ben Hoare and BBC Wildlife Magazine for highlighting the issue and getting the debate started.

In March, following announcing my Race Equality in Nature Conference to take place in June (aiming to overcome the barriers to ethnic minority [non-white] people getting out into nature in the UK) I was approached by Ben Hoare, Features Editor at BBC Wildlife Magazine, as he wanted to highlight the issue and write an article on the subject. I was interviewed by Ben just before the conference, gave him background reports & info and details of others he could contact.

The article was written by asking BAME naturalists for their views on the topic. This was interesting to read and illuminating for most people interviewed. However, this approach assumed that just because someone was Minority Ethnic and an expert in nature, that they were an also an expert in race, which was not correct. All they could do was give their individual view, which sometimes was a odds with the research and experts in race equality, diversity and inclusion but left unchallenged. For example, the issue of whether BAME should be used was I think a diversion from the actual issue, also giving the impression to the white readership that Minority Ethnic people were divided when this is not true for the majority. Also, the experts didn’t have the chance to give their views in response though I understand that this was probably

I think discussions like this should include at least sections that are “Black-led” race experts.





The Conference was a great success and the Conference Report is at https://1drv.ms/f/s!AlHI1zymOkP6lFciU1tQX0r56Nmn with additional documents in Appendix 1.1 https://1drv.ms/f/s!AlHI1zymOkP6lFUbVyvJ1OfT1c5r and Appendix 1.2 https://1drv.ms/f/s!AlHI1zymOkP6lHO2pVQbVZxh3mn3

If you are interested in trying to make those out in nature from more diverse backgrounds, then please connect with me on LinkedIn (Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig https://www.linkedin.com/in/mya-rose-birdgirl-craig-350b598b) and ask to join the Race Equality in Nature Group. Please can you also share this information, so that we can get as many people as possible from all backgrounds involved (nature organisations and people working in ethnic minority communities, health & education).

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Interview with Natursidan in Swedan

Interview with Natursidan in Swedan

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Chew Valley Lake
Photograph taken by Oliver Edwards Photography

I’ve given a few interviews in the last few months, but this one was a little different.  It was for a Swedish website www.Natursidan.se written by a birder Erik Hansson http://bit.ly/1VcXKUW

Often when we travel around the world birding, we meet Swedish birders along the way.  They are normally extremely dedicated to their birding and interesting people to meet.

Last summer we met a Swedish family birding in Uganda, with their eighteen year son.  It’s really rare to meet a British family like that.

After the interview was published, it was shared by BirdLife Sweden, virtually all the Swedish birder’s Facebook groups as well as a Swedish feminist page on Facebook.

It was fantastic that so many people in Sweden read my interview and hopefully were interested in it.

 

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Chew Valley Ringing Station
Photograph taken by Oliver Edwards Photography

Below is a google translation of the Swedish text. Some of the meaning can get lost in the translation and can come out a bit strange, but it made me smile, so I left it as it is. My favourite is gulskalliga kråktrastar (Yellow-throated Picathartes from Ghana). I am sure you will get the gist.

Mya-Rose Craig from the UK is perhaps better known by the nickname “Bird Girl” and for her record number of seen birds. Last fall, she became the youngest ever to see 4000 bird species worldwide (read more here). But she is also involved in numerous conservation projects and has probably done more for bird-watching and nature conservation in the world than any other 13-year-old’s.

Mya-Rose Craig was born into a family of birdwatching. Both her parents and her older sister are birdwatchers and “cruisers”. She was “born to bird watching,” as she puts it.

– I went on my first move to see the lesser kestrel in the Scilly Isles when I was nine days old. It was then that many British birders met me for the first time, which they gladly remind me of.

15 months old, she followed with another pull to see a Black Lark. Then the bird came closer to her, she pointed at it and exclaimed, “birdie”. It was her fourth word.

Bird’s interest really took off when she was three years old came with a marine birding trip in Madeira. The following year, she began to identify and remember the birds she saw and on a trip to South Africa, she began to count her bird observations in the world.

– At this time, my sister Ayesha was 16 years and a great role model for me. She was beautiful and cool and I really understand today the importance of children being allowed to have role models and people who inspire them, says Mya-Rose Craig.

In 2009 she made a so-called “Big Year” with her parents to see as many birds as possible in a single year. In connection with that, she participated also in the BBC4 documentary “Twitchers: A Very British Obsession” where she discovered that she also liked to be on TV. Since then she has begun writing a popular blog,Birdgirluk.blogspot.se, regular columns in the local newspaper and interviewed frequently on TV and radio.

When Mya-Rose Craig’s hometown of Bristol last year was awarded the European Green Capital in 2015 with many projects for young people was Mya-Rose Craig involved as one of Bristol’s ambassadors. She has also used her platform to spread information about the birds and the endangered areas to a wider audience. When an oil spill affected the mangrove forest Sundarbans in Bangladesh, she gathered more than 200 000 to clean up the area. In 2015 she organized a bird watching camp for young people and ethnic minorities, called Camp Avalon. It is worth recalling that Mya-Rose Craig is only 13 years old.

What is it you like about bird watching?

– First, I love birds. I mean – they can fly – how cool is that? I also like to study birds. It’s really special to see their delicate wings, beaks and legs. Last but not least, it is fascinating to see new birds. When you see a small migratory birds, it is amazing to think that the wind hit the Atlantic Ocean or all the way from Siberia.

What is your favourite experience in nature?

– It’s really hard to pick one, but I’ll have to say when we went to Ghana in 2012. We were looking for the gulskalliga crow thrush and when we got to the place we saw how fågelekoturismen in the area funded cocoa farms and two schools for the local population. To have the chance to see the bird we had to walk up several steep slopes and then sit quietly and wait for a few caves. I did not expect to see them, but suddenly gulskalliga kråktrastar up and walked around in front of us. They are waxy, big as chickens and amazing to watch.

Another memorable event for Mya-Rose Craig was a trip to the mountain gorillas in the Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. Watch a video from the meeting here:

[Youtube_sc url = “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abuqEr6KnnA“]

You had an eventful 2015. Not just because you saw your 4,000th bird species – you were also involved in at least 30 articles and several TV spots. How do you perceive the publicity?

– I think the media attention and publicity is important because it gives me the opportunity to talk about conservation and nature conservation. In January 2015, I was, for example, interviewed by Channel S, Europe’s largest television station in Bangladesh. They were initially interested in me because I was the youngest person to see 3,000 birds in the world and because my mother is from Bangladesh. But after a short discussion about birding in the world, I could talk about the spoon sandpipers in Bangladesh and how important it is to save them. The interview appeared in Europe and even on a news channel in Bangladesh at the time I visited the country to identify these rare waders. When I visited a barbershop near the area where the spoon sandpipers are felt the girl who worked there recognized me from television and knew that I was trying to save a rare bird. It was a very important message that I wanted to get up and I was really proud to reach people like her.

Mya-Rose Craig says she does not mind being an ambassador for bird watching. It gives her a chance to talk about the issues that she feels extra for. As an example, the effects of palm oil plantations, to get children and young people in nature and how we save the world’s endangered shorebirds. These are topics that she has written articles about, talked about in the media and presentations on several different contexts. For example, when his hometown of Bristol as European Green Capital 2015 and the Oriental Bird Club’s annual meeting.

Have you noticed if you have inspired other young birders?

– Lots of young birdwatchers from the UK and around the world, including many from Bangladesh, contact me privately. Sometimes they want to help get into bird watching, sometimes they want to start blogging or start with nature photos. I will help them if I can, but encourages them always and hope that I can inspire other young people to follow their passion and not let people dismiss them.

Regarding that, Mya-Rose Craig, even though she is only 13 years old, has already experienced a lot of sexism. She has also spoken out publicly about it in an eloquent blog post that has been widely spread in the United Kingdom. The text shows Mya-Rose Craig has great insight into the problems and can speak from personal experience. She says, among other things, that when she was only eleven years old created a secret Facebook group, where middle-aged men posted rude comments about her. It was revealed among other things that a university lecturer wrote a comment with sexual allusions about her. Screenshots from the group leaked and the group was closed but seems to have been reopened under a new name.

You have been more or less public in six years already – have you noticed any change in people’s attitude toward you during these years?

– After I participated in the documentary “Twitchers” was the most positive and encouraging, but there were those who were sure that I was not really that interested in birds. Now, since I am still a birdwatcher, they can not say so long. Instead, they attack me by saying that I do not know much about birds and I do not what I have seen but just follow behind my parents. Some bird watchers also froze me and my family. Therefore, I can not really say that things have improved so much for me.

In Sweden, it has taken an embarrassingly long time for women to be relatively accepted as birdwatchers – what is your view of the situation in the UK?

– I think the bird is still heavily dominated by men in the UK. I know lots of older female bird-watchers who have been so discredited and has not been trusted with his observations that they would no longer dare to go out with a rare bird they found. Others seem to have no problems. There are lots of girls that start bird watching now, but they are still in the strong minority. My experience is that some male watchers are pretty macho when they meet in the draft or in social media. Although many bird watchers are not like this, so it is a part that is both racist and sexist. When I’m out in the world and birdwatchers can always be with other birdwatchers who are very supportive and have respect for my experience and passion.

Again, it is worth recalling that the Mya-Rose Craig is 13 years old. What do you think you’re doing in ten years?

– I hope I have a degree in zoology and some form of master’s degree in conservation or media. I would like bird watching in the whole world, to go out on expeditions to remote places and look for new or rare species. If I may, I would also shoot in the meantime, as Steve Backshall made during a trip to a volcanic valley in New Britain, that would be my dream.

Before then, Mya-Rose Craig has several other projects underway. In summer maybe bird watching in Mexico or the United States and her next project is to once again host a bird watching camp to get more young people from ethnic minorities in nature.

– I learned a lot about this last year when I got five boys from ethnic minorities to come to Camp Avalon. I realized then that there are things that conservation organizations can do to improve the situation. This is something that I really want to change because the numbers are shocking. 17% of this group visited not even a park over the past year. I wrote to the major British non-governmental nature of the organizations on this and now they help me to organize a conference on June 3, 2016, on equal treatment in nature regardless of colour. Kerry McCarthy, Secretary of State for the Environment Ministry, will be our keynote speaker. Since I am a teenager from an ethnic minority, I hope to be a role model for others.

It’s probably the least one can say about Mya-Rose Craig.

Camp Avalon June 2015
Photograph taken by Helena Craig

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Interview for Indiana Young Birder’s Club

Interview for Indiana Young Birder’s Club

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in Queensland, Australia

Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

 

 

At the end of last year I gave an interview to Indiana Young Birders’ Club for their magazine, The Warbler which was published in their Fall Edition, http://bit.ly/23kiPBa

 

It was really interesting talking to young birder, Mathias Benko and hearing about the birding he gets up to.  The young birder scene is so much bigger and more developed in the USA, we have a lot we can learn over here where things are only just taking off.  I suppose the USA is so much bigger, it’s understandable.  Looking at the state of Indiana, it is exactly the same size as the whole of the UK, including all four countries.

 

Maybe, so that our young birders have similar opportunities, we should start looking at young birders groups within Europe rather than just here in the UK.

 

So, Mya-Rose, where are you from and how old are you?

My name is Mya-Rose Craig (a.k.a. Birdgirl), and I’m 13 years old. I live in the countryside near Bath and Bristol, Somerset in the South West of the UK.

 

How did you first become interested in birds?

My Mom and Dad were birders as well as my big sis Ayesha. They carried on birding after I was born, just taking me with them everywhere they went. So, birding was something that I grew up with. When I was four, it was time for me to decide for myself. At that stage, my sister was a really cool sixteen-year-old, and I wanted to do everything she wanted to do. That was when I decided that nature and birds were what I cared about and what I wanted to do. I became obsessed pretty quickly after that.

 

I was four when I went on my first world birding trip, which was to South Africa for four weeks. That was an awesome trip. As well as seeing birds like African Penguin and Ostrich, I was stalked by a lioness and her cubs in Kruger National Park, charged by a hippo when we got between it and water in Ndumo National Park, and almost fell into the high Sani Pass when we skidded towards a precipice on the way to Lesotho.

 

Do you have a favorite bird? Or birds? Why?

My favourite bird in the world is Southern Cassowary, which we saw in Queensland, Australia. They are blue and red on the head, can get to 6 feet tall, and are closely related to dinosaurs. They have a sharp hook on each foot that with one kick could kill you. We saw five in all, including 2 young birds being looked after by their dad.

 

What do your friends and family think about your love of birds and birding?

My immediate family shares my passion for birds, so we can do everything together. We go away for the summer trying to see as many of the birds in that country as possible. It is really hard work, as we often bird 6 AM to 6 PM and also sometimes go night birding in the evening, but I love it.

 

My wider family tries to be a bit supportive especially since I’ve been writings blogs, though not many of them read what I write. In the end though, they don’t like it if we prioritise birding above seeing them.

 

My close friends have been at school with me since I was four years old. I was in a 2010 BBC documentary called Twitchers: A Very British Obsession, which my teacher showed everyone at school. My close friends watched that, so they know I’m a birder, but they don’t show any interest in what I get up to. A couple of months ago, I was interviewed on BBC Springwatch, but even though I told them, none of them watched it. When another friend was on Junior Bake Off, everyone watched it and made a fuss of her. It might just be that because I’ve been on TV and Radio a few times already, so it’s nothing special any more.

 

I don’t really talk about birding to other people at school or my after school clubs like dance and scouts as they would think it’s nerdy. As I appear in the local papers, some people still know I’m into birds. So, sometimes, if I’m being teased, I’ll say “Well, I’ve earnt £250 for writing an article that only took half a day to write. What have you earnt?” That shuts them up!

 

I have heard that your life list is quite impressive. Exactly how many species of birds have you seen?

Some people think that if you keep a bird list, you somehow don’t care about the birds or conservation. I think that when you tell someone your list, what you are really doing is encapsulating in a number how many years of birding you have done and how hard you have birded.

 

So, on that basis, my British List is 450. 400 used to be the number people tried to get to but now it’s 500. I reached 400 when I was 9 years old, beating my sister’s record of 12 years old. I saw my 450th bird recently when I was 13 years old, which was a Black Stork.

 

I got to 3000 when I was 11 years old in Queensland, Australia with Regent Bowerbird a beautiful black and yellow bird. Bowerbirds make bowers or displays to attract the female and are often plain looking. This is one of the exceptions as it is really beautiful and builds a wooden structure out of sticks. The photograph of me feeding Crimson Rosella was taken straight afterwards.

 

Then, I saw my 4000th bird this summer in East Africa. We visited Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. My 4,000th bird was Red-throated Tit, which I saw on my first morning of birding in Kenya. I think I’m the youngest person to see 4,000 birds but if it’s you, let me know.

 

I’d like to see 5,400 birds before I’m 18 years old, just because it would be amazing to see half the birds of the world by then.

 

I also fell in love with hummingbirds on my first trip to South America when we went to Ecuador in 2010. I saw a Sword-billed Hummingbird on my second day there, and I was like “OMG, that is cool, I want to see all of them!” I have now seen exactly half of all the hummingbirds of the world, 170 out of 340. Some are very rare and endangered, so seeing them all will take a lot of dedication and focus and is still likely to be impossible.

 

What is the coolest bird you’ve ever seen?

That is so hard! Probably Sword-billed Hummingbird. Its bill is longer than its body, and when it’s hovering and feeding on nectar, it looks impossible. I have made some hand printed Birdgirl T-shirts that have a Sword-billed Hummingbird on the front. So, it is the bird that represents me.

 

Who is someone in the birding or environmental world you would consider to be your mentor?

Unfortunately, I don’t have anyone who is a mentor to me, apart from my parents and sister who are very supportive and also care a lot about the world. We talk a lot about birds, animals, conservation, environmental issues, and human rights (which are often linked to environmental issues. For example, the rights of indigenous people.) Birding around the world, I have witnessed environmental disasters as well as successful conservation projects. Seeing this kind of thing first-hand has made me want to do and say what I can, and I strive to be a real activist.

 

In terms of being inspired, there are quite a few people who have inspired me: Sir Peter Scott (who set up WWT and WWF and son of the Antarctic explorer Captain Scott), Sir David Attenborough (for bringing wildlife and conservation to the masses), Bill Oddie (a 1970’s comedian and birder who brought birding and live nature programmes to our screens), and Steve Backshall (presenter of CBBC’s Deadly 60, which introduced my generation to special animals). He has also been on expeditions to remote places, looking for new species.

 

I’m lucky because the BBC Natural History Unit, which makes all of these programmes, is based in Bristol where I live. A lot of people who work there live in my area, the Chew Valley.

 

Where is your favorite place to bird?

I actually love birding at my local patch, Chew Valley Lake, where I also go bird banding at a banding station. I like seeing the changes over the year and the excitement of scarce birds, including American shorebirds like Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and Long-billed Dowitcher.

 

I write a monthly column for my local paper, The Chew Valley Gazette, where I suggest birds for people to look out for at the lake that month. Lots of people at the BBC read my column, which is amazing.

 

The favourite place I’ve birded is Bolivia. The altiplano is on a huge scale, the habitats are varied, the area has been not been as affected by habitat destruction, and the people are genuine and welcoming. Our guide, Sandro, was from an indigenous tribe deep in the Amazon, and only ten years ago used to be a hunter wearing a loincloth.

 

The birds were also brilliant and beautiful, although purely on bird numbers, you can see more in neighbouring Peru.

 

Do you have a bird you would like to see as soon as possible?

The bird I would like to see most in the world is a Harpy Eagle. It’s one of the biggest eagles in the world and lives in South America. I think we’d have to make a special trip in the spring to Venezuela or Brazil whilst a chick is still on the nest to see one, though.

 

What is your favourite field guide?

The best field guide for Britain is the Collins Guide. It’s actually a fantastic field guide with amazing illustrations by Lars Johnson.

 

I also use the Sibley North America field guide, which is useful for the regular North American rarities that we get in the UK.

 

Do you like to take pictures or draw sketches of the birds you see?

I try and take photographs of birds I see. I either use a bridge camera or digiscope using my iPhone. I’d like a better camera to use when I’m world birding, but anything decent is too heavy for me to carry all day everyday. Also, when we are birding abroad, we are usually on a tight schedule, so there isn’t time to spend ages getting good shots.

 

I would like to draw birds better and went to a sketching workshop at Camp Avalon, a young birders’ camp that I arranged in June. Hopefully, this has improved my technique.

 

How many continents and countries have you been to?

I have been to six continents but will be going to Antarctica, my seventh continent, at Christmas.

I have been to 29 countries, but I will have been to 33 by the end of the year.

I would really like to do more birding in North America as I have only spent a day there.

 

Tell us about what you have done to promote conservation efforts.

Talking about conservation projects is really important to me. I try and highlight these projects through my blog, giving talks, and publicising them in the media.

 

One of these projects is protecting shorebirds (especially the Spoon-billed Sandpiper), particularly in Bangladesh where my Mom’s family is from. I travelled there earlier this year to survey them, give a talk, and do interviews on TV, Radio and national papers.

 

I have also promoted shorebird conservation through Wader Quest, and by being Ambassador of the Global Conservation Initiative, World Shorebirds Day.

 

Last year, following an oil spill in the Sundarbans in Bangladesh (the world’s largest mangrove and home of the rare Masked Finfoot and Bengal Tiger), I worked hard to promote the disaster, writing about it in the ABA Blog, and raising approximately $30,000.

 

I write regular blog posts about conservation issues on subjects like palm oil, GMOs, the decline of bees, and fox hunting. I am also addressing a climate change rally on 29th November 2015, which is one of many rallies around the world in the lead up to the UN Climate Change talks in Paris. It would be great if as many people as possible attended a rally.

 

What do you think is the most important thing we can do to protect the environment?

 

There are so many issues going on in the world, but if I had to choose one to stop completely, it would be habitat destruction on land and sea. I have seen the impact of logging, cattle farming, palm oil, and fishing globally.

 

However, in Europe, lots of terrible things are happening that will remove the protection of habitat in place now. Bigger than that is the proposed TTIP trade agreement being negotiated between the European Union and the United States of America. This will allow American companies to sue our governments directly if, for example, they don’t like an environmental law put in place that reduces their profits. This is what companies can do in America already, and the same tactics have been used by chemical companies to stop the States from bringing in legislation for GMO labelling of food.

 

Do you want to make conservation your life?

I would like to carry on birding but as well as that, yes, I would like to concentrate on conservation. At the moment, I hope to study Zoology at University and then go on expeditions to remote countries, looking for rare species and how they are doing, and then working out what conservation plan is needed to save them and how that can be implemented. If this is filmed along the way to raise awareness, that would be great.

 

Is there a certain environmentalist that you look up to?

I think that U.S. Actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Mark Ruffallo are really important for publicising environmental issues. The recent Vivienne Westwood project by actors to save the Arctic was inspiring.

 

In the UK, I respect Tony Juniper (former Executive Director of Friends of the Earth UK) and George Monbiot (a writer and columnist for leftwing Guardian Newspaper).

 

Do you have any advice for the young birders reading this?

I would just say follow your passion. Nothing in birding or conservation is fair, and people will tell you along the way what you should or shouldn’t do. Hear what they say, but do what you want. Being a young birder is the time to enjoy yourself. It’s not a competition; it is meant to be fun.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

Just thanks for asking to interview me, and I hope to make it over to your conference next year.

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Interview on Shepherd’s Way Radio

Interview on Shepherd’s Way Radio

My local Community Radio Station has a show every Wednesday evening called Shepherd’s Way, hosted by the amazing Steve Shepherd. They talk about anything to do with nature, conservation and the environment had had had lots of famous people being interviewed.

Steve Shepherd has been brilliant to me and I have been on the programme three times now.

Listen to my most recent interview about Africa, Antarctica and the climate change rally:

http://bcfmradio.com/shepherdsway

11/11/2015 at 17-32 minutes

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig and Steve Shepherd
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Interview by Prairie Birder, Charlotte Wasylik

Interview by Prairie Birder, Charlotte Wasylik

Just before I went away to East Africa for the summer, I gave an interview to Prairie Birder, Charlotte Wasylik. She is a fantastic role model, as a young female blogger and birder. She has an unbelievable number of followers, which gives me a little bit of hope.

http://prairiebirder.com/2015/08/01/interview-with-mya-rose-craig/

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig bring interviewed
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig bring interviewed
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

I really enjoyed talking to Charlotte, as another young female birder and one doing well. It was the first time that I felt able to talk about how some birders have treated me. Last week the Wall Street Journal interviewed me about how I had been treated by some birders, but I didn’t feel ready to talk about it openly.

Charlotte lives on the Prairies in Alberta, Canada and has a really well organised blog with loads of varied posts. She has been blogging since 2010 and has done loads of courses/internships for young birders. There seems to be a lot going on over the other side of the Atlantic.

It would be good to meet one day and maybe I can visit her on her farm in Alberta.

http://prairiebirder.com/about/

Prairie Birder, Charlotte Wasylik
Copyright Charlotte Wasylik

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Top 10 Tips on How to be a Birder

Top 10 Tips on How to be a Birder

 

A Young Birder’s Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Chew Valley Lake
Photograph taken by and copyright Oliver Edwards Photography

Last year I was interviewed by Ben Hoare, the features editor at BBC Wildlife Magazine, for an article in BBC Countryfile Magazine. I met Ben at Chew Valley Lake at the beautiful Woodford Lodge. We had an amazing time chatting about birds and anything else that came up. We were chatting so much that we ended up being there for a couple of hours. I had loads of fun, really enjoying my first proper interview! So much that I forgot all about the tape recorder.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Chew Valley Ringing Station
Photograph taken by and copyright Oliver Edwards Photography

 

A few weeks later, I met Oliver Edwards a photographer from Bristol, at the Chew Valley Ringing Station. Oliver took lots of photographs of me at the ringing station and around the lake, which I also really enjoyed. It did not take long for me to get over any slight shyness! He was an amazing photographer and I love having so many cool photographs of my birding and ringing.

 


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Chew Valley Lake
Photograph taken by and copyright Oliver Edwards Photography

Interview with a Young Birder

The interview was published in the September 2014 edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine. In it, I explained why I thought birds were cool and why birding is brilliant fun for children and adults to take part in. There was even a mention of my interview on the front page which was amazing.

As well as the magazine interview, there was also an online article by me, where I shared my top ten tips for bird watching beginners http://bit.ly/1zhu2D8.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Chew Valley Lake
Photograph taken by and copyright Oliver Edwards Photography

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book