Camp Avalon 2016 – Invitation to attend

Camp Avalon 2016 – Invitation to attend

Friday 15 July 2016 to Sunday 17 July 2016

Shapwick Heath, Somerset Levels, March 2015
Photograph taken by and copyright Mya-Rose Craig

In June 2015, I organised Camp Avalon,  which attracted lots of young teenagers to the Somerset Levels, to spend the weekend birding and getting involved with nature.  It included keen birders and people who had never been to the countryside or camped.  Share the Camp Avalon Blog http://bit.ly/1Q7ktfV

These are the links to my blog posts about last year’s camp.

Camp Avalon – Friday Night
http://bit.ly/1PpG6tC

Camp Avalon Friday night
Camp Avalon Friday night
Camp Avalon Friday night

Camp Avalon – Saturday

http://bit.ly/21m0TVD

Camp Avalon Saturday
Camp Avalon Saturday

Camp Avalon – Sunday

http://bit.ly/1jueBlC

Camp Avalon Sunday
Camp Avalon Sunday
Camp Avalon Sunday
Camp Avalon Sunday
Camp Avalon Sunday
Camp Avalon Sunday
Camp Avalon Sunday
Camp Avalon Sunday

Friday 15 July 2016 to Sunday 17 July 2016

This is a camp for young birders and is also suitable for those who have no experience of nature at all.  We hope to have a number of teenagers coming from inner city Bristol who have no experience of birds and nature and have never camped.  We have plenty to help to ensure that both groups are catered for and that one can inspire the other.

Shapwick Heath, Somerset Levels, March 2015
Photograph taken by and copyright Mya-Rose Craig

Come to a camping weekend on the Somerset Levels for young birders between the ages of 12 to 18 and at secondary school or 6th form.   Please contact us if you are a little bit younger and still wish to come.You may be accompanied by an adult if you wish but you do not need one with you,  CRB checked adults will be with the teenagers at all times.

Based on the ABA Camp Colorado and Camp Avocet in the USA (ABA Young Birder Camps), where 40 young birders each summer experience a week of new birds, people and learning.  The idea that those with experience share it with young birders.  The USA camp is relatively expensive and is for a week compared with what we are trying to do here at Camp Avalon.

Ham Wall RSPB Reserve, Somerset Levels, March 2015
Photograph taken by and copyright Mya-Rose Craig

Camp Avalon – Programme

This is a sample programme based on the one for 2015 with improvements. The programme will be finalised after feedback from those attending.  At the moment, Mike Dilger from The One Show and Ben Hoare from BBC Wildlife Magazine are hoping to attend. So please get in touch with your ideas for the camp.
Friday 15th July 2016
All activities are dependent on weather
6.00 pm – 7.30 pm (CS)
Set up tents & time to socialize
7.30 pm – 8.30 pm (CS)
Dinner cooked on fires at the campsite
9.00 pm – 10.30 pm (MD)
Looking for Nightjar on the Mendips
Led by Chris Craig, Avon and Somerset, British and world birder

Saturday 16th July 2016

7.00 am – 7.30 am (CS) Breakfast at the campsite
8.00 am – 11.00 am (AMC)
Bird ringing demonstration at Avalon Marshes Centre
Mike Bailey Chair of Chew Valley Ringing Station and BTO ringing trainer (with Chris Craig assisting)

11.00 am – 11.30 am (AMC)
Refreshment break
Avalon Marshes Centre

11.30 am – 12.00 pm (AMC)
An introduction to Bird Ringing, how to get involved and how it benefits conservation< Mike Bailey Chair of Chew Valley Ringing Station and BTO ringing trainer 12.00 am - 12.30 pm (AMC or SHCP) How to keep and submit good records and understanding fieldcraft (for the keen young birder) Brian Gibbs, Somerset County Recorder or Bio Blitzing at Shapwick Heath (optional for beginners) Mike Urwin, RoAM12.30 pm – 1.30 pm (AMC) Lunch Avalon Marshes Centre 1.30 am – 3.30 pm (AMC) Bird Photography James Packer, Chris Griffin and Brian Gibbs, Somerset County Recorder and bird photographer and James Packer, who writes the blog The Somerset Birder and is a Somerset birder and bird photographer. 3.30 pm – 4.00 pm (AMC) Refreshment break Avalon Marshes Centre 4.00 pm – 4.30 pm (AMC) Born to Bird, a talk focusing on how those with ethnic minority heritage can connect with birds and animals from those places. Mya-Rose Craig (age 14) 5.00 pm – 7.30 pm (CS) Downtime and dinner cooked on fires at the campsite  8.00 pm – 9.30 pm (HW) Evening Bittern walks at Ham Wall.  Meet at SHCP. Led by Chris & Helena Craig

Sunday 17th July 2016

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

8.00 am – 10.45 am (SH & HW)
Birding at Shapwick Heath and Ham Wall, searching for Great White Egret, Bittern and lots of other great birds.  Meet at SHCP.
Led by Julian Thomas, Somerset birder, British and day lister and world birder (with Chris Griffin assisting)

11.00 am – 11.30 am (AMC)
Refreshment break
Avalon Marshes Centre

11.30 am – 12.00 am (AMC)
An introduction to world birding and volunteering with conservation projects abroad
Andy Mears, World birder, Oriental Bird Club active Member and one of only a few birders to have accomplished the huge feat of seeing all the Pittas of the World
12.00 pm – 1.00 pm (AMC)

Lunch
Avalon Marshes Centre
1.00 pm – 3.00 pm (AMC)
Sketching for birders
John Gale, acclaimed bird illustrator for ID publications around the world as well as a bird artist
3.00 pm – 3.30 pm (AMC)
Refreshment break
Avalon Marshes Centre

3.30 pm – 4.00 pm (AMC)
Close and looking forward to Camp Avalon 2017 (30 June -2 July 2017)
Mya-Rose Craig, Young Birder

4.00 pm Finish

Key to locations

AMC – Avalon Marshes Centre, Shapwick Road, Westhay, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 9TT, telephone 01458 860556
CS – The Isle of Avalon Touring Caravan Park, Godney Road, Glastonbury, Somerset, BA6 9AF, telephone 01458 833618

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).

SHCP – Shapwick Heath NNR English Nature Car Park, Ashcott Road, Glastonbury, Somerset BA6 9SX (bio blitzing on the Discovery Trail off the car park)

Bittern, Shapwick Heath, Somerset Levels, March 2015
Photograph taken by and copyright Mya-Rose Craig

Cost

£20.00 per person including carers, excluding camping costs (£16 per night for two people or much less in provided shared tents).

Grants

There will be a limited number of grants available to those young people (and a parent if they are under 16 years old) from an inner city area who have little or no experience of engaging with nature and whose families are receiving means tested benefits. Camp Avalon recognises that there are almost no young birders from black or ethnic minority 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 Opticron for the load of five pairs of compact binoculars to this project.

Transport

Free transport is available to and from Bristol train or coach station. The camp site is a 10 minute drive to Ashcott Corner car park.

Thank you to Avalon Marshes Centre for their support and to the birders who have offered their time in order to pass on their knowledge to young birders. Please get in touch if you would like to get involved by e-mailing campavalonuk@gmail.com.

Shapwick Heath, Somerset Levels, March 2015
Photograph taken by and copyright Mya-Rose Craig

How to Book

E-mail campavalonuk@gmail.com with your name, age, if an adult would like to come with you and any dietary requirements or post a comment on the Camp Avalon blog.

Hudsonian Godwit, Shapwick Heath, Somerset Levels, April 2015
Photograph taken by and copyright Mya-Rose Craig
Grass Snake, Shapwick Heath, Somerset Levels, April 2015
Photograph taken by and copyright Mya-Rose 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

Inspiring Seven Year Old Laila to Like Nature

Inspiring Seven Year Old Laila to Like Nature

I have a big sister called Ayesha, who is about to be 26 Years old. When I was little she was my ‘cool’ big sister and as a young female birder and twitcher, she was a fantastic role model. Ayesha’s a strong character and had to deal with young male birders ignoring her because she had seen more birds them. That’s helped me deal with attitudes like that. She lives 15 minutes away, still in the Chew Valley and has Laila who is 7 years old and Lucas who is 2 1/2 years old.

My sister Ayesha Ahmed-Mendoza age 13 (my age now!), me, Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, as a toddler
and my Dad, Chris Craig in DevonPhotograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

When Laila was young, she and Ayesha still came twitching with us.

Laila with her Nanabhai (granddad) on Orkney twitching a Sandhill Crane
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Laila Price looking at the pictures in one of her Nanabhai’s bird books (my Dad, Chris Craig)
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Laila Price looking at the pictures in one of her Nanabhai’s bird books (my Dad, Chris Craig)
Photograph taken by and copyright Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Laila goes to my old primary school, Ubley Primary, where she does forest school with my dad.


Laila Price at Forest School with her Nanabhai and my Dad, Chris CraigPhotograph copyright Chris Craig
Laila also comes to a few family events, where I have helped as a leader.

One of the events was at Avalon Marshes, earlier in the year. This was a brilliant event and it was great to inspire younger children. Under tens tend to think teenagers are cool and want to do what they do, so I know it’s worthwhile trying to inspire them.

Young Birder Mya-Rose Craig and Laila Price at Shapwick Heath at an Avalon Marshes Centre Family birding day where I was a leader
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Young Birder Mya-Rose Craig and Laila Price at Shapwick Heath at an Avalon Marshes Centre Family birding day where I was a leader
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Young Birder Mya-Rose Craig and Laila Price at Shapwick Heath at an Avalon Marshes Centre Family birding day where I was a leader
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Young Birder Mya-Rose Craig and Laila Price at Shapwick Heath at an Avalon Marshes Centre Family birding day where I was a leader
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Young Birder Mya-Rose Craig and Laila Price at Shapwick Heath at an Avalon Marshes Centre Family birding day where I was a leader
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Young Birder Mya-Rose Craig and Laila Price at Shapwick Heath at an Avalon Marshes Centre Family birding day where I was a leader
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Young Birder Mya-Rose Craig and Laila Price at Shapwick Heath at an Avalon Marshes Centre Family birding day where I was a leader
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Young Birder Mya-Rose Craig and Laila Price at Shapwick Heath at an Avalon Marshes Centre Family birding day where I was a leader
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

A few weeks Laila and Lucas watched me and Dad ringing (banding) birds in the garden, which they were both interested and excited by. Lucas doesn’t talk much but kept saying “bird” over and over again, very excitedly.

Young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig ringing with Laila Price watching
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig ringing with Laila Price watching
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Chris Craig ringing with Laila Price watching
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Chris Craig ringing with Laila and Lucas Price watching
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Chris Craig ringing with Lucas Price watching and enthralled
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Young birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig ringing a Marsh Tit
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

This is a drawing Laila recently did showing me and my parents’ bird watching.

Drawing by Laila Price, age 7, of Mya-Rose, Chris and Helena Craig birding

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

Camp Avalon – Articles in SOS and Avalon Marshes Newsletters

Camp Avalon – Articles in SOS and Avalon Marshes Newsletters

Camp Avalon
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

In June 2015 I organised and ran a camp for young birders and encouraged five ethnic minority teenage boys to come, which is something, not even the big conservation NGOs have managed. Camp Avalon took place on the Somerset Levels, based at The Avalon Marshes Centre.

As well as everything else, we did some fantastic birding on the Levels. We saw Great White Egret, Bearded Tit, Cuckoo and Bittern.
In September, The Somerset Ornithological Society (SOS) published an article in their Newsletter, The Bittern, about Camp Avalon. Julian Thomas and Brian Gibbs, the Somerset County Recorder, both SOS members helped during the weekend. The link to the newsletter is The Bittern but the article is below.

Hamza Khandker age 16, Bird Sketching Workshop, Camp Avalon
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

The Bittern – Welcome

Hello again!

An the eternal question for all county ornithological societies is ‘Where are the next generation of birdwatchers coming from?’ Looking around the table at SOS committee meetings, it’s immediately obvious that the average age is higher than any of us would like (personally, I suspect, as well as looking to the future of the Society). Any initiative which encourages young birders is therefore definitely a good thing. So it is great to carry a report in this issue of the inaugural Camp Avalon, to which several SOS members gave their time, and which appears to have been a great success. It is the brainchild of Mya-Rose Craig (aka Birdgirl), who you may know from the BBC4 documentary Twitchers: A Very British Obsession. Now a few years older, though still only 13, Mya has not only built up an impressive world list, but also takes nature conservation (both here and abroad) and getting young people interested in birdwatching and all other aspects of nature very seriously indeed. Sounds good to me.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Camp Avalon
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Camp Avalon 2015

Mya-Rose
Craig reports on a new birding camp for young people In February, I was looking longingly at the details of Camp Colorado and Camp Avocet organised by the American Birding Association (ABA) for teenage birders. The idea is that over a week away on camp, young birders learn from experienced, well-known ones as well as make new friends and most of all enjoy themselves.

Camp Colorado, USA

There was nothing here aimed just at teenagers and so I decided to organise a camp, Camp Avalon. Mum and Dad [Helena and Chris Craig] said they would help and I felt sure that some Somerset birders would help too. However, it would be just for a weekend and cheap, so that it was accessible. The Avalon Marshes Centre agreed that we could use their site for
free, I found a campsite nearby, and lots of birders with a wide range of skills and experience agreed to give their time unpaid. I then read an article by David Lindo in ABA Magazine, where he talked about ‘opening the door’ to nature to inner city or ethnic minority teenagers. Camp Avalon needed to be inclusive. I talked to people in Bristol and tried to overcome the barriers to these young people connecting with nature or coming to a camp like this.

David Lindo, ‘The Urban Birder’

The camp was over the weekend of 19–21 June and we had 14 attend, including keen young birders Ben Bond, Dan Burrows, Tom and Mia Carpendale, Tom Gale, Aiden Gregory, Lewis Mitchell, Thomas Weston and myself. Also, five black or Asian teenage boys from Central Bristol came, none of whom had ever camped.

On Friday evening, we met up at the campsite, helped get all the tents up and cooked dinner. Moni-e (pronounced mon-e-a) was the first person I had met from St Paul’s and was amazing. He luckily took over cooking from Mum and so we got to eat before going out mothing at Shapwick Heath with Bill Urwin. A few people were scared of moths but bravely stuck
around.

Moni-ee Blackwood age 15, Nabil Khandker age 15 and Rashan Salman McCormack age 14
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

On Saturday, we all started early with a walk on Ham Wall RSPB reserve with brilliant Somerset birders Julian Thomas and Chris Griffin. It was fantastic to see so many species including 2 Marsh Harriers, 2 Bitterns, Cuckoo heard, and 2 Bearded Tits seen by Thomas. Back at the centre, we had sessions on world birding and conservation from Andy Mears, keeping good records and fieldcraft from Somerset Recorder Brian Gibbs, photography from Chris Griffin, Brian Gibbs and James Packer, sketching birds from artist John Gale, and after dinner Nightjars at Stockhill with Chris Craig, which were only seen by a few because of the breeze.

Julian Thomas, Rashan Salman McCormack age 14, Moni-ee Blackwood age 15 and Chris Griffin
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

On Sunday morning, we started the day with Mike Bailey, Chris Craig and myself giving a ringing demonstration, with Mike then giving a presentation. Everyone was really interested in this session and I hope that those from the city will never forget holding a bird in their hands and letting it go. One of the loudest boys was scared of holding the birds but still had a go. After lunch, I gave a talk on World Shorebirds Day and saving the Spoon-billed Sandpiper followed by a really instructive bird ID walk on Shapwick Heath with Keith Vinicombe.

Mia Carpendale age 12, Ringing, Camp Avalon
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

I had an amazing weekend along with all the young birders, but I hope everyone got something out of it that they will never forget. Thank you to all who helped.

Next year Camp Avalon will take place on 8–10 July and hopefully we will be able to make it bigger and better with lots more people helping with sessions as well as behind the scenes.

Dan Burrows Age 12, Ringing, Camp Avalon
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

The Avalon Marshes Newsletter also published an article about Camp Avalon in their Apr-Jun 15 Newsletter:
We were joined on our biobliz by a group of teenagers organised by Mya-Rose Craig AKA Birdgirl on a young people’s birding and wildlife weekend called Camp Avalon. Camping at a local campsite and using the Avalon Marshes Centre as a base, as well as joining us for some of our activities, the children took part in sessions on bird recording and fieldcraft, bird ringing, photography, wildlife sketching and listened to talks on world birding and conservation.

The camp was attended by a wide range of teenagers from some of our Young Wardens who are experienced birders and mothers to teenagers from inner city Bristol who had never visited the countryside before. The event was a great success and we were very proud to support them and welcome new visitors to Shapwick.

Camp Avalon
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